Middle East and Central Asia

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Mr. Amine Mati, Ms. Monique Newiak, and James Wilson
This paper focuses on identifying potential asymmetric responses of non-commodity output growth in times of positive and negative commodity terms-of-trade shocks. Using a sample of 27 oil-exporting countries and a panel VAR method, the study finds: 1) the short-and medium-run response of real non-commodity GDP growth is larger for negative shocks than positive shocks; 2) this asymmetry is more pronounced in countries with weak pre-existing fundamentals–high levels of public debt and low levels of international reserves–which also serve to amplify the volatility of the response; 3) the output response to positive shocks is stronger following a sustained period of CTOT increases, while the impact of negative shocks on output are more damaging when they occur after a period of CTOT decline.
Amar Bhattacharya, Maksym Ivanyna, William Oman, and Nicholas Stern
Climate change is a major threat to the sustainability and inclusiveness of our societies, and to the planet’s habitability. A just transition to a low-carbon economy is the only viable way forward. This paper reviews the climate change challenge. It stresses the criticality of systems changes (energy, transport, urban, land use, water) in a climate-challenged world, and the importance of infrastructure investment geared toward such systems changes. The key policies to enable the transition are: public spending on and investment frameworks for sustainable infrastructure, pricing carbon, regulations, promoting sustainable use of natural resources, scaling up and aligning finance with climate objectives, low-carbon industrial and innovation policies, building resilience and adaptation, better measurement of well-being and sustainability, and providing information and education on climate risks. Implemented well, climate action would unlock the inclusive growth story of the 21st century, making our societies more sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous.
Metodij Hadzi-Vaskov, Samuel Pienknagura, and Mr. Luca A Ricci
This paper explores the macroeconomic impact of social unrest, using a novel index based on news reports. The findings are threefold. First, unrest has an adverse effect on economic activity, with GDP remaining on average 0.2 percentage points below the pre-shock baseline six quarters after a one-standard deviation increase in the unrest index. This is driven by sharp contractions in manufacturing and services (sectoral dimension), and consumption (demand dimension). Second, unrest lowers confidence and raises uncertainty; however, its adverse effect on GDP can be mitigated by strong institutions and by a country’s policy space. Third, an unrest “event”, which is captured by a large change in the unrest index, is associated with a 1 percentage point reduction in GDP six quarters after the event. Impacts differ by type of event: episodes motivated by socio-economic reasons result in sharper GDP contractions compared to those associated with politics/elections, and events triggered by a combination of both factors lead to sharpest contractions. Results are not driven by countries with adverse growth trajectories prior to unrest events or by fiscal consolidations, and are robust to instrumenting via regional unrest.
Aya Achour, Mr. Ales Bulir, Omar Chafik, and Adam Remo
The Morocco Policy Analysis model (MOPAM) was created in the Bank Al-Maghrib to simulate the impact of external developments, domestic macroeconomic policies, and structural reforms on key macroeconomic aggregates. We describe its structure and demonstrate its operation on two medium-term scenarios: (1) fiscal consolidation to stabilize the debt-to-GDP ratio and (2) the effects of the COVID-19 shock, including the endogenous fiscal and monetary policy response.
Fernanda Brollo, Emine Hanedar, and Mr. Sébastien Walker
This paper assesses the additional spending required to make substantial progress towards achieving the SDGs in Pakistan. We focus on critical areas of human (education and health) and physical (electricity, roads, and water and sanitation) capital. For each sector, we document the progress to date, assess where Pakistan stands relative to its peers, highlight key challenges, and estimate the additional spending required to make substantial progress. The estimates for the additional spending are derived using the IMF SDG costing methodology. We find that to achieve the SDGs in these sectors would require additional annual spending of about 16 percent of GDP in 2030 from the public and private sectors combined.
Sriram Balasubramanian, Lahcen Bounader, Mrs. Jana Bricco, and Dmitry Vasilyev
Is there a one-size-fits-all approach to inclusive growth? We look at four key case studies across advanced and emerging markets—the Nordics, India, Brazil, and Egypt—to try to answer this question. We highlight qualitatively in these countries the key components of inclusive growth models, outcomes from these models, and the road ahead in the respective countries. Some of the analysis focuses on co-operative labor markets in the Nordics, direct benefit transfers in India, the role of social assistance and commodity boom in Brazil, and the inequality puzzle in Egypt. The paper finds that there is a lack of homogeneity among the approaches by these countries and identifies the need for customized solutions to inclusive growth. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t seem to work. The more customized the inclusive growth model, the better the overall outcome.
Ms. Dora Benedek, Mr. Edward R Gemayel, Mr. Abdelhak S Senhadji, and Alexander F. Tieman
The COVID-19 pandemic hit countries’ development agendas hard. The ensuing recession has pushed millions into extreme poverty and has shrunk government resources available for spending on achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This Staff Discussion Note assesses the current state of play on funding SDGs in five key development areas: education, health, roads, electricity, and water and sanitation, using a newly developed dynamic macroeconomic framework.