Business and Economics > Labor

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Mr. Edward F Buffie, Luis-Felipe Zanna, Mr. Christopher S Adam, Lacina Balma, Dawit Tessema, and Mr. Kangni R Kpodar
We introduce a new suite of macroeconomic models that extend and complement the Debt, Investment, and Growth (DIG) model widely used at the IMF since 2012. The new DIG-Labor models feature segmented labor markets, efficiency wages and open unemployment, and an informal non-agricultural sector. These features allow for a deeper examination of macroeconomic and fiscal policy programs and their impact on labor market outcomes, inequality, and poverty. The paper illustrates the model's properties by analyzing the growth, debt, and distributional consequences of big-push public investment programs with different mixes of investment in human capital and infrastructure. We show that investment in human capital is much more effective than investment in infrastructure in promoting long-run economic development when investments earn their average estimated returns. The decision about how much to invest in human capital versus infrastructure involves, however, an acute intertemporal trade-off. Because investment in education affects labor productivity with a long lag, it takes 15+ years before net national income, the private capital stock, real wages for the poor, and formal sector employment surpass their counterparts in a program that invests mainly in infrastructure. The ranking of alternative investment programs depends on the policymakers' social discount rate and on the weight of distributional objectives in the social welfare function.
Nelson Sobrinho
Using an overlapping-generations growth model featuring financial intermediation, I find that inefficiencies in technology to deal with private debt distress (bankruptcy technology), and obstacles to entrepreneurship (high costs of doing business) have significant negative effects on the income per capita and welfare of developing countries. These inefficiencies may also interact in perverse ways, futher amplifying the negagtive effects in the long run. The results provide strong rationale for structural reforms that simultaneously speed up the resolution of private sector insolvency, improve creditor protection, and eliminate obstacles to entrepreneurship.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper examines the impact of scaled-up public investment in Burkina Faso. The results suggest that “big-push” investment efforts, while designed to accelerate growth, are likely to run up against significant absorption-capacity constraints. These constraints will diminish the efficiency of investment spending and result in lower public capital accumulation and productivity growth than under a more measured approach. The empirical evidence from the experience of many countries also suggests that the results of aggressive scaling-up initiatives are mixed.
International Monetary Fund
This supplement presents country case studies reviewing country experiences with managing wage bill pressures, which are the basis for the compensation and employment reform lessons identified in the main paper. The selection of countries for the case studies reflects past studies carried out by either the IMF or the World Bank in the context of technical assistance or bilateral surveillance (Table 1). These studies provide important insights into the different sources of wage bill pressures as well as the reform challenges governments have faced when addressing these pressures over the short and medium term. The studies cover 20 countries, including five advanced economies, six countries from sub-Saharan Africa, two countries in developing Asia, one country in the Middle East and North Africa, three countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and three countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS. The structure of each case study is similar, with each study starting with a presentation of the institutional coverage and framework for setting and managing the wage bill; a description of employment and compensation levels, including their comparison with the private sector; and a discussion of the challenges that motivated the need for reforms and, when applicable, the reforms implemented and lessons derived from these.
International Monetary Fund
Government compensation and employment policies are important for the efficient delivery of public services which are crucial for the functioning of economies and the general prosperity of societies. On average, spending on the wage bill absorbs around one-fifth of total spending. Cross-country variation in wage spending reflects, in part, national choices about the government’s role in priority sectors, as well as variations in the level of economic development and resource constraints.