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  • Author: Zsolt Darvas, Dirk Schoenmaker
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Integrated capital markets facilitate risk sharing across countries. Lower home bias in financial investments is an indicator of risk sharing. We highlight that existing indicators of equity home bias in the literature suffer from incomplete coverage because they consider only listed equities. We also consider unlisted equites and show that equity home bias is much higher than previous studies perceived. We also analyse home bias in debt securities holdings, and euro-area bias. We conclude that European Union membership may foster financial integration and reduce information barriers, which sometimes limit cross-country diversification. We calculate home bias indicators for the aggregate of the euro area as if the euro area was a single country and report remarkable similarity between the euro area and the United States in terms of equity home bias, while there is a higher level of debt home bias in the United States than in the euro area as a whole. We develop a new pension fund foreign investment restrictions index to control for the impact of prudential regulations on the ability of institutional investors to diversify geographically across borders. Our panel regression estimates for 25 advanced and emerging countries in 2001-14 provide strong support for the hypothesis that the larger the assets managed by institutional investors (defined as pension funds, insurance companies and investment funds), the smaller the home bias and thereby the greater the scope for risk sharing.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Economic structure, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Yakov Ben-Haim, Maria Demertzis, Jan Willem Van Den End
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: This paper applies the info-gap approach to the unconventional monetary policy of the Eurosystem and so takes into account the fundamental uncertainty on inflation shocks and the transmission mechanism. The outcomes show that a more demanding monetary strategy, in terms of lower tolerance for output and inflation gaps, entails less robustness against uncertainty, particularly if financial variables are taken into account. Augmenting the Taylor rule with a financial variable leads to a smaller loss of robustness than taking into account the effect of financial imbalances on the economy. However, in some situations, the augmented model is more robust than the baseline model. A conclusion from our framework is that including financial imbalances in the monetary policy objective does not necessarily increase policy robustness, and may even decrease it
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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
  • Author: Nora Lustig
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Current policy discussion focuses primarily on the power of fiscal policy to reduce inequality. Yet, comparable fiscal incidence analysis for 28 low and middle income countries reveals that, although fiscal systems are always equalizing, that is not always true for poverty. In Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, Nicaragua, and Guatemala the extreme poverty headcount ratio is higher after taxes and transfers (excluding in-kind transfers) than before. In addition, to varying degrees, in all countries a portion of the poor are net payers into the fiscal system and are thus impoverished by the fiscal system. Consumption taxes are the main culprits of fiscally-induced impoverishment. Net direct taxes are always equalizing and indirect taxes net of subsidies are equalizing in nineteen countries of the 28. While spending on pre-school and primary school is pro-poor (i.e., the per capita transfer declines with income) in almost all countries, pro-poor secondary school spending is less prevalent, and tertiary education spending tends to be progressive only in relative terms (i.e., equalizing but not pro-poor). Health spending is always equalizing but not always pro-poor. More unequal countries devote more resources to redistributive spending and appear to redistribute more. The latter, however, is not a robust result across specifications.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ali Enami, Nora Lustig, Rodrigo Aranda
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper provides a theoretical foundation for analyzing the redistributive effect of taxes and transfers for the case in which the ranking of individuals by pre-fiscal income remains unchanged. We show that in a world with more than a single fiscal instrument, the simple rule that progressive taxes or transfers are always equalizing not necessarily holds, and offer alternative rules that survive a theoretical scrutiny. In particular, we show that the sign of the marginal contribution unambiguously predicts whether a tax or a transfer is equalizing or not.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nora Lustig, Margarita Beneke, José Andrés Oliva
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We conducted a fiscal impact study to estimate the effect of taxes, social spending, and subsidies on inequality and poverty in El Salvador, using the methodology of the Commitment to Equity project. Taxes are progressive, but given their volume, their impact is limited. Direct transfers are concentrated on poor households, but their budget is small so their effect is limited; a significant portion of the subsidies goes to households in the upper income deciles, so although their budget is greater, their impact is low. The component that has the greatest effect on inequality is spending on education and health. Therefore, the impact of fiscal policy is limited and low when compared with other countries with a similar level of per capita income. There is room for improvement using current resources.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Poverty, Income Inequality
  • Political Geography: El Salvador
  • Author: Jeong Hyung-Gon
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: Since the global economic crisis triggered in the United States in 2008, the East Asian economic region has received particular attention as it achieved relatively solid economic growth compared to developed countries, which struggled with recession. The discussion on economic cooperation and economic liberalization within East Asia has mainly focused on the RCEP, with this discussion being led by ASEAN as it calls for ASEAN centrality. ASEAN is currently the second-largest overseas investment destination and second-largest trading partner for South Korea, making it an important partner in economic cooperation for South Korea. Particularly, as China is openly implementing economic retaliatory measures against South Korea for the deployment of THAAD missiles in the nation, South Korea has become more interested in the ASEAN market as it strives to diversify its trade and investment portfolio. Under this background, this research examines the characteristics of ASEAN FDI by income level and doing business conditions, then conducts an empirical analysis of determination factors to draw policy implications for stronger economic cooperation with ASEAN.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Lee Sooyoung
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: The last decade of the world trade has been marked by an unprecedented collapse, quick recovery, slowdown, another drop, and recovery. To study cyclical and structural aspects of the recent trend of trade, I use both aggregate and disaggregated trade statistics of a small open economy, South Korea, whose economic success and growth have been heavily dependent on exports. The aggregate trend of the country is surprisingly similar to that of the world, which is why the trend of Korea's export is called a proxy for the world. I show that while the last drop of trade after 2015 has cyclical aspects, there is evidence that the continued slowdown from 2012 is structural: (1) the so-called `China factor' is found in the analysis of trade-income elasticity of the world and China for imports from Korea. (2) The bilateral trade barriers between Korea and its important trading partners are universally tightening. I also show that the firm sizes, destination countries, and the mode of transactions affect disaggregated trade flows during the slowdown periods. It is advisable to diversify main export products to lower the effect of oil prices on export prices and to strengthen the cooperation with ASEAN countries, whose trade barriers have exceptionally diminished throughout the last decade.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Kim Sujin
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: Even at near-zero interest rates for a prolonged period since the financial crisis, why has business investment in advanced economies remained persistently below its pre-crisis level? This paper investigates empirically the roots of this investment puzzle from the global megatrend perspective. The empirical model of this study augmented the uncertainty-finance accelerator investment model with megatrend variables of a transition to service industry, ageing population and a rise in income inequality. The main estimation results show that they have affected negatively the business investment over the period 1980-2014. The shift-to-service driven investment fall is the price-dominant effect during the transition, which is not necessarily pessimistic news, while the suppressing effects from ageing and a rise in income inequality require adequate policy reactions. In addition, the analysis finds significant negative spillover effects of trade partners' ageing and income inequality on a country's own private investment. Based on the empirical results, I expect that the G20’s efforts in inclusiveness with structural reforms will stimulate global business investment.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia