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International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
Modern Fund surveillance needs to be more targeted, topical and timely, better interconnected and better informed. Modernizing surveillance will likely require additional resources, although estimates are highly uncertain at this stage. The paper offers a tentative costing of new proposals with significant budgetary implications. Other proposals could rely on optimizing processes, while others are underway and funded separately; the resource implications of yet others are being picked up in context of other workstreams. Estimates do not include short-term transition costs or pressures on support services and are subject to a significant degree of uncertainty. A flexible approach to implementing the new modalities, characterized by experimentation and learning-by- doing—a “sandbox” for new modalities—is proposed.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
This note presents key results from the surveys of country authorities, IMF Executive Directors (EDs), and mission chiefs (MCs) to inform the Comprehensive Surveillance Review (CSR). Key takeaways and cross-cutting themes that emerge are Trends, Policy Challenges, Surveillance Priorities, Surveillance modalities and Traction.
Dalya Elmalt, Mr. Divya Kirti, and Ms. Deniz O Igan
As climate change looms larger, many look to sustainable investing that incorporates environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns as part of the way forward. To assess scope for ESG-conscious investing to achieve climate change goals, we explore the link between emissions growth and ESG scores using firm-level data for the largest emitters around the world. Discouragingly, our analysis uncovers at best a weak relationship: firms with better ESG scores do display somewhat slower emissions growth but this link is substantially attenuated and no longer statistically significant if we limit attention to within-country or within-firm variation. Our findings suggest limited scope for sustainable investing strategies conditioned solely on ESG indicators to meaningfully help mitigate climate change and, more broadly, underscore the need to continue to build consensus towards effective economy-wide policies to address climate change.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The October 2019 Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) identifies the current key vulnerabilities in the global financial system as the rise in corporate debt burdens, increasing holdings of riskier and more illiquid assets by institutional investors, and growing reliance on external borrowing by emerging and frontier market economies. The report proposes that policymakers mitigate these risks through stricter supervisory and macroprudential oversight of firms, strengthened oversight and disclosure for institutional investors, and the implementation of prudent sovereign debt management practices and frameworks for emerging and frontier market economies.

Eric Monnet and Mr. Damien Puy
Why did monetary authorities hold large gold reserves under Bretton Woods (1944–1971) when only the US had to? We argue that gold holdings were driven by institutional memory and persistent habits of central bankers. Countries continued to back currency in circulation with gold reserves, following rules of the pre-WWII gold standard. The longer an institution spent in the gold standard (and the older the policymakers), the stronger the correlation between gold reserves and currency. Since dollars and gold were not perfect substitutes, the Bretton Woods system never worked as expected. Even after radical institutional change, history still shapes the decisions of policymakers.
Mr. Ashraf Khan
This paper describes how behavioral elements are relevant to financial supervision, regulation, and central banking. It focuses on (1) behavioral effects of norms (social, legal, and market); (2) behavior of others (internalization, identification, and compliance); and (3) psychological biases. It stresses that financial supervisors, regulators, and central banks have not yet realized the full potential that these behavioral elements hold. To do so, they need to devise a behavioral approach that includes aspects relating to individual and group behavior. The paper provides case examples of experiments with such an approach, including behavioral supervision. Finally, it highlights areas for further research.
International Monetary Fund
Evenhandedness of the Fund’s analysis and advice is critical to the effectiveness of its engagement with member countries. In this regard, both actual and perceived lack of evenhandedness can be detrimental to the Fund’s credibility and legitimacy. While perceptions of evenhandedness often reflect views about the full range of Fund activities, Fund surveillance is an important contributor to perceptions. Moreover, the consistency of the Fund’s analysis and advice will likely be scrutinized more closely in an interconnected world.
Miss Roxana Mihet
This paper investigates the effects of national culture on firm risk-taking, using a comprehensive dataset covering 50,000 firms in 400 industries in 51 countries. Risk-taking is found to be higher for domestic firms in countries with low uncertainty aversion, low tolerance for hierarchical relationships, and high individualism. Domestic firms in such countries tend to take substantially more risk in industries which are more informationally opaque (e.g. finance, mining, IT). Risk-taking by foreign firms is best explained by the cultural norms of their country of origin. These cultural norms do not proxy for legal constraints, insurance safety nets, or economic development.