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Patrick Blagrave
Co-movement (synchronicity) in inflation rates among a set of 13 emerging and developing countries in Asia is shown to be strongest for the food component, partly due to common rainfall shocks—a result which the paper terms the ‘monsoon effect.’ Economies with higher trade integration and co-movement in nominal effective exchange rates also experience greater food-inflation co-movement. By contrast, cross-country co-movement in core inflation is weak and the aforementioned determinants have little explanatory power, suggesting a prominent role for idiosyncratic domestic factors in driving core inflation. In the context of the growing literature on the globalization of inflation, these results suggest that common weather patterns are partly responsible for any role played by a so-called ‘global factor’ among inflation rates in emerging and developing economies, in Asia at least.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper examines the impact of key structural fiscal reforms on growth and other macro variables in Thailand. The study simulates the impact of: a public infrastructure push; labor market policies, including an increase in the pensionable age and in provision of childcare services; and a change in the composition of taxes from income taxes to value added tax to shed light on the desired composition of additional taxes to be levied in the longer term. The results indicate that structural reforms enabling higher infrastructure investment, stronger labor participation, and more efficient taxation can raise growth significantly and contribute to addressing domestic and external imbalances.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

A speech delivered by the IMF's Managing Director Christine Lagarde at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) as part of the Institute's Europe Lecture Series in Berlin, Germany, on March 26, 2018.

Valentin F. Lang and Ms. Marina Mendes Tavares
We study economic globalization as a multidimensional process and investigate its effect on incomes. In a panel of 147 countries during 1970-2014, we apply a new instrumental variable, exploiting globalization’s geographically diffusive character, and find differential gains from globalization both across and within countries: Income gains are substantial for countries at early and medium stages of the globalization process, but the marginal returns diminish as globalization rises, eventually becoming insignificant. Within countries, these gains are concentrated at the top of national income distributions, resulting in rising inequality. We find that domestic policies can mitigate the adverse distributional effects of globalization.
Ms. Kimberly Beaton, Aliona Cebotari, Xiaodan Ding, and Andras Komaromi
The paper applies a network analysis framework to analyze the regional and global integration of Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries. We compare network-based measures of trade integration to conventional measures, decomposing integration along several dimensions to better understand the sources of trade connectivity and their impact on growth. The paper finds that LAC countries are relatively well integrated in terms of links to diversified markets, but the strength of those links is weak. Comparing trade integration to predictions from gravity models, we find many LAC countries have significant scope to improve connectivity and increase their roles in regional and world trade networks.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Cluster Report explores opportunities for trade integration in the Latin America and the Caribbean region. It finds that the region can reap significant growth benefits from further trade integration. With trade integration below that of other regions, there is scope for Latin America and the Caribbean to increase trade as an engine of growth to help offset the weaker economic outlook without damage to overall income inequality. There is potential to enhance both inter- and intraregional trade integration, but renewed political momentum within the region in support of greater trade openness could do much to further intraregional trade integration in particular.
Ms. Kimberly Beaton, Aliona Cebotari, and Andras Komaromi
We revisit the relationship between international trade, economic growth and inequality with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. The paper combines two approaches: First, we employ a cross-country panel framework to analyze the macroeconomic effects of international trade on economic growth and inequality considering the strength of trade connections as well as characteristics of countries’ export markets and products. Second, we consider event studies of past episodes of trade liberalization to extract general lessons on the impact of trade liberalization on economic growth and its structure and inequality. Both approaches consistently point to two broad messages: First, trade openness and connectivity to the center of the trade network has substantial macroeconomic benefits. Second, we do not find a statistically significant or economically sizable direct impact of trade on overall income inequality.
Eric Monnet and Mr. Damien Puy
This paper assesses the strength of business cycle synchronization between 1950 and 2014 in a sample of 21 countries using a new quarterly dataset based on IMF archival data. Contrary to the common wisdom, we find that the globalization period is not associated with more output synchronization at the global level. The world business cycle was as strong during Bretton Woods (1950-1971) than during the Globalization period (1984-2006). Although globalization did not affect the average level of co-movement, trade and financial integration strongly affect the way countries co-move with the rest of the world. We find that financial integration de-synchronizes national outputs from the world cycle, although the magnitude of this effect depends crucially on the type of shocks hitting the world economy. This de-synchronizing effect has offset the synchronizing impact of other forces, such as increased trade integration.