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  • Author: Maciej Kotowski
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the formation of production and trading networks in an economy with general interdependencies and complex property rights. The right to exclude,a core tenet of property, grants asset owners a form of monopoly power that influences granular economic interactions. Equilibrium networks reflect the distribution of these ownership claims. Inefficient production networks may endure in equilibrium as firms multi-source to mitigate hold-up risk. Short supply chains also reduce this risk, but may preclude the production of complex goods. A generalized Top Trading Cycles algorithm, applicable to a production economy, identifies equilibrium outcomes in the model. Such outcomes can be decentralized via a price system.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, International Affairs, Intellectual Property/Copyright, National & provincial initiatives
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Ricardo Hausmann, Patricio Goldstein, Ana Grisanti, Tim O'Brien, Jorge Tapia, Miguel Ajgel Santos
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Jordan faces a number of pressing economic challenges: low growth, high unemployment, rising debt levels, and continued vulnerability to regional shocks. After a decade of fast economic growth, the economy decelerated with the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09. From then onwards, various external shocks have thrown its economy out of balance and prolonged the slowdown for over a decade now. Conflicts in neighboring countries have led to reduced demand from key export markets and cut off important trade routes. Foreign direct investment, which averaged 12.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) between 2003-2009, fell to 5.1% of GDP over the 2010-2017. Regional conflicts have interrupted the supply of gas from Egypt – forcing Jordan to import oil at a time of record prices, had a negative impact on tourism, and also provoked a massive influx of migrants and refugees. Failure to cope with 50.4% population growth between led to nine consecutive years (2008-2017) of negative growth rates in GDP per capita, resulting in a cumulative loss of 14.0% over the past decade (2009-2018). Debt to GDP ratios, which were at 55% by the end of 2009, have skyrocketed to 94%. Over the previous five years Jordan has undertaken a significant process of fiscal consolidation. The resulting reduction in fiscal impulse is among the largest registered in the aftermath of the Financial Crises, third only to Greece and Jamaica, and above Portugal and Spain. Higher taxes, lower subsidies, and sharp reductions in public investment have in turn furthered the recession. Within a context of lower aggregate demand, more consolidation is needed to bring debt-to-GDP ratios back to normal. The only way to break that vicious cycle and restart inclusive growth is by leveraging on foreign markets, developing new exports and attracting investments aimed at increasing competitiveness and strengthening the external sector. The theory of economic complexity provides a solid base to identify opportunities with high potential for export diversification. It allows to identify the existing set of knowhow, skills and capacities as signaled by the products and services that Jordan is able to make, and to define existing and latent areas of comparative advantage that can be developed by redeploying them. Service sectors have been growing in importance within the Jordanian economy and will surely play an important role in export diversification. In order to account for that, we have developed an adjusted framework that allows to identify the most attractive export sectors including services. Based on that adjusted framework, this report identifies export themes with a high potential to drive growth in Jordan while supporting increasing wage levels and delivering positive spillovers to the non-tradable economy. The general goal is to provide a roadmap with key elements of a strategy for Jordan to return to a high economic growth path that is consistent with its emerging comparative advantages.
  • Topic: Government, International Trade and Finance, Finance, Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jordan
  • Author: Arvind Subramanian, Josh Felman
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: We examine the pattern of growth in the 2010s. Standard explanations cannot account for the long slowdown, followed by a sharp collapse. Our explanation stresses both structural and cyclical factors, with finance as the distinctive, common element. In the immediate aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), two key drivers of growth decelerated. Export growth slowed sharply as world trade stagnated, while investment fell victim to a homegrown Balance Sheet crisis, which came in two waves. The first wave—the Twin Balance Sheet crisis, encompassing banks and infrastructure companies—arrived when the infrastructure projects started during India’s investment boom of the mid-2000s began to go sour. The economy nonetheless continued to grow, despite temporary, adverse demonetization and GST shocks, propelled first by income gains from the large fall in international oil prices, then by government spending and a non-bank financial company (NBFC)-led credit boom. This credit boom financed unsustainable real estate inventory accumulation, inflating a bubble that finally burst in 2019. Consequently, consumption too has now sputtered, causing growth to collapse. As a result, India is now facing a Four Balance Sheet challenge—the original two sectors, plus NBFCs and real estate companies—and is trapped in an adverse interest-growth dynamic, in which risk aversion is leading to high interest rates, depressing growth, and generating more risk aversion. Standard remedies are unavailable: monetary policy is stymied by a broken transmission mechanism; large fiscal stimulus will only push up already-high interest rates, worsening the growth dynamic. The traditional structural reform agenda—land and labour market measures—are important for the medium run but will not address the current problems. Addressing the Four Balance Sheet problem decisively will be critical to durably reviving growth. Raising agricultural productivity is also high priority. And even before that, a Data Big Bang is needed to restore trust and enable better policy design.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Economy, Global Political Economy, Economic growth, Global Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Jie Bai, Jiahua Liu
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: It is well known that various forms of non-tariff trade barriers exist within a country. Empirically, it is difficult to measure these barriers as they can take many forms. We take advantage of a nationwide VAT rebate policy reform in China as a natural experiment to identify the existence of these intranational barriers due to local protectionism and study the impact on exports and exporting firms. As a result of shifting tax rebate burden, the reform leads to a greater incentive of the provincial governments to block the domestic flow of non-local goods to local export intermediaries. We develop an open-economy heterogenous firm model that incorporates multiple domestic regions and multiple exporting technologies, including the intermediary sector. Consistent with the model’s predictions, we find that rising local protectionism leads to a reduction in interprovincial trade, more “inward-looking” sourcing behavior of local intermediaries, and a reduction in manufacturing exports. Analysis using micro firm-level data further shows that private companies with greater baseline reliance on export intermediaries are more adversely affected.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Reform, Tariffs
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jie Bai, Panle Barwick, Shengmao Cao, Shanjun Li
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Are quid pro quo (technology for market access) policies effective in facilitating knowledge spillover to developing countries? We study this question in the context of the Chinese automobile industry where foreign firms are required to set up joint ventures with domestic firms in return for market access. Using a unique dataset of detailed quality measures along multiple dimensions of vehicle performance, we document empirical patterns consistent with knowledge spillovers through both ownership affiliation and geographical proximity: joint ventures and Chinese domestic firms with ownership or location linkage tend to specialize in similar quality dimensions. The identification primarily relies on within-product variation across quality dimensions and the results are robust to a variety of specifications. The pattern is not driven by endogenous joint-venture network formation, overlapping customer base, or learning by doing considerations. Leveraging additional micro datasets on part suppliers and worker flow, we document that supplier network and labor mobility are important channels in mediating knowledge spillovers. However, these channels are not tied to ownership affiliations. Finally, we calibrate a simple learning model and conduct policy counterfactuals to examine the role of quid pro quo. Our findings show that ownership affiliation facilitates learning but quality improvement is primarily driven by the other mechanisms.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Developing World
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jie Bai, Ludovica Gazze, Yukun Wang
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Collective reputation implies an important externality. Among firms trading internationally, quality shocks about one firm’s products could affect the demand of other firms from the same origin country. We study this issue in the context of a large-scale scandal that affected the Chinese dairy industry in 2008. Leveraging rich firm-product level administrative data and official quality inspection reports, we find that the export revenue of contaminated firms dropped by 84% after the scandal, relative to the national industrial trend, and the spillover effect on non-contaminated firms is measured at 64% of the direct effect. Notably, firms deemed innocent by government inspections did not fare any better than noninspected firms. These findings highlight the importance of collective reputation in international trade and the challenges governments might face in signaling quality and restoring trust. Finally, we investigate potential mechanisms that could mediate the strength of the reputation spillover. We find that the spillover effects are smaller in destinations where people have better information about parties involved in the scandal. New firms are more vulnerable to the collective reputation damage than established firms. Supply chain structure matters especially in settings where firms are less vertically integrated and exhibit fragmented upstream-downstream relationships.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, Business , Global Political Economy, Accountability
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Dani Rodrik
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: In a world economy that is highly integrated, most policies produce effects across the border. This is often believed to be an argument for greater global governance, but the logic requires scrutiny. There remains strong revealed demand for policy and institutional diversity among nations, rooted in differences in historical, cultural, or development trajectories. The canonical case for global governance is based on two set of circumstances. The first occurs when there is global public good (GPG) and the second under “beggar-thy-neighbor” (BTN) policies. However, the world economy is not a global commons, and virtually no economic policy has the nature of a global public good (or bad). And while there are some important BTN policies, much of our current discussions deal with policies that are not true BTNs. The policy failures that exist arise not from weaknesses of global governance, but from distortions of domestic governance. As a general rule, these domestic failures cannot be fixed through international agreements or multilateral cooperation. The paper closes by discussing an alternative model of global governance called “democracy-enhancing global governance.”
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Governance, Global Political Economy, Trade Wars
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, Global Markets
  • Author: Nathan Converse, Eduardo Levy Yeyati, Tomas Williams
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since the early 2000s exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have grown to become an important in- vestment vehicle worldwide. In this paper, we study how their growth affects the sensitivity of international capital flows to the global financial cycle. We combine comprehensive fund- level data on investor flows with a novel identification strategy that controls for unobservable time-varying economic conditions at the investment destination. For dedicated emerging mar- ket funds, we find that the sensitivity of investor flows to global financial conditions for equity (bond) ETFs is 2.5 (2.25) times higher than for equity (bond) mutual funds. In turn, we show that in countries where ETFs hold a larger share of financial assets, total cross-border equity flows and prices are significantly more sensitive to global financial conditions. We conclude that the growing role of ETFs as a channel for international capital flows amplifies the global financial cycle in emerging markets.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy, Capital Flows, Mutual Funds
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, Global Markets
  • Author: Chanya Punyakumpol
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Is there a doctrine of 'stare decisis' in international trade and international investment law? From a positive law perspective, the answer is a definite no. However, as many scholars have observed, in practice, there has been a strong level of deference from the Appellate Body to its previous rulings, but less so from investment tribunals. Using social network analysis to assess actual citations from the Appellate Body Reports and investment arbitrations from the inception to the current time, this paper examines the evolution and 'status quo' of citation networks in international trade and international investment arbitrations. It asks, not only whether there is a 'de facto' rule of precedent in the two regimes, but also when it occurs and how the development links with the institutional design of dispute settlement. The results show how the doctrine of 'stare decisis' diverges in international trade and international investment, as well as the importance of institutional design in shaping and constraining the behaviors of tribunals.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Law, Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Joost Pauwelyn, Weiwei Zhangb
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Conventional wisdom has it that, in recent years, the legalized mechanism of dispute settlement before the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been “busier than ever”, “a victim of its own success”. This paper uses count data to assess the WTO’s current caseload and examines how it has evolved since the WTO’s creation in 1995. We also forecast panel and Appellate Body (AB) caseload ten years from now using different scenarios. WTO dispute settlement does, indeed, currently experience a peak in terms of the total number of cases pending before panels and the AB (as of 30 April 2018, respectively, 18 and 8). However, this is not due to an increase in new cases filed (new consultation requests markedly reduced, from a high of 50 in 1997 to “only” 17 in 2017), but rather because pending cases take much longer to conclude as they have become more complex and are often delayed for lack of human resources. In addition, fewer cases filed get formally settled (from 20% in the first five years of the WTO to almost zero after 2014), appeal rates remain very high (on average 68%), and the share of follow-up disputes over compliance (DSU Art. 21.5) has markedly increased, all three factors leading to more (pending) caseload without actually more (new) cases filed, or more panel or AB reports issued (the number of reports produced per year has actually gone down, dropping from a peak of 26 panel reports and 13 AB reports in 2000, to “only” 13 panel reports and 6 Appellate Body reports in 2017).
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Switzerland, Global Focus
  • Author: Michal Ovádek, Ines Willemynsa
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Relative to the study of free trade agreements, customs unions (CUs) have been neglected in international law scholarship, despite the fact that by no means do they constitute a recent phenomenon. The present article aims to fill this gap by conducting a scoping analysis of the concept of customs union and identifying key issues in CU designs. The article problematizes what is understood by the concept of CU and what is entailed by the foremost definition of CUs, found in Article XXIV of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). It further investigates how recurrent design issues are resolved in practice by different CUs considering the inherent tension between the enactment of common rules and institutions and state sovereignty. We find variety in the historical, economic and legal conceptualizations of CUs, flexibility and lacunas in Article XXIV GATT, and diversity of CU designs along with a discernible concern for the legal arrangements’ impact on state sovereignty.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy, Unions
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Amalie Giødesen Thystrup
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: United Nations' 2030 Sustainable Development Goals' SDG 5 places gender equality front and centre for sustainable development. The Joint Declaration on Trade and Women's Economic Empowerment on the Occasion of the WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December 2017 brings gender equality to the forefront of trade policy. In the intersection of trade policy and digital technologies, this paper examines how electronic commerce can work towards gender equality, filling a knowledge gap about gender-inclusive governance. Legal-empirical analysis of key regulatory and policy challenges facing women in e-commerce, and identification of vehicles for gender equality at the regional and multilateral level are followed by policy options for promoting women participation in e-commerce. The paper presents a framework for understanding the multiplicity of gender gaps as they manifest themselves in e-commerce models, suggesting potential but also concerns, and advances a multi-level approach to incorporating gender-inclusive e-commerce regulation into trade policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, International Trade and Finance, Women, Digital Economy, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Davide Rigo
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: This paper uses the World Bank's Enterprise Surveys as a sample of 18 developing and emerging economies to investigate the causal relationship between global value chains and the transfer of technology to manufacturing firms in developing nations. It focuses on one specific channel for technology transfer, namely the licensing of foreign technology. By using a propensity score matching difference-in-differences technique, I show that there is a positive and causal impact of being involved in complex international activities (i.e. being a two-way trader) on the licensing of technology. Importantly, domestic firms becoming two-way traders are more likely to acquire foreign-licensed technology than domestic firms starting to either export or import. These findings suggest that the complexity associated with the trading activity determines whether or not foreign technology is licensed.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, World Bank, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Vandana Gyanchandani
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Three methodologies are used to enforce labour and environmental commitments in the US and EU trade agreements: cooperative, sanctions and composite. In-depth analysis of the scope of commitments, level of protection, institutional framework as well as types of informal and formal dispute processes elucidates the pros and cons of such methodologies. Sanctions approach weakens cooperation by misjudging the complexity of domestic policy adjustments through transnational governance. Cooperative mechanism within the NAAEC's composite design emerges as the best approach: Submission on Enforcement Matters (SEM). As it provides for an independent secretariat supported by civil society group and factual records as a sunshine remedy to review citizen submissions. However, the process is constrained by political clout, lack of managerial capacity and legal dilemmas around informal lawmaking (IN-LAW) procedures.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues, Sustainable Development Goals, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus, European Union
  • Author: Leonardo Borlinia, Francesco Montanaro
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: This article examines the recent evolution of the EU anti-money-laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) legislative framework, focusing on the relationship between the main international standards in the field and the newest EU legislation. It suggests that international soft law norms—in particular, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations—have had a decisive influence on the latest development of legislation at the EU level and within its member states. It further argues that mainly the preventive component of the AML/CTF legislation will be strengthened by the EU instruments adopted in mid-2015. However, this Article concludes that the adoption of global soft standards has posed significant challenges to the EU legislative framework. The arguments are developed in four parts. The Article first highlights the main regulatory prescriptions that stem from the study of the phenomenology and the economics of AML/CTF regulation and underpin the current international regulatory paradigm. Second, it explores the evolution of the main international instruments in the field with a special focus on the role played by the FATF Recommendations. It also illustrates the relation between these instruments and the adoption of the new EU AML/CTF legislation from two different, but complementary, angles: (1) noting that the current international AML/CTF framework has a multidisciplinary approach, the Article focuses on the framework's repressive component and assessing the limits of the EU criminal approach against money laundering and terrorist financing; and (2) examining the recent EU preventive legislation and addressing the main challenges posed to the EU legislative framework when attempting to accommodate global standards, especially regarding tensions with fundamental freedoms and human rights protected within the EU.
  • Topic: Corruption, Crime, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Law, Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Yi Huang, Chen Lin, Sibo Liu, Heiwai Tang
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: On March 22, 2018, Trump proposed to impose tariffs on up to $50 billion of Chinese imports leading to a significant concern over the "Trade War" between the US and China. We evaluate the market responses to this event for firms in both countries, depending on their direct and indirect exposures to US-China trade. US firms that are more dependent on exports to and imports from China have lower stock and bond returns but higher default risks in the short time window around the announcement date. We also find that firms' indirect exposure to US-China trade through domestic input-output linkages affects their responses to the announcement. These findings suggest that the structure of US-China trade is much more complex than the simplistic view of global trade that engendered Trump's "Trade War" against China.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy, Trade Wars, Exports
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Pamela Anne Bayona, Vincent Martin Beyer, Olayinka Oladeji
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Trade-Restrictive Measures (TRM) are an area of huge concern to importers and exporters in African Union Least Developed Countries (AU LDCs) located in Sub-Saharan Africa. This report identifies and analyses discriminatory government policies that adversely affect AU LDCs over the period 2009 to 2017 by using the Global Trade Alert database, a database that collects information on trade-discriminatory measures implemented by countries worldwide. The research by the students shows that the most frequently encountered TRM types are import tariff measures, tax-based export incentives, trade finance measures, public procurement localisation and export taxes. However, the Global Trade Alert excludes Technical Barriers to Trade and Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures that are formally justifiable as serving public interests, but are typically the most commonly cited as the biggest obstacles to trade. The report also provides policy recommendations and negotiation positions to the AU LDC Countries to move from a defensive trade agenda to an offensive one.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Developing World, Global Political Economy, Free Trade
  • Political Geography: Africa, African Union
  • Author: B.I.B. Kargbo
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: The Sierra Leone economy is a net importer with a chronic negative balance of trade. Imports as a percentage of GDP averaged 40.8% between 2001 and 2010. Imports of food, mineral fuels and lubricants accounted for 50.8% of the total value of imports within the same period. Also, the value of the leone depreciated from Le 920.75 in 1996 to Le 4,000 in 2010 while inflation averaged 12.6% for the same period. As a result of the interplay of these forces, fuel prices are most times adjusted upwards to compensate for the depreciation of the leone against the dollar or to match up with increases in the world price of crude oil. This study determines the effects of monetary environment as well as exchange rate movement and petroleum prices on domestic prices in Sierra Leone by estimating a hybrid model of inflation in which inflation responds to its own lags, lags of other variables, and a set of error-correction terms that represent short run disequilibria from the money market, external sector and output that feed into the inflation process.The empirical results from the parsimonious model show that petroleum product prices and exchange rate, as well as monetary factors determine inflation in Sierra Leone.What is also significant from the findings is that the contribution of petroleum prices to domestic price formation is unfounded in the long run, meaning that it is only a short-run phenomenon. The results also support the view that a fair portion of fluctuations in domestic prices is driven by its own shocks.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Economic growth, Inflation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sierra Leone
  • Author: Mayra Buvinic, Megan O'Donnell
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A review of the recent evaluation evidence on financial services and training interventions questions their gender neutrality and suggests that some design features in these interventions can yield more positive economic outcomes for women than for men. These include features in savings and ‘Graduation’ programs that increase women’s economic self-reliance and self-control, and the practice of repeated micro borrowing that increases financial risk-taking and choice. ‘Smart’ design also includes high quality business management and jobs skills training, and stipends and other incentives in these training programs that address women’s additional time burdens and childcare demands. Peer support may also help to increase financial risk taking and confidence in business decisions, and may augment an otherwise negligible impact of financial literacy training. These features help women overcome gender-related constraints. However, when social norms are too restrictive, and women are prevented from doing any paid work, no design will be smart enough. Subjective economic empowerment appears to be an important intermediate outcome for women that should be promoted and more reliably and accurately measured. More research is also needed on de-biasing service provision, which can be gender biased; lastly, whenever possible, results should be sex-disaggregated and reported for individuals as well as households.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Liliana Rojas-Suarez, Anna Diofasi
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Despite increasing volatility in the global economy, the uptake of the IMF’s two precautionary credit lines, the Flexible Credit Line (FCL) and the Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL), has remained limited—currently to just four countries. The two new lending instruments were created in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008 to enable IMF member states to respond quickly and effectively to temporary balance of payment needs resulting from external shocks. Both credit lines offer immediate access to considerable sums—over 10 times a country’s IMF quota in some cases with no (FCL) or very limited (PLL) conditionality. This paper addresses four misconceptions (or ‘myths’) that have likely played a role in the limited utilization of the two precautionary credit lines: 1) too stringent qualification criteria that limit country eligibility; 2) insufficient IMF resources; 3) high costs of precautionary borrowing; and 4) the economic stigma associated with IMF assistance. We show, in fact, that the pool of eligible member states is likely to be seven to eight times larger than the number of current users; that with the 2016 quota reform IMF resources are more than adequate to support a larger precautionary portfolio; that the two IMF credit lines are among the least costly and most advantageous instruments for liquidity support countries have; and that there is no evidence of negative market developments for countries now participating in the precautionary lines.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus