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Ms. Juliana Dutra Araujo, Jose M Garrido, Emanuel Kopp, Mr. Richard Varghese, and Weijia Yao
This paper presents principles that could guide the design of more targeted policy support and facilitate the restructuring of firms adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, the paper takes stock of vulnerabilities and risks in the enterprise sector and assesses countries’ preparedness to handle a large-scale restructuring of businesses. Crisis preparedness of insolvency systems is measured according to a newly designed indicator that includes five dimensions of the insolvency and restructuring regime (out-of-court restructuring, hybrid restructuring, reorganization, liquidation, and the institutional framework). Vulnerabilities tend to be more pronounced in jurisdictions with shortcomings in crisis preparedness, and those countries need to step up efforts to improve their insolvency systems.
Mr. Luis M. Cubeddu, Mrs. Swarnali A Hannan, and Mr. Pau Rabanal
Building on the vast literature, this paper focuses on the role of the structure of the international investment position (IIP) in affecting countries’ external vulnerabilities. Using a sample of 73 advanced and emerging economies and new database on the IIP’s currency composition, we find that the size and structure of external liabilities and assets, especially with regards to currency denomination, matter in understanding balance-of-payments pressures. Specifically, and beyond the standard macroeconomic factors highlighted in other studies, higher levels of gross external debt increase the likelihood of an external crisis, while higher levels of foreign-currency-denominated external debt increase the likelihood of sudden stops. Foreign reserve assets play a mitigating role, although with diminishing returns, and the combination of flow and stock imbalances amplifies external risks, especially during periods of heightened global risk aversion. The results are especially strong for emerging economies, where the impact of flow and stock imbalances and foreign currency mismatches are larger and more robust across specifications.
Sophia Chen and Dongyeol Lee
We provide broad-based evidence of a firm size premium of total factor productivity (TFP) growth in Europe after the Global Financial Crisis. The TFP growth of smaller firms was more adversely affected and diverged from their larger counterparts after the crisis. The impact was progressively larger for medium, small, and micro firms relative to large firms. It was also disproportionally larger for firms with limited credit market access. Moreover, smaller firms were less likely to have access to safer banks: those that were better capitalized banks and with a presence in the credit default swap market. Horseraces suggest that firm size may be a more important and robust vulnerability indicator than balance sheet characteristics. Our results imply that the tightening of credit market conditions during the crisis, coupled with limited credit market access especially among micro, small, and medium firms, may have contributed to the large and persistent drop in aggregate TFP.
Mr. Marco Arena, Gabriel Di Bella, Mr. Alfredo Cuevas, Mr. Borja Gracia, Vina Nguyen, and Alex Pienkowski
Estimates of the natural interest rate are often useful in the analysis of monetary and other macroeconomic policies. The topic gathered much attention following the great financial crisis and the Euro Area debt crisis due to the uncertainty regarding the timing of monetary policy normalization and the future path of interest rates. Using a sample of European countries (including several members of the Euro Area), this paper provides estimates of country-specific natural interest rates and some of their drivers between 2000 and 2019. In line with the literature, our findings suggest that natural interest rates declined during this period, and despite a rebound in the last few years of it, they have not recovered to their pre-crisis levels. The paper also discusses the implications of the decline in natural interest rates for monetary conditions and debt sustainability.
Mohamed Belkhir, Samy Ben Naceur, Bertrand Candelon, and Jean-Charles Wijnandts
Using a sample that covers more than 100 countries over the 2000-2017 period, we assess the impact of macroprudential policies on financial stability. In particular, we examine whether the activation of macroprudential policies is conducive to a lower incidence of systemic banking crises. Our empirical setup is designed to account for the potential direct and indirect effects that macroprudential policies can have on banking crises. We find that while macro-prudential policies exert a direct stabilizing effect, they also have an indirect destabilizing effect, which works through the depressing of economic growth. A Generalized Impulse Response Function analysis of a dynamic system composed of the probability of a banking crisis and economic growth reveals, however, that macroprudential policies have a positive net effect on financial stability (lower likelihood of systemic banking crises).
Mr. JaeBin Ahn, Mr. Romain A Duval, and Can Sever
While there is growing evidence of persistent or even permanent output losses from financial crises, the causes remain unclear. One candidate is intangible capital – a rising driver of economic growth that, being non-pledgeable as collateral, is vulnerable to financial frictions. By sheltering intangible investment from financial shocks, counter-cyclical macroeconomic policy could strengthen longer-term growth, particularly so where strong product market competition prevents firms from self-financing their investments through rents. Using a rich cross-country firm-level dataset and exploiting heterogeneity in firm-level exposure to the sharp and unforeseen tightening of credit conditions around September 2008, we find strong support for these theoretical predictions. The quantitative implications are large, highlighting a powerful stabilizing role for macroeconomic policy through the intangible investment channel, and its complementarity with pro-competition product market deregulation.