Asia and Pacific > Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China

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Alexandra Fotiou and Andresa Lagerborg
Following the Great Lockdown in 2020, it is important to take stock of lessons learned. How effective have different containment measures been in slowing the spread of Covid-19? Have containment measures been costly in terms of economic growth, fiscal balances, and accumulated debt? This paper finds that countries with previous SARS experience acted fast and "smart", and were able to contain the virus by relying mainly on public health measures ─ testing, contact tracing, and public information campaigns ─ rather than stay-at-home requirements. Using past coronavirus outbreaks as an instrumental variable, we show that countries with past experience were able to contain the virus in a smart way, reducing transmission and deaths while also experiencing higher economic growth in 2020.
Mr. Shafik Hebous
How did the rise of multinational enterprises (MNEs) put pressure on the prevailing international corporate tax framework? MNEs, and firms with market power, are not new phenomena, nor is the corporate income tax, which dates to the early 20th century. This prompts the question, what is distinctly new (about multinational enterprises)—if anything—that has triggered unprecedented recent concerns about vulnerabilities in international tax arrangements and the taxation of MNEs? This paper presents a set of empirical observations and a synthesis of strands of the literature to answer this question. A key message is that MNEs of the 21st century operate differently from prior periods and have evolved to become global firms—with important tax ramifications. The fragility of international tax arrangements was present at the outset of designing international tax rules, but the challenges have drastically intensified with the global integration of business, the increased trade in hard-to-price services and intangibles, and the rapid growth of the digital economy.
Anh Thi Ngoc Nguyen
In this paper, we review developments in Japanese inbound tourism and investigate the main determinants of its rapid growth prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a panel autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) model with data on 34 tourism source markets from 1996Q1 to 2018Q4, we find that not only tourist income and tourism-related relative prices, also visa policies have had significant impacts on Japan’s inbound tourism demand in the long run. In the short run, natural disasters have had large and prolonged effects on tourism. We then derive policy implications for the post-COVID-19 revival of Japanese inbound tourism.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
The U.S. is in the midst of an unprecedented social and economic shock. The longest expansion in U.S. history has been derailed by the unanticipated advent of COVID-19. To preserve lives and support public health, it was necessary to put in place a broad-based shutdown of the U.S. economy in March. Despite the gradual easing of state lockdown restrictions and lifting of stay-at-home orders starting in late April, the collateral economic damage has been enormous. First, and foremost, as of July 16, more than 136,000 Americans have tragically lost their lives and many more have become seriously ill. Almost fifteen million Americans have lost their jobs, many small and large businesses are under financial stress, and future prospects are highly uncertain. Reopening decisions will have to be handled carefully to mitigate the economic costs while containing the ongoing rise in COVID-19 infection rates. It will likely take a prolonged period to repair the economy and to return activity to pre-pandemic levels. All in all, globally there will be difficult months and years ahead and it is of particular concern that the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is still rising.