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Yasemin Bal Gunduz, Mr. Christian H Ebeke, Ms. Burcu Hacibedel, Ms. Linda Kaltani, Ms. Vera V Kehayova, Mr. Chris Lane, Mr. Christian Mumssen, Miss Nkunde Mwase, and Mr. Joseph Thornton

Abstract

This paper aims to assess the economic impact of the IMF’s support through its facilities for low-income countries. It relies on two complementary econometric analyses: the first investigates the longer-term impact of IMF engagement—primarily through successive medium-term programs under the Extended Credit Facility and its predecessors (and more recently the Policy Support Instrument)—on economic growth and a range of other indicators and socioeconomic outcomes; the second focuses on the role of IMF shock-related financing—through augmentations of Extended Credit Facility arrangements and short-term and emergency financing instruments—on short-term macroeconomic performance.

Mr. Valerio Crispolti, Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Mr. Jun I Kim, Ms. Kazuko Shirono, and Mr. George C. Tsibouris

Abstract

Low-income countries routinely experience exogenous disturbances—sharp swings in the terms of trade, export demand, natural disasters, and volatile financial flows—that contribute to higher volatility in aggregate output and consumption compared with other countries. Assessing Reserve Adequacy in Low-Income Countries presents the findings of an analysis of a range of external shocks faced by these countries, beginning with a discussion of the impact of external shocks on macroeconomic growth, volatility, and welfare. Although sound macroeconomic and prudential policy frameworks are the first line of defense for limiting vulnerability, international reserves constitute the main form of self-insurance against such shocks. The evidence suggests that low-income countries with reserve coverage above three months of imports were better able to smooth consumption and absorption in the face of external shocks compared with those with lower reserve holdings. The analysis also points to the importance of country characteristics and vulnerabilities in assessing reserve adequacy.