We provide broad-based evidence of a firm size premium of total factor productivity (TFP) growth in Europe after the Global Financial Crisis. The TFP growth of smaller firms was more adversely affected and diverged from their larger counterparts after the crisis. The impact was progressively larger for medium, small, and micro firms relative to large firms. It was also disproportionally larger for firms with limited credit market access. Moreover, smaller firms were less likely to have access to safer banks: those that were better capitalized banks and with a presence in the credit default swap market. Horseraces suggest that firm size may be a more important and robust vulnerability indicator than balance sheet characteristics. Our results imply that the tightening of credit market conditions during the crisis, coupled with limited credit market access especially among micro, small, and medium firms, may have contributed to the large and persistent drop in aggregate TFP.
Although GDP growth in the Netherlands has recently been stronger than in peer countries, the main contributor has been the growth in labor. If GDP is divided by labor, productivity growth appears to have been slower than in peers. This chapter discusses both exogenous and endogenous factors behind the disappointing productivity growth in the Netherlands and derives policy implications.
The aim of this paper is to examine selected issues related to Latvia’s economic development. Latvia experienced a large macroeconomic adjustment in the aftermath of the crisis in 2007. The adjustment was characterized by internal devaluation via a combination of wage restraint and productivity gains. Latvia’s creditless recovery has taken unusually long to turn compared to international experience. Although lack of credit has not undermined recovery so far, support from the financial sector will be crucial for its continuation going forward. Emphasis on resuscitating credit growth is key to maintaining recovery. Focus should be on facilitating access to credit for small- and medium-sized enterprises and first-time borrowers, where market failures are the largest.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper discusses prospects for potential growth, house prices, household debt, and financial stability risks, and tax policy reforms in New Zealand. Despite having world-class institutions and strong policy framework, income levels remain low relative to other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. During 1980–2014, per capita income levels have remained about 20 percent below the OECD's average income. Longstanding structural issues need to be addressed to boost potential growth. House prices and household debt have increased rapidly in New Zealand over the past two decades. New Zealand's low national saving rate is a source of vulnerability and likely contributes to the relatively high interest rates needed to attract foreign capital.
This paper studies the Swedish fiscal consolidation episode of the 1990s through the lens of a small open economy model with distortionary taxation and unemployment. We argue that the simultaneous reduction in the fiscal deficit and unemployment rate in this episode stems from two factors: (i) high growth rates of total factor productivity (TFP), experienced after the implementation of structural reforms; and (ii) a sustained wage restraint that occurred during the 1990s. The model simulations show that economic growth, accounted for mostly by TFP gains, improved the fiscal balance by 8 percentage points of GDP through an expansion of the tax base and fiscal revenues. Moreover, the combination of stable wages and higher TFP boosted net exports and led to a reduction in the unemployment rate. A counterfactual simulation assuming stagnant TFP shows that fiscal consolidation measures alone would have generated a double-digit unemployment rate without eliminating the fiscal deficit.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes structural shocks, productivity, and growth in Finland. Finland has gone from being a top-performing advanced economy to a growth laggard since 2007. The rapid decline of the (previously) high productivity information and communications technology sector in recent years has weighed on overall growth and productivity. An analysis of industry-level data indicates that shifts in the sectoral distribution of labor and capital toward lower productivity sectors are also contributing to slower aggregate productivity growth. Firm-level analysis suggests that the aggregate total factor productivity impact of reallocating resources within sectors is limited, although there is more scope to reallocate resources between sectors.
This Selected Issues paper on Finland discusses that the country is struggling to recover from the Great Recession, indicating that deeper, structural issues may be holding back growth. Estimates of potential output for Finland are an important part of the toolkit for policymakers—but they come with a degree of uncertainty. As this paper illustrates, the use of different methodologies and assumptions can lead to different results. However, there are indications that Finnish potential output growth is low at this juncture. From 1997 to 2007, potential growth, independent of the choice of smoothing, averages 3.2 percent per year. In 2013, that average has dropped to 0.2 with several of the models producing negative growth. This result indicates that the lack of a recovery in Finland is largely structural in nature. Therefore, any indication that the output gap is closing is due to falling potential rather than a pickup in growth. This leads to the advantages of structural reforms aiming to enhance Finland’s long-term capacity. Total factor productivity enhancing measures could be crucial in helping the economy recover despite the time it takes to implement them.
This Selected Issues paper examines external developments and competitiveness in France. Over the past decade, the current account has deteriorated from a surplus of 1.2 percent of GDP in 2002 to a deficit of about 2.3 percent in 2012, as France lost ground in goods trade and services recorded just a slight increase in global market shares. The slight improvement of the trade deficit seen in 2012 may suggest a change in trend, although it is still too early to determine. Past deterioration in export performance points to competitiveness weaknesses, rooted in significant rigidities in labor and product markets.
Portugal’s economy is in deep recession, and the crisis has opened up a large output gap, with severe consequences for employment and government revenue. While the focus is on the medium- and long-term, this analysis also offers insights on how deep the output gap is. It also highlights ways in which policies and reforms can promote growth over the longer haul and suggests that achieving a 2-percent growth rate over the long term—consistent with moderate convergence growth—is a realistic objective.
The European Union’s (EU) financial stability framework is being markedly strengthened. This is taking place on the heels of a severe financial crisis owing to weaknesses in the banking system interrelated with sovereign difficulties in the euro area periphery. Important progress has been made in designing an institutional framework to secure microeconomic and macroprudential supervision at the EU level, but this new set-up faces a number of challenges. Developments regarding the financial stability may assist in the continuing evolution of the European financial stability architecture.