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Mr. Nicolas End and Mr. Gee Hee Hong
How do policy communications on future f iscal targets af fect market expectations and beliefs about the future conduct of f iscal policy? In this paper, we develop indicators of f iscal credibility that quantify the degree to which policy announcements anchor expectations, based on the deviation of private expectations f rom official targets, for 41 countries. We find that policy announcements partly re-anchor expectations and that f iscal rules and strong fiscal institutions, as well as a good policy track record, contribute to magnifying this effect, thereby improving fiscal credibility. Conversely, empirical analysis suggests that markets reward credibility with more favorable sovereign financing conditions.
Ana Lariau and Lucy Qian Liu
We analyze the differential impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the Spanish labor market across population groups, as well as its implications for income inequality. The main finding is that young, less educated, and low skilled workers, as well as women are the most affected by the COVID-19 shock in terms of job loss rates. The differential impacts were especially acute at the height of the pandemic in 2020 and remain robust after taking into account the heterogeneity of sector characteristics. Given that these vulnerable groups were positioned in the lower end of the income distribution before the crisis, we hypothesize that income inequality likely has increased due to the pandemic. Policies aiming at reducing inequality in the labor market need to go beyond measures that target the hardest-hit sectors and support the vulnerable groups more directly.
Vizhdan Boranova, Raju Huidrom, Ezgi O. Ozturk, Ara Stepanyan, Petia Topalova, and Shihangyin (Frank) Zhang
The auto sector is macro-critical in many European countries and constitutes one of the main supply chains in the region. Using a multi-sector and multi-country general equilibrium model, this paper presents a quantitative assessment of the impact of global pandemic-induced labor supply shocks—both directly and via supply chains—during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic on the auto sector and aggregate activity in Europe. Our results suggest that these labor supply shocks would have a significant adverse impact on the major auto producers in Europe, with one-third of the decline in the value added of the car sector attributable to spillovers via supply chains within and across borders. Within borders, the pandemic-induced labor supply shocks in the services sector have a bigger adverse impact, reflecting their larger size and associated demand effects. Across borders, spillovers from the pandemic-induced labor supply shocks that originate in other European countries are larger than those that originate outside the region, though the latter are still sizable.
Virginia Alonso-Albarran, Ms. Teresa R Curristine, Gemma Preston, Alberto Soler, Nino Tchelishvili, and Sureni Weerathunga
Achieving gender equality remains a significant challenge, that has only deepened with the on-set of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gender budgeting (GB) can help promote gender equality by applying a gender perspective to fiscal policies and the budget process. This paper takes stock of GB practices in G20 countries and benchmarks country performance using a GB index and data gathered from an IMF survey. All G20 countries have enacted gender focused fiscal policies but the public financial management (PFM) tools to operationalize these policies are far less established. We find that notwithstanding heterogeneity across countries, the average G20 level of GB practice is relatively low. More progress has been made establishing GB frameworks and budget preparation tools than with budget execution, monitoring and auditing. Too few countries assess the upfront impact of policies on gender and/or evaluate ex-post the effectiveness of policies and programs. Where GB features are in place, they tend to operate as an ‘add-on’, rather than a strategic and integral part of resource allocation decisions. Progress with GB does not appear to be dependent on the level of country development. Key to future efforts will be harnessing opportunities for integrating GB tools into existing PFM systems and more closely linking GB initiatives with PFM reforms.
André Geis and Ms. Oana Luca
Soaring real estate prices and valuations despite the economic downturn brought by the pandemic have focussed the attention of Dutch policymakers on potential macro-financial and socio-economic implications. In this context, our paper reviews the salient features of Dutch commercial and residential real estate markets with an eye to identify pertinent risks and challenges. While we find that the Dutch authorities have made considerable strides to strengthen real estate-related policies in recent years, some, and partly long-standing, issues remain, requiring additional efforts to bolster financial stability, address housing supply shortages and manage secular changes affecting property markets.
Mr. Andrew Berg, Lahcen Bounader, Nikolay Gueorguiev, Hiroaki Miyamoto, Mr. Kenji Moriyama, Ryota Nakatani, and Luis-Felipe Zanna
Many studies predict massive job losses and real wage decline as a result of the ongoing widespread automation of production, a trend that may be further aggravated by the COVID-19 crisis. Yet automation is also expected to raise productivity and output. How can we share the gains from automation more widely, for the benefit of all? And what are the attendant equity-efficiency trade-offs? We analyze this issue by considering the effects of fiscal policies that seek to redistribute the gains from automation and address income inequality. We use a dynamic general equilibrium model with monopolistic competition, including a novel specification linking corporate power to automation. While fiscal policy cannot eliminate the classic equity-efficiency trade-offs, it can help improve them, reducing inequality at small or no loss of output. This is particularly so when policy takes advantage of novel, less distortive transmission channels of fiscal policy created by the empirically observed link between corporate market power and automation.
Juan Pablo Cuesta Aguirre and Mrs. Swarnali A Hannan
To shed light on the possible scarring effects from Covid-19, this paper studies the economic effects of five past pandemics using local projections on a sample of fifty-five countries over 1990-2019. The findings reveal that pandemics have detrimental medium-term effects on output, unemployment, poverty, and inequality. However, policies can go a long way toward alleviating suffering and fostering an inclusive recovery. The adverse output effects are limited for countries that provided relatively greater fiscal support. The increases in unemployment, poverty, and inequality are likewise lower for countries with relatively greater fiscal support and relatively stronger initial conditions (as defined by higher formality, family benefits, and health spending per capita).
Lucy Qian Liu
This paper studies the main factors that explain the low regional mobility in Spain, with a view to identifying policy options at the regional and central level to promote labor mobility. The empirical analysis finds that house prices, labor market conditions, and the pervasiveness of labor market duality at the regional level are the main determinants for Spain’s regional mobility, while labor market institutions and policies play an important role at the national level. Policies that facilitate wage setting flexibility and reduce labor market duality could help enhance the functioning of the labor market, thereby promoting labor mobility. There may be also room for policies to incentivize people to move and provide support through targeted active labor market policies.