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Mr. Alberto Behar and Ramin Hassan
In terms of size, the net income balance (IB) is comparable to the trade balance (TB) for many countries. Yet the role of the IB in mitigating external vulnerabilities or complicating external adjustment remains underexplored. This paper studies the role of the IB in stabilizing or destabilizing the current account over the cycle and in crises. Our results show that, due to a negative correlation with the TB, the IB significantly dampens the time series volatility of the current account for most countries. However, the IB generally does not improve during crisis episodes, so current account adjustment occurs entirely through improvements in the TB. The paper also estimates IB semi-elasticities with respect to the exchange rate (ER). Semi-elasticities are small for most countries, so the IB is generally not a significant channel through which the ER stabilizes the current account, and trade-based semi-elasticities are, with some important exceptions, good proxies for current account semi-elasticities used in external sector assessments.
Mr. Selim A Elekdag and Maxwell Tuuli
This paper assesses the stabilization properties of fixed versus flexible exchange rate regimes and aims to answer this research question: Does greater exchange rate flexibility help an economy’s adjustment to weather shocks? To address this question, the impact of weather shocks on real per capita GDP growth is quantified under the two alternative exchange rate regimes. We find that although weather shocks are generally detrimental to per capita income growth, the impact is less severe under flexible exchange rate regimes. Moreover, the medium-term adverse growth impact of a 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature under a pegged regime is about –1.4 percentage points on average, while under a flexible regime, the impact is less than one half that amount (–0.6 percentage point). This finding bolsters the idea that exchange rate flexibility not only helps mitigate the initial impact of the shock but also promotes a faster recovery. In terms of mechanisms, our findings suggest that the depreciation of the nominal exchange rate under a flexible regime supports real export growth. In contrast to standard theoretical predictions, we find that countercyclical fiscal policy may not be effective under pegged regimes amid high debt, highlighting the importance of the policy mix and precautionary (fiscal) buffers.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
The topics discussed in this report are tax regimes for small taxpayers (Chapter II) and the tax treatment of special economic zones (Chapter III). Although these aspects of the tax system have little direct effect on public finances, they affect many people and how those people make decisions or impact the positioning of certain regions relative to the rest of the country. Both are of social and political scope that is disproportionate to their magnitude of tax revenue collection, which is why their design must remain focused in its most strategic sense.
Minsuk Kim, Rui Mano, and Mr. Mico Mrkaic
Central banks often buy or sell reserves-–-so called FX interventions (FXIs)---to dampen sharp exchange rate movements caused by volatile capital flows. At the same time, these interventions may entail unintended side effects. In this paper, we investigate whether FXIs incentivize firms to take on more unhedged FX debt, thereby increasing medium-term corporate vulnerabilities. Using a novel dataset with close to 5,000 nonfinancial firms across 19 emerging markets covering 2002--2017, we find that the firm-level share of FX debt rises following intensive use of FXIs, particularly for non-exporting firms in shallow financial markets with no FX debt to begin with. The magnitude of this effect is economically significant, with one standard deviation increase in FXI leading to an average 2 percentage points increase in the FX debt share. For reference, the median share of FX debt in the sample is zero.