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  • Author: Monica de Bolle
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Public lending by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) may have done more harm than good in Brazil, adversely affecting real interest rates and productivity growth. Specifically, BNDES's large amounts of subsidized lending are responsible for substantial credit market segmentation, choking off monetary policy transmission. As a result, to maintain price stability the Central Bank of Brazil is forced to raise interest rates more than it might do otherwise in the absence of BNDES lending. Restoring Brazil's capacity to grow in the medium term requires a thorough rethinking of the role of BNDES. In particular, the bank's lending rates should be aligned with market prices, term and risk premia, while taking into account that, with an adequate transparency framework, public development banks can increase private sector participation instead of crowding it out.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Caroline Freund, Mélise Jaud
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The empirical literature on the relationship between democracy and growth has yielded conflicting results. Cross-country studies have failed to identify a significant impact of democracy on growth, while within-country studies have found a strong positive effect of the transition to democracy on growth. We reconcile the conflicting evidence by showing that the positive effect of democratic transitions results from regime change as opposed to democratization. We identify over 100 transitions in the last half-century with various outcomes: to and from democracy, some partial, and some failed. The variety of experiences allows us to compare the growth outcome of democratic transitions with that of other transitions rather than with a no-transition counterfactual. Conditioning on regime change filters out selection effects and shows that transition to democracy yields no growth dividend compared to other types of regime change. We also show that countries that democratize slowly do not gain from regime change. These results suggest that the growth dividend from political transition results from swift regime change rather than from democratization.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Brazil
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This semiannual review finds that most of the major international currencies, including the US dollar, euro, Japanese yen, UK pound sterling, and Chinese renminbi, remain close to their fundamental equilibrium exchange rates (FEERs). The new estimates find this result despite numerous significant exchange rate movements associated with increased volatility in international financial markets at the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2014, and despite a major reduction in the price of oil. The principal cases of exchange rate misalignment continue to be the undervalued currencies of Singapore, Taiwan, and to a lesser extent Sweden and Switzerland, and the overvalued currencies of Turkey, New Zealand, South Africa, and to a lesser extent Australia and Brazil. Even so, the medium-term current account deficit for the United States is already at the outer limit in the FEERs methodology (3 percent of GDP), and if the combination of intensified quantitative easing in Japan and the euro area with the end to quantitative easing in the United States were to cause sizable further appreciation of the dollar, an excessive US imbalance could begin to emerge.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Japan, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, New Zealand
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Emerging-market growth from 2000 to 2012 was untypically high. This paper highlights the many reasons why emerging-economy growth is likely to be lower going forward. Much of the catch-up potential has already been used up. The extraordinary credit and commodity booms are over, and many large emerging economies are financially fragile. They have major governance problems, so they need to carry out major structural reforms to be able to proceed with a decent growth rate, but many policymakers are still in a state of hubris and not very inclined to opt for reforms. They are caught up in state and crony capitalism. Rather than providing free markets for all, the West might limit its endeavors to its own benefit. Economic convergence has hardly come to an end, but it has probably reached a hiatus that is likely to last many years. The emerging economies need to improve their quality of governance and other economic policies substantially to truly catch up. For a decade or so, the West could take the global economic lead once again as in the 1980s.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil
  • Author: William R. Cline, John Williamson
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: A widespread currency war is in prospect. The term was first introduced by Guido Mantega, the finance minster of Brazil. He envisaged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) developing an index that measures whether currencies are held artificially low to boost exports (popularly referred to as “currency manipulation”). If that IMF exercise did not lead to an easing of such exchange market intervention, he suggested that an undervalued exchange rate could eventually be considered a commercial subsidy.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Brazil
  • Author: Anna Gelpern
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Financial collapse usually triggers a flurry of market, academic, and policy innovation. The Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s produced the Brady Bonds and led to the rise of today's emerging markets. In the late 1990s, crises in Pakistan, Ecuador, and Ukraine helped teach the markets how to restructure international sovereign bonds. Crises in Mexico, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, and throughout East Asia raised doubts about the international system's ability to manage vast and rapid capital flows, and prompted a big-picture reassessment under the rubric “international financial architecture.” This included most famously the sovereign bankruptcy proposals discussed elsewhere in this volume.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Middle East, East Asia, Brazil, South America, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: John Williamson
  • Publication Date: 08-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This policy brief examines whether the pessimism that recently gripped the financial markets about Brazil's economic prospects is justified, and whether the big IMF program in support of Brazil announced on August 8, 2002, is likely to succeed in turning the tide. It concludes that present policies would be adequate to secure a gradual reduction in the debt/GDP ratio given return of the exchange rate to a less undervalued level and a level of interest rates that is normal by past Brazilian standards though still high by world standards, though not under the recent conditions of a severely undervalued real and astronomical interest rates. It also concludes that the strongly improving trend recently evident in Brazilian trade promises a progressive reduction in external vulnerability, though this again could be jeopardized by the maintenance of sky-high interest rates. It then argues that, despite the mixed records of the two principal opposition candidates for the presidency, neither would be likely to choose a policy of deliberately reneging on Brazil's debts. That being so, the recent market turbulence has to be interpreted as a panic in which even those convinced that Brazil's fundamentals are sound did not dare to speculate in favor of restoration of normality. Such situations are exactly those where the IMF can play a useful role in breaking a panic, and hence the new loan much improves the chances of Brazil avoiding the implosion that would be likely to follow a debt restructuring.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Erika Wada
  • Publication Date: 09-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In the wake of financial crises in Mexico (1994-95), Asia (1997-98), Russia (1998) and Brazil (1998-99), respected observers have questioned the benefits of wide-open international capital markets (Bhagwati, 1998; Krugman, 1998; Rodrik, 1998; Eichengreen, 1999). Our purpose is to identify true hazards and suggest appropriate precautions.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Asia, Brazil, Mexico