Western Hemisphere > Colombia

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Mr. Jose L. Torres
Uruguay enjoys favorable social outcomes, and its labor indicators are comparable to other Latin American countries, but its youth unemployment is one of the highest in the world. To help understand this duality, we employ synthetic panels from repeated household surveys for LA6 countries from 1990-2018 to investigate the determinants of the youth-to-adult unemployment gap. We find that a large part of the Uruguayan gap cannot be explained by standard variables, which opens the possibility that other uncontrolled factors, including labor market institutions, might be at play.
Frederic Lambert, Mr. Andrea Pescatori, and Mr. Frederik G Toscani
Labor market informality is a pervasive feature of most developing economies. Motivated by the empirical regularity that the labor informality rate falls with GDP per capita, both at business cycle frequency and in a cross-section of countries, and that the Okun's coefficient falls with the level of labor informality, we build a small open-economy dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model with two sectors, formal and informal, which can replicate these key stylized facts. The model is calibrated to Colombia. The results show that labor market and tax reforms play an important role in changing the informality rate but also caution against over-optimism - with low GDP per capita, informality will always be relatively high as there is insufficient demand for formal goods. Quantitatively we find that higher productivity in the formal sector is key in explaining the difference between Colombia and countries with significantly lower informality. We use the model to study how labor informality and labor market frictions mediate the cyclical response of the economy to shocks, including commodity price shocks which are particularly relevant in Latin America. Informality is shown to play an important role as a shock absorber with the informal-formal margin limiting movements in the employed-unemployed margin.
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.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper examines the export growth in Colombia. Colombian exports are heavily concentrated in commodities but the large real depreciation since 2015 offers an opportunity to grow nontraditional exports substantially. Colombia’s comparative advantage in noncommodity products was weak in 2013-15, and export diversification was low, partly owing to the commodity price boom. Exports grew moderately in recent years but in line with historical relationships given fundamentals. The export outlook is positive. Given global growth assumptions, the IMF staff’s models predict acceleration in export growth. The historical experience of commodity exporters suffers large real depreciations also paints a positive picture.
Mr. Sergi Lanau, Mr. Jorge Roldos, and Jose Daniel Rodríguez-Delgado
This paper uses a multivariate filter and a production function to project potential growth in Colombia, modeling in detail the impact of low oil prices on investment. The framework also captures the impact of current and planned policies on potential growth, including the peace agreement with the FARC, the tax reform, and 4G infrastructure projects. The analysis suggests the growth acceleration of the 2000s is unlikely to repeat itself in a world of lower oil prices. Potential growth is likely to moderate to a range of 2.8 to 4.1 percent. The 4G infrastructure projects and the tax reform will increase investment, partly offsetting the sharp decline in oil investment. Improvements in productivity are essential to lift potential growth, as the large increases in the labor force observed in the last 15 years are unlikely to continue.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
The Fall 2017 IMF Research Bulletin includes a Q&A article covering "Seven Questions on the Globalization of Farmland" by Christian Bogmans. The first research summary, by Manmohan Singh and Haobing Wang is "Central Bank Balance Sheet Policies: Some Policy Implications." The second research summary is "Leaning Against the Windy Bank Lending" by Giovanni Melina and Stefania Villa. A listing of new IMF Working Papers and Staff Discussion Notes is featured, as well as new titles from IMF Publications. Information on IMF Economic Review is also included.
Moisés J. Schwartz and Ray C. Rist


The benefits of independent evaluation in international financial institutions have long been recognized. However, independent evaluation in these organizations is of increased relevance during uncertain times that call for more credible and legitimate institutions. While evaluation has long played a function in the IMF, and its role has expanded substantially with the creation of the IEO, independent evaluation has yet to take on a role within the IMF that fully reflects its potential contribution. A strong global economy requires a strong IMF, and a strong IMF requires a strong independent evaluation culture and practice. The establishment of the IEO was only the start of a process that still needs to be fostered and cultivated. Successful independent evaluation is important for the IMF to be perceived as legitimate and credible—and to achieve it, the independent evaluation function needs to be further integrated in the learning process and culture of the Fund. Independent evaluation has played a significant role in contributing to the improvement of the IMF, but the pending challenge is for the IMF and the IEO to create a shared culture that fully embraces the purpose and mission of the IEO, and the learning opportunities offered by independent evaluation. The IMF’s organizational culture has a profound role to play in prompting actions to make learning from independent evaluation a more vibrant element of the Fund’s activities. This book calls on IMF management to take a more active role in instilling the positive value of independent evaluation across the organization and thus enabling independent evaluation to bring the IMF closer to what the literature defines as the ideal of a “learning organization.”

International Monetary Fund
This report responds to the February 2016 request from the G20 for the IMF, OECD, United Nations and World Bank Group to: “…recommend mechanisms to help ensure effective implementation of technical assistance programs, and recommend how countries can contribute funding for tax projects and direct technical assistance, and report back with recommendations at our July meeting.” The report has been prepared in the framework of the Platform for Collaboration on Tax (the “PCT”), under the responsibility of the Secretariats and Staff of the four mandated organizations. The report reflects a broad consensus among these staff, but should not be regarded as the officially endorsed views of those organizations or of their member countries.
International Monetary Fund
The Seventh PMR includes: (i) a discussion of progress made over the last year on the actions corresponding to four Management Implementation Plans (MIPs) that were classified as still “in progress” in the previous PMR; and (ii) an assessment of the progress made in achieving the high-level objectives in three areas directly related to those MIPs. In addition, an update on substantive issues related to five older MIPs agreed since 2007 is provided at the end of the report. Three new evaluations have been completed by the IEO since March 2014. In July and August 2015, Management issued the MIPs in response to these evaluations. Given that only a short time has passed since their completion, progress in addressing the actions contemplated in those MIPs will be discussed in the next PMR.