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José Abad
Following the COVID shock, supervisors encouraged banks to use capital buffers to support the recovery. However, banks have been reluctant to do so. Provided the market expects a bank to rebuild its buffers, any draw-down will open up a capital shortfall that will weigh on its share price. Therefore, a bank will only decide to use its buffers if the value creation from a larger loan book offsets the costs associated with a capital shortfall. Using market expectations, we calibrate a framework for assessing the usability of buffers. Our results suggest that the cases in which the use of buffers make economic sense are rare in practice.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The pandemic is inflicting much suffering, which has been met with swift, substantial, and well-coordinated policy responses. The anti-crisis measures have helped preserve jobs, provide liquidity to companies and income support to the vulnerable groups. They averted a larger decline in output and kept unemployment under control. After contracting by 5.5 percent in 2020, real GDP is projected to grow by 3.9 percent in 2021 and 4.5 percent in 2022, as vaccinations help achieve herd immunity. However, risks to the outlook are large and tilted to the downside, given the epidemiological situation.
Florian Misch, Mr. Brian Olden, Mr. Marcos Poplawski Ribeiro, and Lamya Kejji
Traditionally, fiscal data for policy analysis are derived from official reports that, depending on the country, are published either monthly, quarterly or annually, often with significant time lags. However, innovations in digitalization of government payments and accounting systems mean that real-time daily fiscal data exist in many countries. In this paper, we argue that these data contain valuable, but underutilized and underexploited information. Possible uses include (i) realtime fiscal surveillance which allows for much more timely responses to emerging signs of fiscal stress, and (ii) nowcasting economic activity, which is especially useful in countries where higher frequency GDP statistics are unavailable.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
This paper discusses key findings and recommendations of the Technical Assistance report on establishing a spending review process in Slovenia. Slovenia’s fragile fiscal situation requires further consolidation to ensure that the upward trajectory of public debt does not threaten long-term fiscal sustainability. Spending in the education sector is the fourth-highest spending level. Spending pressures also need to be explicitly identified, quantified, and included in the spending review to better inform the government’s decision making process. There is also a need to update existing performance information associated with government expenditure programs to ensure that more meaningful information focused on achieving desired outcomes is developed to better inform future reviews.
International Monetary Fund
In light of the multilateral effort to ensure the adequacy of the financial resources available to the International Monetary Fund (the “Fund”), and with a view to supporting the Fund’s ability to provide timely and effective balance of payments assistance to its members, the Bank of Slovenia agrees to lend to the Fund an SDR-denominated amount up to the equivalent of EUR 280 million, on the terms and conditions set out in this paper.
Adam Leive
This paper exploits the staggered adoption of major concurrent health reforms in countries in Europe and Central Asia after 1990 to estimate their impact on public health expenditure, utilization, and avoidable deaths. While the health systems all derived from the same paradigm under central planning, they have since introduced changes to policies regarding cost-sharing, provider payment, financing, and the rationalization of hospital infrastructure. Social health insurance is predicted to increase this share, although the leads of both social health insurance and primary care fee-for-service suggest endogeneity may be an issue with the outpatient share regressions. Provider payment reforms produce the largest impact on spending, with fee-for-service increasing spending and patient-based payment reducing it. The impact on avoidable deaths is generally negligible, but there is some evidence of improvements due to fee-for-service. Considering the corresponding relative reduction in inpatient admissions and the incentives fee-for-service provides to deliver additional services, perhaps there is an overprovision of services in the primary care setting and an underutilization of more specialized hospital services.
Mia Pavesic-Skerlep and Mr. Eivind Tandberg
This paper aims to clarify possible systemic bottlenecks to the introduction of advanced PFM reforms in the SEE countries. It relates key fiscal developments to PFM reform processes over the last 15 years. PFM reform strategies must be realistic, with clear objectives and timetables, and with strong country ownership. Among the advanced reforms, some aspects of medium-term budgeting seems to be somewhat less challenging than performance-oriented budgeting, and it could be rational to make sure that there is solid progress in this area first. When developing performance budgets, countries should consider focusing initial efforts on the areas that are most suitable for performance management, such as education and health.
International Monetary Fund
The first analysis focuses on external stability, an important issue in view of Croatia’s external imbalances and the requirements of the IMF’s 2007 Decision on Bilateral Surveillance. The paper shows that the real exchange rate is broadly in line with economic fundamentals and that external debt dynamics are sustainable as long as macroeconomic policies remain strong. The second analysis finds significant inefficiencies in Croatia’s social spending. It also discusses several reform measures to reduce inefficiencies in public spending and generate budgetary savings to reduce the general government deficit.
Ms. Victoria Gunnarsson and Mr. Etibar Jafarov
This paper assesses the relative efficiency of government spending on health care and education in Croatia by using the so-called Data Envelopment Analysis. The analysis finds evidence of significant inefficiencies in Croatia's spending on health care and education, related to inadequate cost recovery, weaknesses in the financing mechanisms and institutional arrangements, weak competition in the provision of these services, and weaknesses in targeting public subsidies on health care and education. These inefficiencies suggest that government spending on health and education could be reduced without undue sacrifices in the quality of these services. The paper identifies ways to do that.