Aleksandra Babii, Ms. Alina Carare, Dmitry Vasilyev, and Mr. Yorbol Yakhshilikov
Traditional models relying on standard variables like the U.S. Hispanic unemployment rate fared well in explaining remittances to CAPDR and Mexico during the pre-pandemic period. However, they fail to predict the sustained growth in remittances since June 2020, including the significant increase in the average amount remitted. Using data from over 300 remittances corridors (from 23 U.S. states to 14 Salvadoran departments), we find that this increase is primarily explained by the dynamics of U.S. states real wages, as well as more temporary factors like U.S. unemployment relief (including the extraordinary pandemic support), U.S. states mobility, and COVID-19 infections at home. The paper also analyses what role the change in the modes of transmission of remittances, additional U.S. fiscal stimulus and U.S. labor market developments, especially in the sectors were CAPDR and Mexican migrants preponderantly work, play in explaining aggregate remittances growth.
Marvin Cardoza, Mr. Francesco Grigoli, and Mr. Nicola Pierri
We show that domestic production networks shape worker flows between firms. Data on the universe of firm-to-firm transactions for the Dominican Republic, matched with employer-employee records, reveals that about 20 percent of workers who change firms move to a buyer or supplier of their original firm. This is a considerably larger share than would be implied by a random allocation of movers to firms. We find considerable gains associated with this form of hiring: higher worker wages, lower job separation rates, faster firm productivity growth, and faster coworker wage growth. Hiring workers from a supplier is followed by a rising share of purchases from that supplier. These findings indicate that human capital is easily transferable along the supply chain and that human capital accumulated while working at a firm is complementary with the intermediate products/services produced by that firm.
Past reforms have put the Peruvian pension system on a largely fiscally sustainable path, but the system faces important challenges in providing adequate pension levels for a large share of the population. Using administrative microdata at the affiliate level, we project replacement rates in the defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) pillars over the next 30 years and simulate the impact of various reform scenarios on the average level and distribution of pensions. In the DB pillar, the regressive minimum contribution period should be re-thought, while in the DC pillar a broadening of the contribution base and/or an increase in contribution rates would help increase replacement rates relative to the baseline forecast of 25-33 percent. A higher net real rate of return than assumed in the baseline would also have a significant positive impact. In the medium-term, labor market reform to tackle informality, and a broad pension reform to restructure the system and avoid competition between the DB and DC pillars should be a priority. Given low pension coverage, having a strong non-contributory pillar will remain important for the foreseeable future.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper proposes a simple nowcast model for an early assessment of the Salvadorian economy. The exercise is based on a bridge model, which is one of the many tools available for nowcasting. For El Salvador, the bridge model exploits information for the period 2005–17 from a large set of variables that are published earlier and at higher frequency than the variable of interest, in this case quarterly GDP. The estimated GDP growth rate in the 4th quarter of 2017 is 2.4 percent year-over-year, leading to an average GDP growth rate of 2.3 percent in 2017. This is in line with the GDP growth implied by the official statistics released two months later, in March 23, 2018.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
This paper analyzes that the IMF has moved beyond its traditional fiscal-centric approach to recognize that social protection can also be macro-critical for broader reasons including social and political stability concerns. Evaluating the IMF’s involvement in social protection is complicated by the fact that there is no standard definition of social protection or of broader/overlapping terms such as social spending and social safeguards in (or outside) the IMF. In this evaluation, social protection is understood to include policies that provide benefits to vulnerable individuals or households. This evaluation found widespread IMF involvement in social protection across countries although the extent of engagement varied. In some cases, engagement was relatively deep, spanning different activities (bilateral surveillance, technical assistance, and/or programs) and involving detailed analysis of distributional impacts, discussion of policy options, active advocacy of social protection, and integration of social protection measures in program design and/or conditionality. This cross-country variation to some degree reflected an appropriate response to country-specific factors, in particular an assessment of whether social protection policy was macrocritical, and the availability of expertise from development partners or in the country itself.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes Nicaragua’s social security system, which is projected to run out of liquid reserves by 2019, several years earlier than anticipated. To avoid burdening the budget, reforms to the system are urgently needed. A deep actuarial, economic, and operational analysis is needed to design a comprehensive reform program. Such a program must ensure that the defined-benefit, pay-as-you-go system can sustain itself for another generation of workers and that improved health care benefits can be maintained. A politically acceptable, pragmatic solution appears within reach. However, the authorities should act quickly to avoid a costly bailout of the system.
Mr. Roberto Garcia-Saltos, Fan Zhang, and Iulia Ruxandra Teodoru
This paper presents estimates of potential output for all Central American economies. Our findings are that potential output growth has declined in recent years in most economies of Central America. Lower capital accumulation and TFP growth are accounting for most of this decline. Apart from Costa Rica, there are no indications of significant economic slack in 2015 in Central America. Looking forward, potential growth in most Central American economies is expected to continue at an average of 4 percent in the medium-term due to structural constraints to capital and employment growth, and low TFP growth. Increasing potential growth, thus, should be a policy priority and structural reforms must be directed at improving business conditions, product and labor markets, and enhancing the capacity for innovation.