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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This note analyzes select aspects of the system for insolvency and creditors’ rights in the context of an overall assessment of the Irish financial sector. It focuses on two areas: (i) the use and effectiveness of the corporate restructuring regime (examinership) and (ii) the resolution of mortgage related NPLs. Corporate restructuring was considered particularly relevant given that the authorities are currently in the process of amending their insolvency system to incorporate the provisions of the European Directive on Preventive Restructuring Procedures (the “EU Directive”) and have recently adopted a new debt resolution regime for small and micro-sized enterprises. The mission team also focused on the resolution of mortgage related NPLs, given that they constitute 46 percent of all NPLs (total loans) in the retail banking system and pose a challenge to the effectiveness of the overall system for debt resolution and creditors’ rights. This analysis has been conducted against the international insolvency standard (the “Standard”), where relevant.2
Nir Klein
The paper uses both macro- and micro-level data to assess how has the financial health of the Irish non-financial corporate (NFC) sector changed in the post financial crisis period. The analysis suggests that vulnerabilities have generally declined in recent years, but the NFC sector and especially smaller domestic firms remain vulnerable. A sensitivity analysis indicates that a non-extreme shock, which comprises a decline in profitability and an increase in interest rates, is likely to push many firms into a vulnerable state and that the share of firms with interest cover ratio of lower than one would triple to nearly fifty percent, largely reflecting the deterioration in the financial health of small firms. In such a scenario, the share of risky debt would increase to the level observed during the financial crisis, resulting in a significant increase in new corporate defaults.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Note discusses the findings and recommendations made in the Financial Sector Assessment Program for Ireland in the areas of nonbank sector stability. Both nonparametric and parametric methods suggest that the residential real estate market in Ireland is close to or moderately below its equilibrium level. Two standard metrics of price-to-income and price-to-rent ratios show that following a protracted period of overvaluation prior to the crisis and a correction afterward, the market has been close to its equilibrium level in recent quarters. Households have deleveraged, but are still highly indebted. The stability analysis results also suggest that vulnerabilities among nonfinancial firms have moderated in recent years.
Ms. Petya Koeva Brooks and Mahmood Pradhan

Abstract

Among member states, many structural weaknesses were exposed when economic performance declined significantly and financial markets became more discerning. This book focuses on the analytical underpinnings of real-time policy advice given to euro area policymakers during four cycles of the IMF’s annual Article IV consultations (2012–15) with euro area authorities.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper assesses the youth unemployment problem in advanced European economies, especially the euro area. Youth unemployment rates increased sharply in the euro area after the crisis. Much of these increases can be explained by output dynamics and the greater sensitivity of youth unemployment to economic activity compared with adult unemployment. Labor market institutions also play an important role, especially the tax wedge, minimum wages, and spending on active labor market policies. The paper highlights that policies to address youth unemployment should be comprehensive and country specific, focusing on reviving growth and implementing structural reforms.
Mr. Bas B. Bakker and Mr. Li Zeng
This paper argues that the large differences among EU countries in post-crisis employment performance are to a large extent driven by the need to adjust corporate balance sheets, which had greatly deteriorated during the boom years in some countries but not in others. To close the large gaps between saving and investment, firms reduced investment and cut costs to boost profits. With much of the cost adjustment falling on firms’ wage bills, employment losses were largest in countries under the most intense pressures to improve corporate profitability and with limited wage flexibility due to labor market duality.
Mr. Luc Laeven and Mr. Ross Levine
The bulk of corporate governance theory examines the agency problems that arise from two extreme ownership structures: 100 percent small shareholders or one large, controlling owner combined with small shareholders. In this paper, we question the empirical validity of this dichotomy. In fact, one-third of publicly listed firms in Europe have multiple large owners, and the market value of firms with multiple blockholders differs from firms with a single large owner and from widely-held firms. Moreover, the relationship between corporate valuations and the distribution of cash-flow rights across multiple large owners is consistent with the predictions of recent theoretical models.
Miss Kinga Z Elo
This paper examines how capital controls affect FDI decisions and how the impact of these restrictive measures varies with different levels of country risk. We construct a model of firms' FDI decisions, broadly in Dunning's "eclectic theory" framework, using "real options" to emphasize economic uncertainty and country risk. Numerical results of the model take the form of "quality statistics" that uncover the underlying dynamics hidden in the aggregate data that is responsible for the low performance of recent empirical studies. We find that increasing levels of capital controls reduce the life-span of FDI investments at each level of country risk and foreign investors' willingness towards risk sharing increases. We reveal a significant interaction between capital control and country risk, resulting in a nonlinear relationship between these and the volatility and volume statistics. We estimate a standard cross-sectional model that provides strong support for our theoretical findings.
Mr. Alan A. Tait

Abstract

This book, by Alan A. Tait, is an examination of VAT. It looks at problems and theoretical options and potential impacts, as well as detailing the practical aspects of implementing new tax structures. The author advances arguments for and against alternative policies and illustrates his study with international examples from Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific. He suggests that countries can learn from each other's experiencees with VAT.