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Antoine Berthou, John Jong-Hyun Chung, Kalina Manova, and Charlotte Sandoz
We examine the gains from globalization in the presence of firm heterogeneity and potential resource misallocation. We show theoretically that without distortions, bilateral and export liberalizations increase aggregate welfare and productivity, while import liberalization has ambiguous effects. Resource misallocation can either amplify, dampen or reverse the gains from trade. Using model-consistent measures and unique new data on 14 European countries and 20 industries in 1998-2011, we empirically establish that exogenous shocks to export demand and import competition both generate large aggregate productivity gains. Guided by theory, we provide evidence consistent with these effects operating through reallocations across firms in the presence of distortions: (i) Both export and import expansion increase average firm productivity, but the former also shifts activity towards more productive firms, while the latter acts in reverse; (ii) Both export and import exposure raise the productivity threshold for survival, but this cut-off is not a sufficient statistic for aggregate productivity; (iii) Efficient institutions, factor and product markets amplify the gains from import competition but dampen those from export access.
Ding Ding, Mr. Werner Schule, and Ms. Yan M Sun
This paper studies the dynamics of net foreign liabilities across a number of countries. Our historical analysis suggests that an orderly reduction in a country’s net foreign liabilities has mostly occurred when there was significant improvement in gross public savings through deliberate fiscal consolidation measures. Simulations of a dynamic general equilibrium model calibrated for New Zealand indicates that sustained government deficit reduction could improve the country’s net foreign assets by about half of the accumulated public savings. However, given New Zealand’s relatively strong fiscal positions and previous work noting structurally low household savings, an orderly improvement in New Zealand’s external position in the medium term will depend on a structural improvement in private savings.
Alexander F. Tieman
This paper describes the current state of the Macedonian electricity sector. It looks at ongoing structural changes, driven by the gradual adoption of the EU acquis on energy, and comes up with estimates for electricity subsidies. It concludes by discussing the longer term outlook and sketching policy options.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
IMF work agenda; IMF exchange rate advice; Asia's trade pacts; Central Asia: economic cooperation; Cameroon after debt relief; spread of Austrian banks; conference on financial soundness indicators; Caruana on shifting roles in financial globalization.
International Monetary Fund
The current account deficit by the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina in recent years has fluctuated to about 20 percent of GDP. But official current account statistics suffer from several shortcomings. Possible sources of the savings required to achieve a fiscal position consistent with long-term fiscal sustainability is discussed. A theoretical model of the trade balance has been developed and used as the basis for estimating a quarterly regression model of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s trade balance. Effective fiscal coordination is essential in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
International Monetary Fund
Exporters are permitted to sell their foreign export earnings freely in the exchange market or to retain them in accounts with domestic banks. The surrender requirements for export earnings of coffee and tea have been reduced from 90 percent to 50 percent at end-1996 and eliminated at end-December 1997. The remaining export restriction—a 16 percent ad valorem export tax on coffee that was introduced in April 1998 in place of a variable export tax—has been eliminated effective January 1, 1999.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This volume contains decisions, interpretations, and resolutions of the Executive Board and the Board of Governors of the IMF, as well as selected documents relating to current activities of the Fund.

International Monetary Fund
This report describes recent developments and issues in Austria. The report discusses the structural features of the Austrian labor market. Two features—the relative importance of foreign labor supply, and the comparatively low labor force participation of certain groups—are analyzed in detail. The historical structure of the Austrian balance of payments is discussed, and the developments in 1994 are analyzed. The report also examines the Austrian tourism industry and its underlying problems. Developments in public finances are also elaborated.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper analyses several IMF’s selected decisions of the Executive Board and selected documents. The Executive Board has reviewed the procedures relating to the IMF's surveillance over members' exchange rate policies. Whenever the Managing Director considers that important economic or financial developments are likely to affect a member's exchange rate policies or the behavior of the exchange rate of its currency, he shall initiate informally and confidentially a discussion with the member. A staff report will be circulated to the Executive Directors under cover of a note from the Secretary specifying a tentative date for Executive Board discussion which will be at least 15 days later than the date upon which the report is circulated. The bicyclic consultation procedure shall be terminated and each member currently on the bicyclic procedure shall be immediately placed on the standard 12-month cycle; the first consultation with each such member that is completed after the adoption of this decision shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures that apply to consultations under the standard 12-month cycle, and the deadline for completion that applied under the bicyclic procedure shall continue to apply to such consultation.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper is based on an internal report prepared by the IMF staff in connection with the application of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic (Czechoslovakia) for membership in the IMF. The paper surveys the economic system that had developed up to the time of the reforms begun in 1987 and outlines the economy's performance during 1945–1985. It then discusses the economic developments of 1985–1990, with separate sections on output, prices, public finance, money, and the balance of payments. Prices served mainly as an instrument of central planning: each price was set independently and a change in one price had no influence on other prices. The annual foreign exchange plan, derived from the state plan, strictly controlled foreign exchange transactions. It specified imports and exports of goods and services by enterprises for the convertible and nonconvertible area. The exact modalities of the denationalization scheme have not yet been determined. However, consideration is being given to a scheme whereby state enterprises would be transformed into joint stock companies, and “ownership vouchers” would be distributed to the population which would entitle their holders to purchase stock in these companies.