Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, Mr. Alessandro Prati, and Mr. Antonio Spilimbergo
This volume examines the impact on economic performance of structural policies-policies that increase the role of market forces and competition in the economy, while maintaining appropriate regulatory frameworks. The results reflect a new dataset covering reforms of domestic product markets, international trade, the domestic financial sector, and the external capital account, in 91 developed and developing countries. Among the key results of this study, the authors find that real and financial reforms (and, in particular, domestic financial liberalization, trade liberalization, and agricultural liberalization) boost income growth. However, growth effects differ significantly across alternative reform sequencing strategies: a trade-before-capital-account strategy achieves better outcomes than the reverse, or even than a "big bang"; also, liberalizing the domestic financial sector together with the external capital account is growth-enhancing, provided the economy is relatively open to international trade. Finally, relatively liberalized domestic financial sectors enhance the economy's resilience, reducing output costs from adverse terms-of-trade and interest-rate shocks; increased credit availability is one of the key mechanisms.
German banks tend to be less profitable than their foreign counterparts. This paper estimates the likely effect of the phaseout of state guarantees for public sector banks, reviews the various ways in which public policy could contribute to their restructuring, and discusses the various arguments for and against public involvement in banking.
Mr. Mohammed El Qorchi, Mr. Samuel Munzele Maimbo, and Mr. John F. Wilson
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, there has been increased public interest in informal funds transfer (IFT) systems. This paper examines the informal hawala system, an IFT system found predominantly in the Middle East and South Asia. The paper examines the historical and socioeconomic context within which the hawala has evolved, the operational features that make it susceptible to potential financial abuse, the fiscal and monetary implications for hawala-remitting and hawala-recipient countries, and current regulatory and supervisory responses.
This paper analyzes the linkages between capital account liberalization and other policies influencing financial sector stability. Drawing on country experiences, the paper develops an operational framework for sequencing and coordinating capital account liberalization with other policies aimed at maintaining financial sector stability. Based on the general principles, a methodology for sequencing capital account liberalization is presented in this paper. This methodology, which is illustrated by an example, involves an assessment of capital controls and macroeconomic and financial sector vulnerabilities, and the design of a plan for sequencing capital account liberalization with financial sector reforms and other policies. Financial systems that have been weakened by inappropriate government involvement also face additional risks when operating in international financial markets. The absence of significant macroeconomic imbalances and the high level of official international reserves at the outset of the crisis also appear to be important factors preventing a full-blown exchange crisis. Nevertheless, the prolongation of the crisis lowered economic growth and ultimately led to a recession and increased the total cost of the crisis resolution.
Mr. Ales Bulir, Mrs. Marianne Schulze-Gattas, Mr. Atish R. Ghosh, Mr. Alex Mourmouras, Mr. A. J Hamann, and Mr. Timothy D. Lane
This paper reviews the design of and experience with IMF-supported programs formulated in response to capital account crises in the 1990s, focusing on the experiences of eight countries: Turkey (1994), Mexico (1995), Argentina (1995), Thailand (1997), Indonesia (1997), Korea (1997), the Philippines (1997), and Brazil (1998). The capital account crises in emerging markets confronted both the affected countries and the IMF with a new set of challenges. The central feature of all these crises was the rapid reversal of capital inflows, bringing about a large and abrupt current account adjustment with pervasive macroeconomic consequences. The crises were characterized by an over-adjustment of external current accounts in relation to what was needed for any reasonable means of sustainability. This over-adjustment was associated with severe macroeconomic disruptions. Beyond the importance of crisis prevention, the experience of these countries suggests a number of lessons for program design in the context of high capital mobility—such as the appropriate roles for monetary, fiscal, and structural policies.
This paper summarizes the authorities’ stabilization efforts, how these efforts were subsequently reinforced by certain key structural reforms, and other related developments that help explain the remarkable performance of the Dominican Republic’s economy in the 1990s during which the country achieved one of the highest output growth rates in Latin America, combined with low inflation, and a much improved external debt profile. The authorities often resorted to external arrears as a means of financing the external current account deficits of the 1980s. Although rescheduling agreements were reached with the international banking community and with the Paris Club of official creditors in the mid-1980s, they met with limited success until the authorities embarked on their stabilization program of the early 1990s. Large and persistent fiscal deficits represented a significant burden for monetary policy. Although at the beginning of the decade more than half of the public deficit was financed by foreign loans, episodes of default on external and domestic government debt led to a progressive drying up of these sources of financing.