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Jorge Alvarez, Mr. John C Bluedorn, Mr. Niels-Jakob H Hansen, Youyou Huang, Evgenia Pugacheva, and Alexandre Sollaci
How often have wage-price spirals occurred, and what has happened in their aftermath? We investigate this by creating a database of past wage-price spirals among a wide set of advanced economies going back to the 1960s. We define a wage-price spiral as an episode where at least three out of four consecutive quarters saw accelerating consumer prices and rising nominal wages. Perhaps surprisingly, only a small minority of such episodes were followed by sustained acceleration in wages and prices. Instead, inflation and nominal wage growth tended to stabilize, leaving real wage growth broadly unchanged. A decomposition of wage dynamics using a wage Phillips curve suggests that nominal wage growth normally stabilizes at levels that are consistent with observed inflation and labor market tightness. When focusing on episodes that mimic the recent pattern of falling real wages and tightening labor markets, declining inflation and nominal wage growth increases tended to follow – thus allowing real wages to catch up. We conclude that an acceleration of nominal wages should not necessarily be seen as a sign that a wage-price spiral is taking hold.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
The current area-based property tax system in Romania is inefficient, producing revenue below its potential, while the taxable value determination is inequitable and complex. Indeed, the property tax only generated 0.6 percent of GDP in 2021 vs. the average of 1.8 percent of GDP in the OECD economies, or 0.9 percent of GDP in EU-27. Meanwhile, significant scope for improving both buoyancy and efficiency of the property tax system exists, not least through the elimination of multiple exemptions, addressing the current inadequate and fragmented self-declaration system of residential buildings that translates into incomplete fiscal cadasters.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Strong health and economic policies allowed for quick economic recovery from initial COVID-19-related lockdowns in 2020. Renewed outbreaks and lockdowns have created setbacks since mid-2021, with disproportionate impacts on some regions, sectors, and workers. Accommodative macroeconomic policies have been instrumental in cushioning the economic impact.
Lien Laureys, Mr. Roland Meeks, and Boromeus Wanengkirtyo
We reconsider the design of welfare-optimal monetary policy when financing frictions impair the supply of bank credit, and when the objectives set for monetary policy must be simple enough to be implementable and allow for effective accountability. We show that a flexible inflation targeting approach that places weight on stabilizing inflation, a measure of resource utilization, and a financial variable produces welfare benefits that are almost indistinguishable from fully-optimal Ramsey policy. The macro-financial trade-off in our estimated model of the euro area turns out to be modest, implying that the effects of financial frictions can be ameliorated at little cost in terms of inflation. A range of different financial objectives and policy preferences lead to similar conclusions.