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Mr. David Amaglobeli, Hua Chai, Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Mr. Kamil Dybczak, Mauricio Soto, and Alexander F. Tieman
This SDN explores how demographic changes have affected and will affect public and private sector savings, highlighting the interaction between pension systems, labor markets, and demographic variables.
Luc Eyraud, Mr. Xavier Debrun, Andrew Hodge, Victor Duarte Lledo, and Ms. Catherine A Pattillo
Fiscal rule frameworks have evolved significantly in response to the global financial crisis. Many countries have reformed their fiscal rules or introduced new ones with a view to enhancing the credibility of fiscal policy and providing a medium-term anchor. Enforcement and monitoring mechanisms have also been upgraded. However, these innovations have made the systems of rules more complicated to operate, while compliance has not improved. The SDN takes stock of past experiences, reviews recent reforms, and presents new research on the effectiveness of rules. It also proposes guiding principles for future reforms to strike a better balance between simplicity, flexibility, and enforceability. Read the blog
Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. Kamil Dybczak, Vitor Gaspar, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, and Mauricio Soto
This Staff Discussion Note looks at the stark fiscal challenges posed by the decline and aging of populations between now and 2100. It finds that without reforms, pensions and health spending would rise to 25 percent of GDP by end-century in more developed countries (and 16 percent of GDP in less developed countries), with potentially dire fiscal consequences. Given the uncertainty underlying the population projections and associated large fiscal risks, a multi-pronged approach will be required. This could include entitlement reform—starting now but at a gradual pace; policies that affect demographics and labor markets; and better tax systems and more efficient public expenditure.
Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, Mr. Atish R. Ghosh, and Mr. Raphael A Espinoza
What considerations should guide public debt policy going forward? Should debt be reduced to achieve normative anchors (such as 60 percent of GDP), should it be increased further to finance a big public investment push, or should the existing debt be serviced forever? We argue that, for countries with ample fiscal space (little risk of encountering a fiscal crisis), raising distortive taxes merely to bring the debt down is a treatment cure that is worse than the disease. High public debt of course is costly, but it is a sunk cost only made worse by efforts to pay down the debt through distortionary taxation. Living with the debt is the welfare-maximizing policy. In decisions vis-à-vis the big push for public investment, golden-rule considerations remain salient, with due account taken of the additional servicing costs (and associated distortive taxation) from the resulting buildup of public debt.
Michal Andrle, Mr. John C Bluedorn, Luc Eyraud, Mr. Tidiane Kinda, Ms. Petya Koeva Brooks, Mr. Gerd Schwartz, and Miss Anke Weber
Successive reforms have brought many positive elements to the European Union’s fiscal framework. But they have also increased its complexity. The current system involves an intricate set of fiscal constraints, which hampers effective monitoring and public communication. Compliance has also been weak. This note discusses medium-term reform options to simplify the framework and improve compliance. Based on model simulations and practical considerations, it argues for moving to a two-pillar approach, with a single fiscal anchor (public debt-to-GDP) and a single operational target (an expenditure growth rule, possibly with an explicit debt correction mechanism) linked to the anchor.
Oya Celasun, Mr. Francesco Grigoli, Ms. Keiko Honjo, Mr. Javier Kapsoli, Mr. Alexander D Klemm, Mr. Bogdan Lissovolik, Jan Luksic, Ms. Marialuz Moreno Badia, Ms. Joana Pereira, Mr. Marcos Poplawski Ribeiro, Baoping Shang, and Ms. Yulia Ustyugova
Latin America’s bold fiscal policy reaction to the global financial crisis was hailed as a sign that the region had finally overcome its procyclical fiscal past. However, most countries of the region have not yet rebuilt their fiscal space, despite buoyant commodity revenues and relatively strong growth in the aftermath of the crisis. Using the experience of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay, this paper examines the lessons and legacies of the crisis by addressing the following questions, among others: How much did the 2009 fiscal stimulus help growth? What shortcomings were revealed in the fiscal policy frameworks? What institutional reforms are now needed to provide enduring anchors for fiscal policy? How much rebuilding of buffers is needed going forward?
Oya Celasun, Mr. Francesco Grigoli, Ms. Keiko Honjo, Mr. Javier Kapsoli, Mr. Alexander D Klemm, Mr. Bogdan Lissovolik, Jan Luksic, Ms. Marialuz Moreno Badia, Ms. Joana Pereira, Mr. Marcos Poplawski Ribeiro, Baoping Shang, and Ms. Yulia Ustyugova
La reacción audaz que tuvo la política fiscal de América Latina ante la crisis financiera mundial fue tomada como una señal de que la región finalmente había superado su pasado fiscal pro-cíclico. Sin embargo, la mayoría de los países de la región aún no han reconstruido su espacio fiscal, a pesar de los abundantes ingresos públicos provenientes de las materias primas y el crecimiento relativamente estable tras la crisis. A partir de la experiencia de Brasil, Chile, Colombia, México, Perú y Uruguay, este documento analiza las lecciones y legados de la crisis abordando las siguientes preguntas, entre otras: ¿Cuánto contribuyó el estímulo fiscal de 2009 al crecimiento? ¿Qué deficiencias se identificaron en los marcos de política fiscal? ¿Qué reformas institucionales se necesitan ahora para aportar anclas persistentes para la política fiscal? ¿En qué medida se necesita reconstruir las protecciones de cara al futuro?
Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Alex Segura-Ubiergo, and Enrique Flores
Some scholars have argued that direct distribution of natural resource revenues to the population would help resource-rich countries escape the “resource curse.” This discussion note analyzes whether this proposal is a viable policy alternative for resource-rich countries. The first priority for policymakers is to establish fiscal policy objectives to support macroeconomic stability and development objectives. In this regard, the establishment of an adequate fiscal framework that informs decisions on how much to save and invest, or how to smooth out revenue volatility, and deal with exhaustibility issues should precede any discussion of direct distribution of resource wealth to the population.
Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Alex Segura-Ubiergo, and Enrique Flores
Algunos académicos han sostenido que la distribución directa a la población de ingresos públicos provenientes de recursos naturales ayudaría a los países ricos en recursos naturales a escapar de la “maldición de los recursos naturales”. Este documento analiza si esta propuesta constituye una alternativa política viable para países ricos en recursos naturales. La primera prioridad para los responsables de la formulación de políticas en los países ricos en materias primas consiste en establecer los objetivos de política fiscal para promover la estabilidad macroeconómica y el desarrollo de las economías. En este sentido, el establecimiento de un marco fiscal adecuado que aporte información para tomar decisiones sobre cuánto ahorrar y cuánto invertir, cómo atenuar la volatilidad de los ingresos públicos, y cómo abordar los problemas relacionados con el agotamiento de los recursos naturales debe preceder cualquier análisis sobre distribución directa de recursos a la población.
Mr. Olivier J Blanchard, Mr. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia, and Mr. Paolo Mauro
This note explores how the economic thinking about macroeconomic management has evolved since the crisis began. It discusses developments in monetary policy, including unconventional measures; the challenges associated with increased public debt; and the policy potential, risks, and institutional challenges associated with new macroprudential measures. Rationale: The note contributes to the ongoing debate on several aspects of macroeconomic policy. It follows up on the earlier “Rethinking” paper, refining the analysis in light of the events of the past two years. Given the relatively fluid state of the debate (e.g., recent challenges to central bank independence), it is useful to highlight that while many of the tenets of the pre-crisis consensus have been challenged, others (such as the desirability of central bank independence) remain valid.