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Mr. Alvar Kangur, Niki Kalavrezou, and Mr. Daehaeng Kim
The Greek pension system has been costly, complex, and distortive, which has contributed to Greece’s fiscal problems and discouraged labor force participation. Several attempts to reform the system faltered due to lack of implementation, pushback by vested interests, and court rulings leading to reversals. A series of reforms introduced throughout 2015–17 unified benefit and contribution rules, removed several distortions and reduced fragmentation and costs. If fully implemented throughout the long-term, these reforms can go a long way towards enhancing the pension system affordability. However, reforms faced setbacks and fell short of creating stronger incentives to build long contribution histories, to deliver sustainable growth by improving the fiscal policy mix, and to ensure fairness and equitable burden sharing across generations and interest groups. Policy priorities should aim towards fully implementing the 2015–17 reforms and complementing them with additional reforms to address these remaining objectives.
William Gbohoui
This paper combines both micro and macro approaches to identify the drivers of (un)employment and inactivity in Luxembourg. The young, low-skilled, and non-EU migrants are found to be the most vulnerable groups in the labor market. In addition to skills mismatches, work disincentives embedded in the tax-benefit system constitute a factor explaining structural unemployment. High unemployment of young and low-skilled workers reflects substantial unemployment traps, while disincentives for second earners (respectively the generosity of the pension system) contribute to lower labor market participation of women (respectively seniors). Further reduction of structural unemployment requires better integration of vulnerable groups into the labor market and improved targeting of benefits to make work more rewarding.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper estimates the long-run economic impact of Brexit on the United Kingdom under two distinct assumptions for the post-Brexit relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union. These illustrative scenarios entail different degrees of higher trade costs, a more restricted European Union migration regime and reduced foreign inward investment. A standard multicountry and multisector computable general equilibrium model is used to quantify the impact of higher trade barriers. There is substantial sectoral heterogeneity in the impact, and regions with higher concentrations of the more affected sectors are likely to confront greater losses. The empirical analysis suggests the speed of sectoral labor relocation across sectors has been relatively low in the UK. Irrespective of these empirical estimates, policies, such as retraining, would be critical to facilitate faster adjustment of the economy to the post-Brexit equilibrium thereby helping to minimize the associated costs to individuals and in aggregate.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the competitiveness and wage bargaining reform in Italy. The growth of Italian exports has lagged that of euro area peers. Wages are set at the sectoral level and extended nationally. However, they do not respond well to firm-specific productivity, regional disparities, or skill mismatches. Nominally rigid wages have also implied adjustment through lower profits and employment. The analysis also suggests substantial gains from moving from sectoral- to firm-level wage setting of at least 3.5 percentage points, lower unemployment (or higher employment) rate and a notable improvement in Italy’s competitiveness over the medium term.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes insolvency and enforcement issues in Greece. The Greek insolvency and creditor rights framework has improved since the onset of the crisis as a result of successive reforms. Nonetheless, it remains underutilized, fragmented, and distortive, and is not supported by an adequate institutional setting. This is because many of the reforms undertaken in recent years were not part of a coordinated and comprehensive nonperforming loan resolution strategy, but were instead piecemeal and taken without proper stakeholder consultation and impact analysis. Also, the frequent and uncoordinated reforms have undermined legal predictability and certainty. This situation of distress, if left unaddressed, affects enterprises, households and financial and public creditors by preventing investment, credit, and consumption from recovering.
Ms. Elif C Arbatli Saxegaard, Mr. Csaba Feher, Mr. Jack J Ree, Ikuo Saito, and Mauricio Soto
Automatic adjustment mechanisms (AAMs)—rules ensuring that certain characteristics of a pension system respond to demographic, macroeconomic and financial developments, in a predetermined fashion and without the need for additional intervention—have been introduced in many OECD countries to tackle public pension schemes’ deteriorating financial sustainability. Incorporating AAMs—in particular linking retirement age to life expectancy—can be an important part of pension reforms in Asia. If implemented early, AAMs could help prevent the need for sharp adjustments in the future, increase the predictability and inter-generational equity of pension systems and enhance confidence.
Mr. Kenichi Ueda and Beatrice Weder di Mauro
Claimants to SIFIs receive transfers when governments are forced into bailouts. Ex ante, the bailout expectation lowers daily funding costs. This funding cost differential reflects both the structural level of the government support and the time-varying market valuation for such a support. With large worldwide sample of banks, we estimate the structural subsidy values by exploiting expectations of state support embedded in credit ratings and by using long-run average value of rating bonus. It was already sizable, 60 basis points, as of the end-2007, before the crisis. It increased to 80 basis points by the end-2009.