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iMFdirect
iMFdirect features views by IMF economists and officials about pressing issues in the global economy. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF and its Executive Board.

iMFdirect

Chart of the Week: High Hurdles for Trade in Services

By IMFBlog September 25, 2017 A shop window in Stockholm, Sweden: 62 % of jobs in the country are in the services sector (photo: Bob Strong/Reuters/Newscom). The service sector accounts for some two-thirds of economic activity, and roughly the same share of jobs around the world. And yet the barriers to trade in services—from banking to online consultations with doctors or engineers—remain high. The barriers come in the form of policies that restrict a country’s suppliers, both...

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Structural Reforms Give Biggest Help To Lagging Countries

By Angana Banerji and Christian Ebeke September 22, 2017 Structural reforms can jumpstart productivity in countries with weaker initial productivity, and help them catch up with their peers (photo: The Palmer/iStock). Labor and product market reforms, which make economies more efficient, can benefit all countries. But they are especially helpful in jumpstarting productivity in countries where productivity is weaker. This is good news as it implies that reforms are one route through...

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Corruption in Latin America: Taking Stock

By  David Lipton, Alejandro Werner, Carlos Gonçalves September 21, 2017  Versions in Español (Spanish)  Português (Portuguese) Systemic corruption drains public resources and drags down economic growth (photo: People Images/iStock). Corruption continues to make headlines in Latin America. From a scheme to shelter assets leaked by documents in Panama, to the Petrobras and Odebrecht scandals that have spread beyond Brazil, to eight former Mexican state governors facing charges or being...

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Growth That Reaches Everyone: Facts, Factors, Tools

By Rupa Duttagupta, Stefania Fabrizio, Davide Furceri, and Sweta Saxena September 20, 2017 People lining up in front of a charity house in São Paulo, Brazil: Over 200 million people around the world are unemployed, despite overall economic growth (photo: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters/Newscom) Economic growth provides the basis for overcoming poverty and lifting living standards. But for growth to be sustained and inclusive, its benefits must reach all people. While strong economic growth is...

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Chart of the Week: Banking on Women—A Case for More

By IMFBlog September 19, 2017 Versions in  中文 (Chinese), Русский (Russian)  Worldwide, women hold less than 20 percent of board seats of banks and banking supervision agencies. More women on bank boards may have a positive effect on bank stability (photo: istocksdaily/iStock by Getty Images) The “glass ceiling” in finance has barely cracked. Compared to the available talent pool, there is still a large gap between the representation of men and women in leadership positions in banks...

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Drifting Apart: Income Convergence in the Euro Area

A souvenir shop in Lisbon, Portugal: Income convergence in the euro area has slowed (Photo: Rafael Marchante/REUTERS/Newscom) By Jeffrey Franks and Hanni Schölermann September 13, 2017 The experience of recent decades has challenged the prediction that the single currency would help differences in income levels across euro area countries narrow over time. This income convergence among the founding countries of the euro has not happened, prompting a need for further economic reforms....

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End of the Oil Age: Not Whether But When

By Reda Cherif, Fuad Hasanov, and Aasim M. Husain Filling up at a gas station in California: demand for oil could plummet with the rise of renewal energy (Xinhua/Newscom) A transportation revolution is underway that could completely transform the oil market in the coming decades. When oil prices suddenly halved from over $100 a barrel in 2014, our IMF study concluded that supply-side factors such as the emergence of shale and new technologies would be a key force keeping oil prices...

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Back-to-School Blogs

By IMFBlog September 5, 2017 Back to school in Paris, France: get caught up on our top blogs you may have missed over the summer (photo: LAURENT CHAMUSSY/SIPA/Newscom) What a summer it’s been. To help you get a handle on all that has happened in the global economy, our editors have compiled a handy primer of our blogs published over the summer months. A picture is worth a thousand words Off the Charts: Your Favorite 5 Charts Asia Aging Japan Puts a Strain on the Financial System...

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The Benefits and Costs of a U.S. Tax Cut

By Sandra Lizarazo, Adrian Peralta-Alva, and Damien Puy September 1, 2017 A recent IMF paper looks at the effects of lowering personal income tax rates on income distribution and the U.S. economy (photo: Ingram Publishing/Newscom) U.S. lawmakers getting ready to rewrite the nation’s tax code have a fundamental question to answer: What are the priorities for tax reform? Do you want faster growth? Less income inequality? A tax cut that doesn’t increase the budget deficit? In a recent...

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Global Cooperation—An Uphill Battle: Finance & Development magazine

By Camilla Lund Andersen August 30, 2017 As access to information burgeons, experts are more crucial than ever This issue of F&D looks at what is arguably the clearest challenge the world faces: how to address complex global problems amid growing skepticism about the benefits of multilateralism and continued global integration. Ten years after the global financial crisis, voter dissatisfaction with rising inequality and lack of meaningful jobs has led some countries to focus on...

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