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Mr. Pragyan Deb, Davide Furceri, Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, and Nour Tawk
Lockdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have reduced overall energy demand but electricity generation from renewable sources has been resilient. While this partly reflects the trend increase in renewables, the empirical analysis presented in this paper highlights that recessions result in a permanent, albeit small, increase in energy efficiency and in the share of renewables in total electricity. These effects are stronger in the case of advanced economies and when complemented with environment and energy policies—both market-based measures such as taxes on pollutants, trading schemes and feed-in-tariffs, as well as non-market measures such as emission and fuel standards and R&D investment and subsidies—to incentivize and hasten the transition towards renewable sources of energy.
Ms. Christina Kolerus
This paper studies the dynamics of external accounts during 278 economic recession events in the past 60 years and sheds light on key factors that shape these patterns. Economic recessions trigger highly-persistent increases in the current account, driven by an initial, sharp decline in investment and fueled by medium term deleveraging, more so in advanced economies than in emerging markets. The strengthening of the current account is more pronounced when internal and external imbalances are present, and less when recessions are synchronized across countries. During severe natural disasters or epidemics, however, current accounts tend to weaken in the short term. Consistent with these findings, the COVID-19 shock, with comparatively moderate pre-existing imbalances yet high synchronization, had a muted effect on current account balances. The compositional changes, however, were unique and driven by unprecedented policy intervention, with record public dissaving more than offsetting exceptional private saving.