This paper aims to determine how much of the economic slowdown of Albania is owing to cyclical conditions and how much to a reduction in potential growth. The analysis shows that average growth in 2009–14 dropped by 3.2 percentage points relative to 1997–2008, of which 2.8 percentage points are due to lower potential growth. Albania has significant potential to improve its export competitiveness. However, Albania’s competitiveness has shown narrow improvements over the past five years, with weak productivity growth and continued concentration in low-skilled labor-intensive sectors with limited value added. This paper also explores the factors underpinning Albania’s relatively low level of general government revenues.
In this paper we study the dynamics of inflation in Macedonia, provide three forecasting tools and draw some policy conclusions from the quantitative results. We explore three forecasting methods for inflation. We use a Dynamic Factor Model (DFM) for short-term, monthly forecasting. We also develop two quarterly models: A Vector Error Correction Model (VECM), and a New Keynesian Phillips Curve (NKPC) for a more structural model of inflation. The NKPC shows a significant effect of output gap and inflation expectations on current inflation, confirming that the expectations channel of monetary transmission mechanism is strong. In terms of forecast-error variance, we show that all three models do very well in one-period ahead forecasting.
This paper presents empirical evidence on the impact of competition on firm productivity. Using firm-level observations from the World Bank Enterprise Survey database, we find a positive and robust causal relationship between our proxies for competition and our measures of productivity. We also find that countries that implemented product-market reforms had a more pronounced increase in competition, and correspondingly, in productivity: the contribution to productivity growth due to competition spurred by product-market reforms is around 12-15 percent.
This Selected Issues paper for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is examined. Real GDP growth accelerated to 5 percent in 2007 and 6 percent in the first half of 2008, from its historical average of about 3 percent. Increased investment, partly financed by FDI, is the main driver boosting domestic demand, as seen in the fast-growing import of investment and intermediate goods. Simultaneously, the current account deficit has widened substantially since 2007 and has become a major concern for macroeconomic stability.
The paper analyzes the export performance and external competitiveness in FYR Macedonia. It describes the trends in the account balance, external vulnerabilities, and different approaches to estimate the equilibrium real exchange rate; and reviews economic growth experience and prospects and reveals areas of weakness. It also discusses many different factors responsible for Macedonia's high unemployment rate and examines the main factors behind the low level of intermediation.
This paper seeks to investigate the transmission mechanisms linking productivity to the real exchange rate in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. At first glance, the stylized facts-low labor productivity growth and a trend real depreciation-suggest that a Balassa- Samuelson effect is in play. We find that the relationship between the two is not a result of the traditional Balassa-Samuelson effect. Instead, the depreciation of the real exchange rate reflects mainly the behavior of prices in the tradable sector. We argue that the depreciating real exchange rate may reflect a prolonged transition associated with slow technological growth and the low quality of the country's tradable-goods basket.
Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Emanuele Baldacci, and Mr. Carlos Mulas-Granados
This paper assesses the effects of expenditure composition as well as fiscal adjustment on economic growth in a sample of 39 low-income countries during the 1990s. The paper finds that strong budgetary positions and fiscal consolidation are generally associated with higher economic growth in both the short and long terms. The composition of public outlays also matters: Countries where spending is concentrated on wages tend to have lower growth, while those that allocate higher shares to capital and nonwage goods and services enjoy faster output expansion. Expenditure composition, along with the size of the fiscal consolidation and initial fiscal conditions, affects the sustainability of adjustment. Initial fiscal conditions also have a bearing on the nexus between fiscal deficits and growth.
Ms. Ratna Sahay, Mr. Jeromin Zettelmeyer, Mr. Eduardo Borensztein, and Mr. Andrew Berg
What are the relative roles of macroeconomic variables, structural policies, and initial conditions in explaining the time path of output in transition and the large observed differences in output performance across transition economies? Using a sample of 26 countries, this paper follows a general-to-specific modeling approach that allows for differential effects of policies and initial conditions on the private and state sectors and for time-dependent effects of initial conditions. While showing some fragility to model specification, the results point to the preeminence of structural reforms over both initial conditions and macroeconomic variables in explaining cross-country differences in performance and the timing of the recovery.