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Ms. Inci Ötker

Abstract

Many countries have moved towards more flexible exchange rate regimes over the last decade to take advantage of greater monetary policy autonomy and flexibility in responding to external shocks. Some reluctance to let go of pegged exchange rates persists, however, despite the benefits of flexibility. The institutional and operational requirements needed to support a floating exchange rate, as well as difficulties in assessing the right time and manner to exit, tend to be additional factors in this reluctance. This volume presents the concrete steps taken by a number of countries in transition to greater exchange rate flexibility and elaborates on the operational ingredients that proved helpful in promoting successful and durable transitions. It attempts to provide a better understanding (and hence a "road map") of how these various operational ingredients were established and coordinated, how their implementation interacted with macro and other conditions, and how they contributed to the smoothness of each transition.

Mr. Abdul d Abiad, Mr. Ashoka Mody, Ms. Susan M Schadler, and Mr. Daniel Leigh

Abstract

The central challenges facing the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia as they work to catch up to advanced European Union (EU) income levels are discussed in this new book. Focusing on the region’s growth performance, and outlining two growth scenarios that illustrate the range of investment and productivity growth rates under the income catchup objective, the authors draw upon extensive resources to identify strengths and weaknesses.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Upon entry into the European Union, countries become members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), with a derogation from adopting the euro as their currency (that is, each country joining the EU commits to replace its national currency with the euro, but can choose when to request permission to do so). For most of these countries, adopting the euro will entail major economic change. This paper examines likely economic developments and policy challenges for the five former transition countries in central Europe--the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, the Slovak Republic, and Slovenia--that joined the European Union in May 2004 and operate under independent monetary policies but have not yet achieved policy convergence with the rest of the euro area.

Mr. Eduardo Borensztein, Mr. Olivier D Jeanne, Mr. Paolo Mauro, Mr. Jeromin Zettelmeyer, and Mr. Marcos d Chamon

Abstract

The debate on government debt in the context of possible reforms of the international financial architecture has thus far focused on crisis resolution. This paper seeks to broaden this debate. It asks how government debt could be structured to pursue other objectives, including crisis prevention, international risk-sharing, and facilitating the adjustment of fiscal variables to changes in domestic economic conditions. To that end, the paper considers recently developed analytical approaches to improving sovereign debt structure using existing instruments, and reviews a number of proposals--including the introduction of explicit seniority and GDP-linked instruments--in the sovereign context.

Mr. Reint Gropp, Mr. Liam P. Ebrill, and Ms. Janet Gale Stotsky

Abstract

The apparent contradiction between trade liberalization and continuing high trade tax revenue raises the important question of how, precisely, the one affects the other. Although policymakers generally recognize the long-term benefits of trade liberalization, some have argued for at least a slower pace, in part because of revenue concerns. This paper seeks to address these issues in three complimentary ways: through an overview of the factors that may have a bearing on the question, through a review of trends in trade tax revenue both globally and in selected countries, and through econometric analysis.

Mr. Adam Bennett, Mr. Eduardo Borensztein, and Mr. Tomás J. T. Baliño

Abstract

Dollarization - the holding by residents of a substantial portion of their assets in foreign-currency-denominated assets- is a common feature of developing and transition economies, and therefore typical of many countries with IMF - supported adjustment programs. This paper analyzes policy issues that arise-and various monetary strategies that may be pursued- when the monetary sector is dollarized, and it considers the implications that dollarization has for the design of IMF programs.

Mr. Dominique Desruelle, Mr. Robert A Feldman, Mr. Klaus-Stefan Enders, Mr. Karim A. Nashashibi, Mr. Peter Allum, Heliodoro Temprano-Arroyo, Mr. Roger Nord, and Mr. Robert Brandon Kahn

Abstract

In the Summer of 1998, the Executive Board discussed a set of three papers prepared by the staff that focused on the likey impact of EMU on selected non-EU countries. In recognition of the contribution these papers could make to the literature and discussion of EMU, the Board requested that this collection of papers be published. This Occasional Paper presents the three papers in one volume Chapter 1 provides an analysis of the likely impact of EMU on three regions: Central and Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, and the African CFA zone. Chapter 2 focuses on the trade and financial effects of EMU on selected transition and Mediterranean countries. And Chapter 3 considers the possible implications of EMU for the Middle East and North Africa region.

Ms. Françoise Le Gall, Ms. L. Effie Psalida, Mr. Pietro Garibaldi, Mr. Julian Berengaut, Mr. Jerald A Schiff, Ms. Kerstin Westin, Mr. Augusto López-Claros, Mr. Richard E Stern, and Mr. Dennis Jones

Abstract

Are the three Baltic countries, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, ready for accession to the European Union? Have their economies overcome the problems of transition? The answers to these questions and their implications for policy are provided in this collection of analyses. Rather than a country-by-country description, the volume provides a cross-country perspective of developments from 1994 through mid-1997. The seven sections of this paper discuss recent macroeconomic and structural policies, exchange rate regimes, fiscal issues, financial systems, private sector development, and accession to the European Union.

Mr. Barry J. Eichengreen, Ms. Inci Ötker, Mr. A. J Hamann, Mr. Esteban Jadresic, Mr. R. B. Johnston, Mr. Hugh Bredenkamp, and Mr. Paul R Masson

Abstract

In a world of increasing capital mobility and broadening and more diversified trade, many (but not all) developing and transition economies are likely to find it desirable to move from relatively fixed exchange rate regimes to regimes of greater exchange rate flexibility. This paper suggests why, and considers strategies that countries may consider for such a move. It reinforces this discussion with a review of experience from teh past two decades with alternative exchange rate regimes. The paper also identifies policies that can facilitate the transition to greater exchange rate flexibility for countries that wish to pursue this option.

Mr. Piero Ugolini

Abstract

Poland was the first centrally planned economy in Eastern Europe to leave the Soviet bloc and introduce systemic reforms in all sectors of the economy. The transformation of the National Bank from a monobank to an institution of a market-based system and the Polish financial sector into a market-oriented banking system was an important element of the reform process and received strong support from the IMF and the international community. This paper describes the steps taken by the National Bank, analyzes the monetary situation, and makes recommendations.