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Yasmin Alem and Jacinta Bernadette Shirakawa
Based on internal data, this paper finds that the capacity development program of the IMF’s Statistics Department has prioritized technical assistance and training to fragile and conflict-affected states. These interventions have yielded only slightly weaker results in fragile states than in other states. However, capacity development is constantly needed to make up for the dissipation of progress resulting from insufficient resources that fragile and conflict-affected states allocate to the statistical function, inadequate inter-agency coordination, and the pervasive impact of shocks exogenous to the statistical system. Greater coordination with other capacity development providers and within the IMF can help partially overcome low absorptive capacity in fragile states. Statistical capacity development is more effective when it is tailored to countries’ level of fragility.
International Monetary Fund
The Tenth Periodic Monitoring Report (PMR) on the Status of Management Implementation Plans (MIPs) in Response to Board-Endorsed Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) Recommendations assesses the progress made over the last year on actions contained in 10 MIPs with open management actions.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & and Review Department
The first data and statistics strategy for the Fund comes at a critical time. A fast-changing data landscape, new data needs for evolving surveillance priorities, and persisting data weaknesses across the membership pose challenges and opportunities for the Fund and its members. The challenges emerging from the digital revolution include an unprecedented amount of new data and measurement questions on growth, productivity, inflation, and welfare. Newly available granular and high-frequency (big) data offer the potential for more timely detection of vulnerabilities. In the wake of the crisis, Fund surveillance requires greater cross-country data comparability; staff and authorities face the complexity of integrating new data sources and closing data gaps, while working to address the weaknesses noted by the IEO Report (Behind the Scenes with Data at the IMF) in 2016. The overarching strategy is to move toward an ecosystem of data and statistics that enables the Fund and its members to better meet the evolving data needs in a digital world. It integrates Fund-wide work streams on data provision to the Fund for surveillance purposes, international statistical standards, capacity development, and data management under a common institutional objective. It seeks seamless access and sharing of data within the Fund, enabling cloud-based data dissemination to support data provision by member countries (e.g., the “global data commons”), closing data gaps with new sources including Big Data, and improving assessments of data adequacy for surveillance to help better prioritize capacity development. The Fund also will work with policymakers to understand the implications of the digital economy and digital data for the macroeconomic statistics, including new measures of welfare beyond GDP.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2016 Article IV Consultation highlights that the economic recovery in Austria has strengthened in 2016. GDP growth in 2016 is estimated at 1.4 percent, an improvement over the average growth of 0.6 percent in 2012–15. Growth has been broad-based, driven by private consumption supported by income tax cuts, a recovery in investment, and higher public consumption owing to spending on refugees. Employment growth has picked up as well. The outlook for 2017 appears similarly robust, while in the medium term growth would decline toward its potential rate, which IMF staff estimate at slightly higher than 1 percent. Risks to the outlook are mainly external, with limited likely impact overall.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This report examines whether the IMF has effectively leveraged an important asset: data. It finds that in general, the IMF has been able to rely on a large amount of data of acceptable quality, and that data provision from member countries has improved markedly over time. Nonetheless, problems with data or data practices have, at times, adversely affected the IMF’s surveillance and lending activities. The roots of data problems are diverse, ranging from problems due to member countries’ capacity constraints or reluctance to share sensitive data to internal issues such as lack of appropriate staff incentives, institutional rigidities, and long-standing work practices. Efforts to tackle these problems are piecemeal, the report finds, without a clear comprehensive strategy that recognizes data as an institutional strategic asset, not just a consumption good for economists. The report makes a number of recommendations that could promote greater progress in this regard.

International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
This paper discusses the key findings of the report on statistics technical assistance (TA) and training evaluation mission on Guatemala. It is observed that overall users trust macroeconomic statistics in Guatemala. Data-producing agencies viewed TA and training provided by Statistics Department, IMF during 1998–2015 as most effective to improving the quality of statistics. There is broad recognition of the Bank of Guatemala’s key role in producing and disseminating statistics. There was consensus that TA and training were effective and helped enhance data quality of all datasets, but to a modest extent Government Finance Statistics and Producer Price Index. The effectiveness of TA largely depends on capacity built in the main data-producing agencies.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This paper presents details of Austria’s 2013 Article IV Consultation. Austria has been growing economically but is facing challenges in the financial sector. Full implementation of medium-term fiscal adjustment plans require specifying several measures and plans that need gradual strengthening to take expected further bank restructuring cost into account. It suggests that strong early bank intervention and resolution tools, a better designed deposit insurance system, and a bank-financed resolution fund would help reduce the need for budgetary support to any troubled banks in the future.
International Monetary Fund
This report presents the results of the mid-term evaluation of the Enhanced Data Dissemination Initiative (EDDI) financed by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) covering the period April 1, 2010 to September 30, 2012. The evaluation was conducted internally by the IMF in consultation with DFID. EDDI is a five-year project (April 2010–March 2015) implemented by the IMF to improve macroeconomic statistics in 25 African countries. The project includes modules for sub-groups of countries covering national accounts, monetary statistics, government finance statistics (GFS), balance of payments statistics (BOP), and harmonization of statistics in several regional organizations. The mid-point of a five-year project is an appropriate time for all stakeholders of the project to step back and take stock of what has been accomplished in the first half of the project, what has gone well, what aspects have been disappointing, and what might be adjusted or changed to make the remainder of the project more effective in achieving its objectives. To facilitate this process, questionnaires were developed to obtain feedback from three groups: counterparts in participating countries, IMF module managers and experts, and DFID country and regional advisors. Recommendations made by the stakeholders that will be followed up in the second half of the project are listed as bullets in italics below.
International Monetary Fund
Italy’s economic development after the recession is analyzed in this study. Earnings were hampered by low net interest and high loan-loss provisions, but banks remained profitable. A large and stable retail funding base and ample collateral to access eurosystem refinancing helped Italian banks to face liquidity and funding risks. The tax system was simplified to support growth and enhance tax compliance. The execution of fiscal federalism should not undermine fiscal discipline, and measures were taken to improve employment. Flexibility introduced by the labor market was welcomed.