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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: Women Workers Wanted in Japan

By IMFBlog November 21, 2017 Version in 日本語 (Japanese) A Japanese mother works at home with her child. Encouraging women to take on full time work and have children would help boost growth in Japan (photo: iStock by Getty Images). Problem: Japan is the most aged society among advanced economies (almost 27 percent of its people are over 65). It also faces a shortage of labor (unemployment is just 2.8 percent). Both limit the country’s growth potential. Solution: Encourage women to...

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Climate Change Will Bring More Frequent Natural Disasters & Weigh on Economic Growth

by Sebastian Acevedo, and Natalija Novta November 16, 2017 As natural disasters become more frequent and intense, countries should invest in resilient infrastructure to better withstand such hazards (photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Newscom). The weather seems to be getting wilder and fiercer. From devastating hurricanes in the U.S. and the Caribbean, to raging wildfires in California and ruinous floods in India, the human and economic toll of extreme weather events is enormous. Each time...

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Roads or Schools: A Critical Tradeoff

By Manoj Atolia, Bin Grace Li, Ricardo Marto, and Giovanni Melina November 9, 2017  Low-income countries tend to spend less on schools than on roads as a share of GDP (photo: iStock by Getty Images). Roads or schools? It’s a question akin to the “guns or butter” choice that governments around the world confronted in the 20th century: How to spend a nation’s finite resources to produce the maximum benefit for its people. In our recent IMF Working Paper, we find that low-income...

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Understanding and Managing Financial Interdependence

By Maurice Obstfeld November 8, 2017 The 18th Annual Jacques Polak Annual Research Conference last week opened with Managing Director Christine Lagarde noting the ebb and flow of capital movements into emerging market and developing economies since the turn of the millennium. She asked three questions at the heart of the discussion, and to which speakers returned consistently during the conference: How do advanced-country policies feed into global financial conditions? How are those...

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Catch-Up Prospects in Emerging Economies: A Glass One Quarter Empty

By IMFBlog November 6, 2017 A closer look at per capita incomes by country paints a different and more nuanced picture (Pavel1964/iStock photos). Per capita incomes in emerging market and developing economies are expected to grow by about 2 percentage points faster per year than advanced economies between 2017 and 2022. The implication is that the gap in income levels between the two groups of countries is narrowing. However, a closer look at per capita incomes by country paints a...

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More Action Needed to Resolve Problem Loans in the Caribbean

By Kimberly Beaton and Inci Otker October 31, 2017 The global financial crisis has left high levels of problem loans in the Caribbean (image: William Potter/iStock by Getty Images). The global financial crisis and subsequent economic recession saddled banks in the Caribbean with high levels of problem loans. The share of nonperforming loans to total loans more than tripled in many Caribbean countries from 2007 to 2016, and they have been slow to come down. Problem loans (loans that are...

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Understanding the Global Financial Cycle

By Maurice Obstfeld and Mahvash S. Qureshi The boom and bust in cross-border capital flows around the global financial crisis, and in its aftermath, have rekindled debates on the existence and implications of a “global financial cycle.” The traditional open-economy (“Mundell-Fleming”) model postulates that countries face a “trilemma”: a trade-off among the objectives of exchange rate stability, free capital mobility, and independent monetary policy. If a country chooses exchange rate...

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Cyber Defense Must Be Global

By Emanuel Kopp, Lincoln Kaffenberger, and Christopher Wilson October 26, 2017 Versions in Español (Spanish) Cyber risk has no geographical borders, and the threat is global, so the role of international institutions is crucial (solarseven/iStock by Getty Images). Cyberattacks on financial institutions are becoming more common and considerably more sophisticated. High-profile cases like the Equifax breach, which compromised the confidentiality of 143 million Americans’ credit...

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Time to Act Now: It’s All About the Right Policy Mix

By IMFBlog (photo: flyparade/iStock) "The road ahead is not an easy one,’’ the IMF’s Executive Directors wrote after the IMF’s first ever Annual meeting in 1946.’’ We do not underestimate the difficulties facing us.’’ More than 70 years later, we’ve encountered many a storm across continents from the Latin American sovereign debt crisis to the Savings and Loans crisis to the Asian crisis. And then there was the global financial crisis of 2008. Nine years later, the outlook is finally...

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Inequality: Fiscal Policy Can Make the Difference

By Vitor Gaspar and Mercedes Garcia-Escribano  October 11, 2017 Versions in عربي (Arabic),  Español (Spanish), Русский (Russian) Wealth and poverty side-by-side in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: inequality is rising within countries around the world (photo: Jean-Marc David/SIPA/Newscom).  Income inequality among people around the world has been declining in recent decades. This is due to countries like China and India’s incomes catching-up to advanced economies. But the news is not all good....

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