Europe

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Ms. Enrica Detragiache, Mr. Christian H Ebeke, La-Bhus Fah Jirasavetakul, Koralai Kirabaeva, Mr. Davide Malacrino, Florian Misch, Mr. Hyun Park, and Ms. Yu Shi
A hypothetical European Minimum Wage (MW) set at 60 percent of each country’s median wage would reduce in-work poverty but have limited effects on overall poverty, as many poor households do not earn a wage near MW and higher unemployment, higher prices, and a loss of social insurance benefits may erode direct benefits. Turning to competitiveness, since the MW increase to reach the European standard would be larger in euro area countries with excessive external surpluses, the associated real appreciation should help curb existing imbalances. However, a few countries with already weak external positions would experience an undesirable real appreciation.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This paper discusses Kosovo’s First Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement and Requests for Modification and Waivers of Applicability of Performance Criteria (PC). The program is on track. All end-August 2015 PCs and indicative targets were met by comfortable margins. All structural benchmarks for the first review have been met. More broadly, there is strong ownership of structural reforms in the financial sector and in public procurement. The authorities reaffirmed the targets for the fiscal deficit and bank balances for next year and identified measures to achieve these. The IMF staff support the authorities’ request for completion of the first review.
Lorenzo Forni and Natalija Novta
This paper compiles and compares recent and past measures introduced to contain the public wage bill in a number of emerging and advanced economies to assess their effectiveness in bringing down expenditure in a sustained way. In the aftermath of the Great Recession a number of countries have approved measures on the wage bill as part of fiscal consolidation efforts. These recent episodes are compared to past cases implemented in advanced economies over the period 1979–2009. Findings suggest that public wage bill consolidation episodes pre and post 2009 are similar in many respects. Moreover, typically countries that were able to achieve more sustained reductions in the wage bill have implemented to larger extent structural measures, and/or these measures were accompanied with substantial social dialogue and consensus.
Laurence M. Ball, Davide Furceri, Mr. Daniel Leigh, and Mr. Prakash Loungani
This paper examines the distributional effects of fiscal consolidation. Using episodes of fiscal consolidation for a sample of 17 OECD countries over the period 1978–2009, we find that fiscal consolidation has typically had significant distributional effects by raising inequality, decreasing wage income shares and increasing long-term unemployment. The evidence also suggests that spending-based adjustments have had, on average, larger distributional effects than tax-based adjustments.
International Monetary Fund
Bulgaria's macroeconomic performance in the face of the prolonged slowdown in the EU has been impressive, but risks have intensified. The response of fiscal policy to these risks has been adequate. Plans to increase reliance on state enterprises to carry out public sector activities are worrying. The government has taken the right approach to addressing the rapid growth in private sector credit. Bulgaria has made good progress on its structural reform agenda, but an intensified effort is required to help deal with greater macroeconomic risks.
Ms. Elaine Karen Buckberg
Although financial stabilization has laid the foundation for growth, structural reform of the economy will determine whether Russia achieves sustained medium-term growth. The next step for Russia is to create an institutional and regulatory environment that fosters investment and promotes new private sector activity. This paper examines the most critical reforms for promoting private sector development: reforming the tax system, reducing red tape and bureaucratic corruption, strengthening the judicial system, and improving capital market infrastructure.
Mr. Thierry Pujol and Mr. Mark E Griffiths
Why is moving from moderate to low inflation almost always slow or costly? This paper answers this question, based on the Polish experience. First, reflecting the transition to a market economy, Polish inflation has been marked by significant changes in relative prices. Second, as wage and price indexation takes root, the inflationary effect of shocks to relative prices is magnified. Third, lagging structural reform, including the failure to extend hard budget constraints to all sectors of the economy, makes monetary policy less effective. Reduced money supply growth with structural reform offers the best prospect for moving to low inflation.
International Monetary Fund
This compilation of summaries of Working Papers released during July-December 1993 is being issued as a part of the Working Paper series. It is designed to provide the reader with an overview of the research work performed by the staff during the period. Authors of Working Papers are normally staff members of the Fund or consultants, although on occasion outside authors may collaborate with a staff member in writing a paper. The views expressed in the Working Papers or their summaries are, however, those of the authors and should not necessarily be interpreted as representing the views of the Fund. Copies of individual Working Papers and information on subscriptions to the annual series of Working Papers may be obtained from IMF Publication Services, International Monetary Fund, 700 19th Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20431. Telephone: (202) 623-7430 Telefax: (202) 623-7201
Mr. Louis Dicks-Mireaux
Since 1991, the economies of the former Soviet Union have experienced sizeable shocks that have pushed equilibrium real wages far from pre-transition levels. This paper sets out a framework in which to assess the degree of real wage adjustment needed to restore equilibrium, and discusses practical problems in applying wage targets and monitoring real wage developments. A key policy conclusion is that because the accuracy of real wage targets is inevitably suspect, observable indicators should be identified to evaluate the adequacy of actual movements in real wages and of the wage targets; rigid indexation rules should be avoided in nominal incomes policies. This is a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment and the author(s) would welcome any comments on the present text. Citations should refer to a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment of the International Monetary Fund, mentioning the author(s) and the date of issuance. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Fund.