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International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

In response to the Global Financial Crisis, the IMF launched many initiatives to strengthen financial surveillance and better advise member countries of vulnerabilities and risks. While these initiatives have not yet been tested by a major crisis, the efforts have delivered a substantial upgrade of the Fund’s financial surveillance, including giving the IMF clearer responsibilities over financial sector stability and cross-country spillovers; making periodic financial stability assessments mandatory for jurisdictions with systemically important financial sectors; invigorating efforts to integrate financial and macroeconomic analysis in bilateral and multilateral surveillance; enhancing cooperation with the Financial Stability Board and standard setting bodies to promote reforms and monitor agreed standards; and taking steps to recruit and train greater financial expertise. While recognizing these achievements, this evaluation finds that the quality and impact of the IMF’s financial surveillance has been uneven. The expansion of products and activities has presented the Fund with difficult trade-offs between bilateral and multilateral surveillance; between countries with systemically important financial sectors and other member countries; and between financial surveillance and other activities. Moreover, resource constraints have slowed the needed build-up of financial and macrofinancial expertise. These are critical issues, given the IMF’s position as the only international financial institution with the mandate and ability to conduct financial and macrofinancial surveillance over the full range of countries as well as the global economy, and given that these issues are at the core of the IMF’s responsibilities. Thus, to further strengthen financial surveillance, the evaluation recommends devoting greater resources to financial surveillance overall; further strengthening financial and macrofinancial analysis in Article IV surveillance; refining resource allocation for FSAPs; enhancing rigor and transparency in multilateral surveillance; intensifying efforts to be a global center of excellence on financial and macrofinancial research; and extending efforts to develop financial expertise among IMF staff.

Mr. Klaus-Stefan Enders
Since 2004 Egypt's growth has been accelerating in step with the launching of a series of ambitious reforms, reversing a trend during the preceding half-decade when Egypt's growth rate fell below that of most regional peers and well below that of the average developing country. This paper seeks to identify factors that held back Egypt's growth in the recent past, and explores whether recent reforms have removed the most binding constraints to allow at least a temporary growth spurt. Overall, the Egyptian reforms launched in 2004 appear to have focused well on the most critical constraints-reducing red tape and tax rates, and improving access to foreign exchange-thereby getting a strong growth response out of a limited set of reforms. However, inefficient bureaucracy remains an important obstacle to higher growth and reforms in this area should continue to have high payoffs. Ongoing reforms are also addressing constraints that are likely to become binding soon (or have become so already), such as inefficient financial intermediation and high public debt. Improvements in education may rapidly become a critical factor for sustaining higher growth.
Mr. Robert P Flood
This paper explores sources of the output collapse in Russia during transition. A modified growth-accounting framework is developed that takes into account changes in factor utilization that are typical of the transition process. The results indicate that declines in factor inputs and productivity were both important determinants of the output fall. The paper analyzes the behavior of real commodity prices over the 1862–1999 progress. It also examines whether average stocks of health and education are converging across countries, and calculates the speed of their convergence using data from 84 countries for 1970–90.
Mr. Paul R Masson
The coexistence of urban and rural poverty and migration to cities is studied in a dual economy model where the acquisition of skills is costly and involves migration to urban areas. In this model, both the distribution of innate abilities and the distribution of wealth matter for the migration decision, and costs of backmigration may produce an urban poverty trap if unemployment lowers household wealth below the cost of skills acquisition.