A Technical Assistance (TA) mission was conducted in July 2021 to review the data sources and methods used to produce revised estimates of the Kenyan National Accounts (NA) for the period 2009–2019. The mission also provided guidance on producing a revision report to be published at the time of the release.
Mr. Marco Arena, Ms. Ruo Chen, Mr. Alfredo Cuevas, Karim Foda, Mr. Borja Gracia, Miss Estelle X Liu, Alex Pienkowski, Christiane Roehler, Shituo Sun, Mr. Sebastian Weber, Xin Cindy Xu, and Ms. Yu Shi
In Europe, the severe human toll of the COVID-19 pandemic was compounded by the deepest fall in economic activity in modern history. Yet this huge decline in output did surprisingly little damage to the aggregate financial balance sheets of firms and households. This paper discusses how unprecedented policy support transferred private sector income losses to the public sector’s balance sheet and contrasts this experience to that of the global financial crisis.
Metodij Hadzi-Vaskov, Samuel Pienknagura, and Mr. Luca A Ricci
This paper explores the macroeconomic impact of social unrest, using a novel index based on news reports. The findings are threefold. First, unrest has an adverse effect on economic activity, with GDP remaining on average 0.2 percentage points below the pre-shock baseline six quarters after a one-standard deviation increase in the unrest index. This is driven by sharp contractions in manufacturing and services (sectoral dimension), and consumption (demand dimension). Second, unrest lowers confidence and raises uncertainty; however, its adverse effect on GDP can be mitigated by strong institutions and by a country’s policy space. Third, an unrest “event”, which is captured by a large change in the unrest index, is associated with a 1 percentage point reduction in GDP six quarters after the event. Impacts differ by type of event: episodes motivated by socio-economic reasons result in sharper GDP contractions compared to those associated with politics/elections, and events triggered by a combination of both factors lead to sharpest contractions. Results are not driven by countries with adverse growth trajectories prior to unrest events or by fiscal consolidations, and are robust to instrumenting via regional unrest.
The South African Reserve Bank has continued to fulfill its constitutional mandate to protect the value of the local currency by keeping inflation low and steady. This paper provides evidence that monetary policy tightening aimed at maintaining low and stable inflation could at the same time reduce consumption inequality over a 12–18 month horizon, commonly understood as the transmission lag of monetary policy action to the real economy, and similar to the distance between survey waves used in the analysis. In response to “exogenous” monetary policy tightening, the real consumption of individuals at lower ends of the consumption distribution declines relatively modestly, or even increases. With greater reliance on government transfers, thus smaller reliance on labor income, and relatively larger food consumption, these individuals appear to benefit mainly from lower inflation. By contrast, the real consumption of individuals at higher ends of the consumption distribution is more likely to decline due to lower labor income, weaker asset price performance, and higher debt service cost.
We examine the role of market characteristics and timing in explaining observed heterogeneity in VAT pass-through. We first extend existing theory to characterize the roles of imperfect competition and product differentiation, then investigate these relationships empirically using a panel of 14 Eurozone countries between 1999 and 2013. We find important roles for product market regulation and product quality, and little impact of advance announcement of reforms. Our findings have important implications for policy-makers considering VAT rate adjustments, by illuminating which of the consumers or the producers would experience the brunt of a reform across different settings.
Juan Carlos Hatchondo, Mr. Leonardo Martinez, and Mr. Francisco Roch
Using a quantitative sovereign default model, we characterize constrained efficient borrowing by a Ramsey government that commits to income-history-contingent borrowing paths taking as given ex-post optimal future default decisions. The Ramsey government improves upon the Markov government because it internalizes the effects of borrowing decisions in period t on borrowing opportunities prior to t. We show the effect of borrowing decisions in t on utility flows prior to t can be encapsulated by two single dimensional variables. Relative to a Markov government, the Ramsey government distorts borrowing decisions more when bond prices are more sensitive to borrowing, and changes in bond prices have a larger effect on past utility. In a quantitative exercise, more than 80% of the default risk is eliminated by a Ramsey government, without decreasing borrowing. The Ramsey government also has a higher probability of completing a successful deleveraging (without defaulting), while smoothing out the fiscal consolidation.