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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Following a deep recession in 2020 and further contraction in 2021Q1, the euro area economy recovered rapidly in the second and third quarters thanks to high vaccination levels, increasing household and business adaptability to the virus, and continued forceful policy support. Looking ahead, while supply chain disruptions, elevated energy prices, and resurgences of Covid-19 cases—including those related to the Omicron variant—are likely to pose near-term headwinds to growth, the recovery is set to continue in 2022 as the impact of the pandemic on economic activity continues to weaken over time and supply-side constraints ease. Medium-term output losses relative to pre-crisis trends will vary significantly across countries and sectors as will the extent of labor market scarring. Price pressures are building up as production bottlenecks are set to persist for a while. However, inflation—despite increasing significantly in recent months due to transitory factors—is projected to moderate during 2022 and remain below the ECB’s inflation target over the medium term. Uncertainty surrounding the outlook remains high and largely related to pandemic dynamics and legacies, including induced behavioral and preference changes.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

On behalf of the Finnish authorities, we thank the mission team led by Wojciech Maliszewski for the candid and constructive discussions and the well-balanced Article IV Report. The mission was conducted under exceptional pandemic circumstances and took place both virtually and in person. The authorities highly appreciate staff’s views on economic context, outlook, risks, and policy priorities, which contribute to the policy debate in Finland. The authorities agree with the thrust of staff’s appraisal and agree that further efforts are required to combat medium and long-term challenges.

Mario di Serio, Matteo Fragetta, and Mr. Giovanni Melina
We compute government spending multipliers for the Euro Area (EA) contingent on the interestgrowth differential, the so-called r-g. Whether the fiscal shock occurs when r-g is positive or negative matters for the size of the multiplier. Median estimates vary conditional on the specification, but the difference between multipliers in the negative and positive r-g regimes differs systematically from zero with very high probability. Over the medium run (5 years), median cumulated multipliers range between 1.22 and 1.77 when r-g is negative, and between 0.51 and 1.26 when r-g is positive. We show that the results are not driven by the state of the business cycle, the monetary policy stance, or the level of government debt, and that the multiplier is inversely correlated with r-g. The calculations are based on the estimates of a factor-augmented interacted panel vector-autoregressive model. The econometric approach deals with several technical problems highlighted in the empirical macroeconomic literature, including the issues of fiscal foresight and limited information.
Irene Yackovlev, Ms. Zuzana Murgasova, Fei Liu, Gohar Minasyan, and Ke Wang
How to Operationalize IMF Engagement on Social Spending during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 Crisis
Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Mr. Larry Q Cui, Silvia Domit, Jingzhou Meng, Mr. Slavi T Slavov, Mrs. Nujin Suphaphiphat, and Hanqi Zhang
This departmental paper investigates how countries in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESEE) can improve fiscal transparency, thereby raising government efficiency and reducing corruption vulnerabilities.
Kodjovi M. Eklou and Mamour Fall
Do discretionary spending cuts and tax increases hurt social well-being? To answer this question, we combine subjective well-being data covering over half a million of individuals across 13 European countries, with macroeconomic data on fiscal consolidations. We find that fiscal consolidations reduce individual well-being in the short run, especially when they are based on spending cuts. In addition, we show that accompanying monetary and exchange rate policies (disinflation, depreciations and the liberalization of capital flows) mitigate the well-being cost of fiscal consolidations. Finally, we investigate the well-being consequences of the two well-knowns expansionary fiscal consolidations episodes taking place in the 80s (in Denmark and Ireland). We find that even expansionary fiscal consolidations can have well-being costs. Our results may therefore shed some light on why some governments may choose to consolidate through taxes even at the cost of economic growth. Indeed, if spending cuts are to generate a large well-being loss, they can trigger an opposition and protest against a fiscal consolidation plan and hence making it politically costly.