The coronavirus pandemic is a global crisis like no other in modern times, and there is a growing apprehension about handling potentially contaminated cash. This paper is the first empirical attempt in the literature to investigate whether the risk of infectious diseases affects demand for physical cash. Since the intensity of cash use may influence the spread of infectious diseases, this paper utilizes two-stage least squares (2SLS) methodology with instrumental variable (IV) to address omitted variable bias and account for potential endogeneity. The analysis indicates that the spread of infectious diseases lowers demand for physical cash, after controlling for macroeconomic, financial, and technological factors. While the transactional constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic could become a catalyst for the use of digital technologies around the world, electronic payment methods may not be universally available in every country owing to financial and technological bottlenecks.
Literature on whether government spending crowds out or crowds in the private sector is large, but still without an unambiguous conclusion. Using firm-level data from Ukraine, this paper provides a granular empirical investigation to disentangle the impact of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) on private firm investment in Ukraine—a large transition economy. Controlling for firm characteristics and systematic differences across sectors, the results indicate that the SOE concentration in a given sector has a statistically significant negative effect on private fixed capital formation, and that the impact of SOEs is stronger in those industries in which SOEs have a more dominant presence. These findings imply that private firms operating in sectors with a high level of SOE concentration invest systematically less than businesses that are not competing directly with SOEs.
Using the cyclically adjusted non-hydrocarbon primary balance, this paper investigates the evolution of the fiscal policy stance in the United Arab Emirates at consolidated and sub-national levels in the run-up and after the crisis. The empirical findings show that procyclical fiscal policies prior to the crisis reinforced the financial sector cycle, exacerbated the economic upswing, and thereby contributed to the build-up of macro-financial vulnerabilities. The paper also sets out policy lessons to develop a rule-based fiscal framework that would help strengthen fiscal policy coordination between the various layers of government and ensure long-term fiscal sustainability and a more equitable intergenerational distribution of wealth.