Business and Economics > Macroeconomics

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Mr. David Coady, Samir Jahan, Baoping Shang, and Riki Matsumoto
This paper provides an overview of the design of means-tested Guaranteed Minimum Income schemes, which constitute an important component of social protection systems in European countries. It discusses how key design features differ across countries, including how countries balance the primary objective of poverty alleviation against the desire to both manage the work disincentives inherent in such programs and contain fiscal cost. The analysis finds a clear trade-off between both concerns in practice, with many countries combining low generosity with low benefit withdrawal rates (BWRs) thus prioritizing employment incentives over the primary objective of poverty alleviation. Many countries can reduce this trade off by combining higher generosity with higher BWRs. Countries with very high BWRs should consider reducing these, including through allowing income disregards and time dependent (rather than income-dependent) benefit withdrawal. The work disincentives associated with higher BWRs can also be attenuated through strengthening complementary activation policies that incentivize and support participation in the labor market.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2020 Article IV Consultation focuses on Malta’s near and medium-term challenges and policy priorities and was prepared before coronavirus disease 2019 became a global pandemic and resulted in unprecedented strains in global trade, commodity and financial markets. Pursuing structural reforms is expected to help sustain Malta’s growth performance while promoting social inclusion. The focus should continue to be on encouraging female and elderly participation in the labor market, upskilling the labor force and stimulating innovation. Moreover, to safeguard the business climate, remaining governance shortcomings should be addressed without delay, including by stepping up the fight against corruption and by increasing the efficiency of the judicial system while ensuring its independence. Improving access to affordable housing remains a key priority in support of greater inclusion. It is imperative to maintain gradual consolidation to ensure a balanced structural budget excluding proceeds from the Individual Investor Program. The IMF staff suggests continuing addressing infrastructure needs while upgrading public investment efficiency. Improve fiscal risk analysis and management.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
It has been two years since the trade tensions erupted and not only captured policymakers’ but also the research community’s attention. Research has quickly zoomed in on understanding trade war rhetoric, tariff implementation, and economic impacts. The first article in the December 2019 issue sheds light on the consequences of the recent trade barriers.
Mr. Selim A Elekdag, Sheheryar Malik, and Ms. Srobona Mitra
This paper explores the determinants of profitability across large euro area banks using a novel approach based on conditional profitability distributions. Real GDP growth and the NPL ratio are shown to be the most reliable determinants of bank profitability. However, the estimated conditional distributions reveal that, while higher growth would raise profits on average, a large swath of banks would most likely continue to struggle even amid a strong economic recovery. Therefore, for some banks, a determined reduction in NPLs combined with cost efficiency improvements and customized changes to their business models appears to be the most promising strategy for durably raising profitability.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This technical note evaluates the domestic macroprudential policy framework in Malta and provides recommendations to strengthen it. It assesses: the domestic institutional arrangements; the systemic risk monitoring framework; and the macroprudential policy toolkit. It also assesses current financial vulnerabilities in Malta to develop specific policy recommendations. The paper also reviews the current domestic institutional arrangements and provides recommendations and discusses the existing systemic risk monitoring framework and provides options to enhance it further. The legal backing of inter-agency coordination could be further strengthened. The report highlights that the planned introduction of borrower-based measures is a welcome step to proactively address a build-up of vulnerabilities in the housing and household sectors. There is scope to refine the design of the planned borrower-based measures to reduce uncertainty over policy effects. The Central Bank of Malta plans to introduce borrower-based measures to proactively address the potential build-up of vulnerabilities in the housing and household sectors.
Dilyana Dimova
The labor share in Europe has been on a downward trend. This paper finds that the decline is concentrated in manufacture and among low- to mid-skilled workers. The shifting nature of employment away from full-time jobs and a rollback of employment protection, unemployment benefits and unemployment benefits have been the main contributors. Technology and globalization hurt sectors where jobs are routinizable but helped others that require specialized skills. High-skilled professionals gained labor share driven by productivity aided by flexible work environments, while low- and mid-skilled workers lost labor share owing to globalization and the erosion of labor market safety nets.