nep-tra New Economics Papers
on Transition Economics
Issue of 2015‒09‒11
28 papers chosen by
J. David Brown
United States Census Bureau

  1. Assessing Default Risks for Chinese Firms: A Lost Cause? By Daniel Law; Shaun K. Roache
  2. Republic of Belarus: Staff Report for the 2015 Article IV Consultation By International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
  3. Urbanization and Economic Development: A Tale of Two Barriers By Raymond Riezman; Ping Wang; Eric Bond
  4. Will Belarus fully benefit from the Eurasian Economic Union? By Sierz Naurodski; Uladzimir Valetka
  5. China’s Labor Market in the “New Normal†By Raphael W. Lam; Xiaoguang Liu; Alfred Schipke
  6. Czech Republic: Staff Report for the 2015 Article IV Consultation By International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
  7. Crisis, contagion and international policy spillovers under foreign ownership of banks By Marcin Kolasa; Krzysztof Makarski; Michal Brzoza-Brzezina
  8. China’s Growth: Can Goldilocks Outgrow Bears? By Wojciech Maliszewski; Longmei Zhang
  9. People's Republic of China: 2015 IV Consultation - Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for the People's Republic of China By International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
  10. The Great Expectations: Impact of One-Child Policy on Education of Girls By Huang, Wei; Lei, Xiaoyan; Sun, Ang
  11. Understanding Residential Real Estate in China By Mali Chivakul; Raphael W. Lam; Xiaoguang Liu; Wojciech Maliszewski; Alfred Schipke
  12. Republic of Kosovo: Staff Report for the 2015 Article IV Consultation By International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
  13. Kyrgyz Republic: Request for a Three-Year Arrangement Under the Extended Credit Facility By International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
  14. Republic of Latvia: Staff Report for the 2015 Article IV Consultation By International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
  15. Republic of Serbia: First Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement By International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
  16. Growth Anatomy of Croatian Economy By Cizmovic, Mirjana; Jankovic, Jelena; Popovic, Milenko
  17. Republic of Latvia: Selected Issues By International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
  18. Ukraine: First Review Under the Extended Arrangement—Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Ukraine By International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
  19. Returns to Education and the Demand for Labour in Vietnam By McGuinness, Seamus; Kelly, Elish; Pham Thi Thu, Phuong; Ha Thi Thu, Thuy
  20. Republic of Croatia: Staff Report for the 2015 Article IV Consultation By International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
  21. Determinants of Bank Interest Margins in the Caucasus and Central Asia By Raja Almarzoqi; Sami Ben Naceur
  22. Fiscal Deficit and Public Debt in the Western Balkans: 15 Years of Economic Transition By Zsoka Koczan
  23. The End of the Flat Tax Experiment in Slovakia By Michal Horváth; Matus Senaj; Zuzana Siebertova; Norbert Svarda
  24. Bulgaria: 2015 Article IV Consultation-Staff Report; Press Release; and Statement by the Executive Director for Bulgaria By International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
  25. Republic of Poland: Selected Issues By International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
  26. IMF Lending and Economic Growth: An Empirical Analysis of Ukraine By Roman Kononenko
  27. Republic of Belarus: Selected Issues By International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
  28. Republic of Poland: Technical Assistance Report-Tax Administration-Modernization Challenges and Strategic Priorities By International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.

  1. By: Daniel Law; Shaun K. Roache
    Abstract: Assessing default risks for Chinese firms is hard. Standard measures of risk using market indicators may be unreliable because of implicit guarantees, the large role played by less-informed investors, and other market imperfections. We test this assertion by estimating stand-alone 1-year default probabilities for non-financial firms in China using an equity-based structural model and debt costs. We find evidence that the equity measure of default risk is sensitive to a firm’s balance sheet health, profitability, and ownership; specifically, default probabilities are higher for weaker, less profitable, and state-owned firms. In contrast, measures based on the cost of debt seem largely detached from fundamentals and instead determined by implicit guarantees. We conclude that for individual firms, equity-based measures, while far from perfect, provide a better measure of stand-alone default risks than borrowing costs.
    Keywords: Default;Corporate sector;Credit risk;China;Public non-financial corporations;default probabilities, equity, market, Asset Pricing, Financial Forecasting and Simulation,
    Date: 2015–06–26
  2. By: International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
    Abstract: This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Belarus continues to be highly vulnerable to economic shocks, as was illustrated by the turbulence in foreign exchange and debt markets in late 2014. Frequent bouts of expansionary macroeconomic policies, in a context of deep structural rigidities, have fueled inflation and external imbalances and left Belarus dependent on ad hoc external support. In 2015, growth has slowed sharply as high uncertainty, reductions in real incomes, administrative measures, and declining trade with Russia weighed on activity. The outlook is for a recession and continued external pressures. With Russia in a downturn, the Belarusian economy is projected to contract by 2.25 percent in 2015, led by falling exports.
    Keywords: Belarus;exchange, exchange rate, inflation, national bank, reserves
    Date: 2015–05–29
  3. By: Raymond Riezman (University of Iowa); Ping Wang (Washington University in St. Louis); Eric Bond (Vanderbilt University)
    Abstract: In this paper we determine the main driving forces underlying the rapid structural transformation and urbanization process in newly industrialized countries. We use a dynamic, small open economy model with an abundant supply of surplus labor in rural areas, two types of traded goods manufactured in urban areas, and barriers to both trade and migration. The model is supplemented with quantitative analysis using Chinese data. There we focus on determining the role that reductions in trade and migration barriers played in China's growth and urbanization. We find that the primary drivers for real per capita GDP growth are migration cost reduction and skill accumulation. While trade liberalization is important for urbanization during the transition toward China's admission to the WTO (particularly for the employment measure), it does not contribute much to real per capita GDP growth relative to other major changes throughout the development process in China. During this transition process, migration cost reduction and TFP changes are both important, accounting for a significant proportion of increased urbanization.
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Sierz Naurodski; Uladzimir Valetka
    Abstract: Eurasian Economic Union, an ambitious project intended to benefit the countries in the post-soviet zone, evokes questions about its future. Is pulling together regional cooperation and tightening its relationship with Russia beneficial to Belarus in the long run? Having analyzed the recent trends in trade, labor and capital flows, Sierž Naurodski and Uladzimir Valetka shed light on the highly questionable nature of potential benefits the Union could bring to Belarussian economy within its current macroeconomic and institutional framework
    Keywords: Trade, economic integration and globalization, Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia
    JEL: F10 F15
    Date: 2015–06
  5. By: Raphael W. Lam; Xiaoguang Liu; Alfred Schipke
    Abstract: As China implements reforms under the “new normal,†maintaining stability in the labor market is a priority. The country’s demography and labor dynamics are changing, after benefitting in past decades from ample cheap labor. So far, the labor market appears to be resilient, even as growth slows, driven in part by expansion of the services sector. Migrant flows and possible labor hoarding in overcapacity sectors may also help explain this. Yet, while the latter two factors help serve as shock absorbers— contributing to labor market stability in the short term—if they persist, they may delay the needed adjustment process, contributing to an inefficient allocation of resources and curtailing productivity gains. This paper quantifies to what extent structural trends and the reform pace affect employment growth under the new normal. Delays in reform implementation would weaken growth prospects in the medium term, running the risk that job creation will fall below policy targets, leading to labor market pressures in the future. In contrast, successful transition might require faster reforms, including in the overcapacity and state-owned enterprise sectors, supported by well targeted social safety nets.
    Keywords: Unemployment;Migration;Labor markets;China;Mobility, labor market, labor, employment, General, General, General, General, General, General,
    Date: 2015–07–13
  6. By: International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
    Abstract: The economy is growing strongly on account of improving domestic demand and robust exports. Fiscal policy has been supportive of the recovery and the authorities’ medium-term fiscal objective is appropriate, but fiscal framework legislation that would anchor policy is yet to be approved. The central bank’s use of an exchange rate floor as an additional instrument to achieve its inflation objective, in the context of the inflation- targeting framework, has helped stem deflationary pressures, but inflation is still well below target. The financial system is sound and resilient to shocks. The challenge for the authorities is to safeguard macroeconomic stability and create conditions for strong and sustainable growth. Policy recommendations. • Fiscal policy. Maintain a supportive fiscal stance this year, but embark on a modest and very gradual fiscal consolidation thereafter, consistent with the medium-term deficit objective. Embed this objective in a comprehensive framework to enhance its effectiveness in anchoring fiscal policy. Improve budget composition, with higher capital spending to address infrastructure needs offset by efficiency gains in current expenditure and improved revenue administration. • Monetary policy. Continue to focus on inflation targeting in policymaking and communication, and maintain supportive monetary conditions until deflation risks recede and inflation expectations become entrenched around the inflation target. Consider carefully the timing and mechanics of the eventual normalization of monetary policy. • Financial sector. Remain vigilant and be ready to address possible risks to financial stability. • Structural reforms. Remove impediments to higher potential growth, including through policies to increase labor market participation of certain segments of the population, enhance investment in human and physical capital, and improve the business climate.
    Keywords: Czech Republic;Article IV consultation reports;Economic growth;Fiscal policy;Fiscal reforms;Monetary policy;Inflation targeting;Economic indicators;Balance of payments statistics;Debt sustainability analysis;Staff Reports;Press releases;inflation, market, exchange, monetary fund
    Date: 2015–07–23
  7. By: Marcin Kolasa (National Bank of Poland); Krzysztof Makarski (National Bank of Poland); Michal Brzoza-Brzezina (National Bank of Poland)
    Abstract: This paper checks how international spillovers of shocks and polices are modified when banks are foreign owned. We build a two-country DSGE model with banking sectors that are owned by residents of one (big and foreign) country. Consistently with empirical findings we find that foreign ownership of banks amplifies spillovers from foreign shocks. Moreover, it also strenghtens the international transmission of monetary and macroprudential policies. Finaly, we replicate the financial crisis in the euro area and show how, by preventing bank capital outflow in 2009 Polish regulatory authorities managed to reduce its spillover to Poland. We also show that under foreign bank ownership such policy is strongly prefered to a recapitalization of domestic banks.
    Date: 2015
  8. By: Wojciech Maliszewski; Longmei Zhang
    Abstract: The paper analyzes the recent growth dynamics in China, evaluating both cyclical positions and long-term growth prospects. The analysis shows that financial cycles play a more important role than traditional inflation-based cycles in shaping the dynamics of growth. Currently, the ‘finance-neutral’ gap—our measure of the financial cycle—is large and positive, reflecting imbalances accumulated in the economy since the Global Financial Crisis. A period of slower growth is therefore both likely and needed in the near term to restore the economy to equilibrium. In the medium term, growth will slow as China moves closer to the technology frontier, but a steadfast implementation of reforms can ensure that China follows the path of the “Asia Tigers†and achieves successful convergence to high-income status.
    Keywords: China;Total factor productivity;potential growth, output gap, production, investment, inflation, credit, potential output, Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development,
    Date: 2015–05–27
  9. By: International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
    Abstract: China is moving to a ‘new normal,’ characterized by slower yet safer and more sustainable growth. The transition is challenging, but the authorities are committed to it. They have made progress in reining in vulnerabilities built-up since the global financial crisis and embarked on a comprehensive reform program. With China now the globe’s largest economy, success is critical for both China and the world.
    Keywords: Article IV consultation reports;Economic conditions;Economic growth;Spillovers;Fiscal reforms;Public enterprises;Monetary policy;Economic indicators;Balance of payments statistics;Debt sustainability analysis;Staff Reports;Press releases;China;
    Date: 2015–08–14
  10. By: Huang, Wei (Harvard University); Lei, Xiaoyan (Peking University); Sun, Ang (Renmin University of China)
    Abstract: The rise in education of women relative to men is an emerging worldwide phenomenon in recent decades. This paper investigates the impact of the birth control policies on teenage girls' education attainment. The estimates suggest that the policies explain 30 percent of the education increase for women born in 1945-1980 and 50 percent of the gender gap narrowing in China. Further analysis provides some suggestive evidence for potential mechanisms, including the policy-induced expectations for labor and marriage market and subjective attitudes on children and gender-equality. These findings highlight the role of fertility policies in women's empowerment of last century.
    Keywords: One-Child Policy, education of girls, expectation
    JEL: D84 I20 J13 J16 J18
    Date: 2015–08
  11. By: Mali Chivakul; Raphael W. Lam; Xiaoguang Liu; Wojciech Maliszewski; Alfred Schipke
    Abstract: China’s residential real estate sector plays an important role in the economy and has been a key driver of growth. Since 2014 the sector has softened visibly, reflecting overbuilding across many cities. An orderly adjustment of the sector is welcome. The key questions are how severe the adjustment will be and how long it will last. This paper uses various datasets, an analytical framework to estimate demand and supply conditions, and develops a number of scenarios to determine the oversupply both at the national level and by city tiers. It highlights that the adjustment will be a multiyear process with adverse implications for investment and growth. Smaller cities, as well as those in the Northeast region, face more challenging demand-supply dynamics. The key will be to allow the adjustment to take place, while avoiding a too sharp of an economic slowdown.
    Keywords: China;Economic growth;Investment;Real estate prices;Supply and demand;Real estate, Property, Growth, price, cities, prices, market, General,
    Date: 2015–04–28
  12. By: International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
    Abstract: This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that growth in Kosovo has proven relatively resilient and stronger than in its western Balkan neighbors, averaging slightly more than 3 percent over the last five years. Steady remittances from the diaspora living in advanced European economies continue to be a key driver of growth, supporting as they have private consumption and investment. Medium-term growth prospects of some 3.5 percent per year, while reasonable, are not strong enough to steadily lift incomes towards regional standards, or to create enough jobs in a country with very high unemployment. Kosovo’s banks remain liquid, well capitalized, and profitable. Nonperforming loans ratios are slightly elevated at 8.4 percent, but are stable and fully provisioned.
    Keywords: Article IV consultation reports;Bank supervision;Banking sector;Economic conditions;Debt sustainability analysis;Economic indicators;Staff Reports;Press releases;Public sector wages;Kosovo;Fiscal policy;deficit, budget, debt, monetary fund, remittances
    Date: 2015–05–21
  13. By: International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
    Abstract: This paper discusses the Kyrgyz Republic’s Request for a Three-year Arrangement Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). Performance under the previous ECF arrangement, which expired last July, was good. Macroeconomic stability was restored, fiscal consolidation was stronger than planned, monetary policy was enhanced through a new interest rate-based framework, and supervision was strengthened in the financial sector. Although performance under the last ECF arrangement was good, new challenges have emerged, and some key reforms have yet to be implemented. The IMF staff supports the authorities’ request for a three-year arrangement under the ECF.
    Keywords: Kyrgyz Republic;debt, investment, monetary fund, public debt, debt management
    Date: 2015–05–14
  14. By: International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
    Abstract: This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Latvia’s strong recovery has recently slowed in the face of sluggish growth in the euro area and deteriorating economic conditions in Russia amid rising geopolitical tensions. GDP growth decelerated to 2.4 percent in 2014 reflecting weak demand and the prolonged closure of a steel manufacturer. In 2015, the weak external environment, particularly the sharp slowdown in Russia, will continue to weigh on exports and investment. This is expected to be mitigated, but not fully offset, by higher disposable income owing to lower oil prices and robust real wages, the reopening of the steel manufacturer, and the accommodative monetary stance of the European Central Bank.
    Keywords: Latvia;inflation, market, deposits, monetary fund, investment
    Date: 2015–05–04
  15. By: International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
    Abstract: This paper discusses Serbia’s First Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement. The program is broadly on track. All end-March 2015 performance criteria and indicative targets were met with comfortable margins. All end-March structural benchmarks were implemented, although with a delay, and all prior actions were met. The economy has stabilized, on the back of lower oil prices and stronger than expected trading partner growth. Inflationary pressures remain subdued. The external position has strengthened. Despite monetary easing, credit growth remains sluggish, and nonperforming loans continue to pose a challenge. Risks to the program come from possible spillovers from regional developments and increase in market volatility, as well as delayed implementation of structural reforms.
    Keywords: Economic indicators;Balance of payments statistics;Serbia;Staff Reports;Press releases;Fiscal policy;Fiscal reforms;Monetary policy;Letters of Intent;Stand-by arrangement reviews;inflation, tax, balance of payments, monetary fund, revenue
    Date: 2015–06–26
  16. By: Cizmovic, Mirjana; Jankovic, Jelena; Popovic, Milenko
    Abstract: In this paper presented is research on anatomy of growth of Croatian economy in the period 1990-2013. Results of this analysis basically should be understood as a kind of growth diagnostic of Croatian economy. Conventional sources of growth analysis, which measure contribution of different factors of production, is given for growth of GDP and per capita GDP in relevant sub-periods. To get deeper understanding of results provided in this way, authors continue with analysis of sectorial side sources of growth. Further insights are provided by demand side sources of growth. Particular attention is, in that respect, devoted to analysis of net-export, capital formation and final consumption. Brief notions on institutional and other fundamental causes of growth are given as well. Policy recommendations for overcoming existing deadlock and acceleration of economic growth are only briefly discussed in concluding section of the paper.
    Keywords: Sources of growth, TFP, Sectoral structure, Expenditure structure
    JEL: O11 O40 O41
    Date: 2015–09–01
  17. By: International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
    Abstract: This Selected Issues paper examines the prospects for Latvia continuing to rapidly reduce its distance from the productivity frontier. It looks at the empirical record of countries that have in the past attained a similar relative level of income to that of Latvia at present, to gauge the plausibility of the forecast for Latvia’s medium term GDP growth of about 4 percent per year. It highlights that more than one-third of the countries reaching a similar stage of development managed to sustain higher subsequent growth. The paper also confirms the importance of investment and structural reforms for Latvia’s future convergence, using a sector-level analysis.
    Keywords: Latvia;productivity, investment, productivity growth, labor, employment
    Date: 2015–05–04
  18. By: International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
    Abstract: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The economy is still fragile, but signs of stabilization are emerging. The escalation of the conflict in the East and the sharp depreciation of the hryvnia in early 2015 deepened the recession in 2015:Q1, raised inflation, and eroded further bank balance sheets. In recent months, however, signs of stabilization have been emerging. The balance of payments is in line with the program and the exchange rate has stabilized, retail hryvnia deposits are gradually increasing, the budget deficit is very low, and the pace of economic decline is moderating. The authorities have made a strong start in implementing the program. All performance criteria (PCs) for end-March 2015 and, based on preliminary information, all PCs for end-June were met. Eight benchmarks were completed, albeit four of them with a delay and two were converted into prior actions for this review. Discussions with creditors have made progress towards a debt operation that would restore fiscal sustainability. The engagement has intensified recently with direct negotiations with the ad hoc creditor committee on the authorities’ restructuring proposal. The two sides reported further steps forward in their discussions and reiterated their common objective to finalize the terms of the debt operation as soon as possible. Policy discussions focused on strengthening macroeconomic stability and sustaining progress in structural reforms. Supporting policies in the period ahead aim to: (i) continue the current prudent monetary policy, maintain exchange rate flexibility, and improve banks’ financial health; (ii) strengthen public finances, via fiscal consolidation and Naftogaz’s reform, while revamping the social safety net; and (iii) advance structural reforms, specifically the anti-corruption framework and judicial system, overhaul the State- Owned Enterprise (SOE) sector, and improve business climate. In view of the authorities’ performance under the program, their policy commitments for the period ahead, and progress toward a debt operation in line with its stated objectives, staff recommends the completion of the first review. The purchase released upon completion of the review would be in the amount equivalent to SDR 1,182.1 million.
    Keywords: Staff Reports;Ukraine;Press releases;Monetary policy;Fiscal policy;Fiscal reforms;Letters of Intent;Energy sector;Extended arrangement reviews;Debt sustainability analysis;Economic indicators;Banking sector;Balance of payments statistics;debt, deposits, exchange, inflation, exchange rate
    Date: 2015–08–04
  19. By: McGuinness, Seamus; Kelly, Elish; Pham Thi Thu, Phuong; Ha Thi Thu, Thuy
    Abstract: Using data from the Vietnam Household Living Standards Survey, this paper examines the returns to education in Vietnam in 2002 and 2010, and how these returns changed over time. Given the economic growth that took place during this time period, the relative demand for labour is also assessed in order to identify if skill-biased technical change played a role in explaining the returns to education in Vietnam at a time of exceptional economic growth. The male and female education returns displayed a linear pattern in both 2002 and 2010, with earnings rising with increased levels of education. Relative to males with no qualifications, the returns to those with a vocational training qualification or below fell between 2002 and 2010, while the economic returns to a college education and above increased. Similar results were observed for females. In relation to relative labour demand, the results indicated that the demand for all levels of education (apart from males with a high school qualification) relative to those with no qualifications grew between 2002 and 2010. However, there was particularly strong growth in the demand for those with a vocational training qualification and above, especially an advanced degree qualification. Findings from the paper show that high levels of economic growth in Vietnam between 2002 and 2010 have facilitated increasing returns to education and demand for high skilled labour. In addition, there appears to be shortages for some types of skilled labour.
    Date: 2015–07
  20. By: International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
    Abstract: This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that after six years of persistent recession, Croatia’s economy is showing first signs of recovery. Robust retail sales and value-added tax receipts suggest that private consumption has bottomed out. Employment has stabilized and corporate profits are recovering. Tailwinds from a favorable external environment have helped, notably lower energy prices, stronger euro area growth, and ample domestic and external liquidity that contain debt servicing costs. For 2015, the economy is projected to grow by 0.5 percent. Net exports are expected to make a modest positive contribution to growth.
    Keywords: Economic indicators;Bank supervision;Article IV consultation reports;Croatia;Croatia;Debt sustainability analysis;Economic conditions;Press releases;Staff Reports;Monetary policy;Fiscal policy;Fiscal reforms;debt, monetary fund, market, public debt, deficit
    Date: 2015–07–02
  21. By: Raja Almarzoqi; Sami Ben Naceur
    Abstract: In this paper, we use a bank-level panel dataset to investigate the determinants of bank interest margins in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) over the period 1998–2013. We apply the dealership model of Ho and Saunders (1981) and its extensions to assess the extent to which high spreads of banks in the CCA can be related to bank-specific variables, to competition, and to macroeconomic factors. We find that interest spreads are affected by operating cost, credit risk, liquidity risk, bank size, bank diversification, banking sector competition, and macroeconomic policies; but the impact depends on the country.
    Keywords: Banking sector;Econometric models;Central Asia and the Caucasus;Cross country analysis;Panel analysis;Profit margins;Interest rates;Interest margins, Operating costs, Market power, Macroeconomic policies, bank, interest, banks, risk, credit, General,
    Date: 2015–04–29
  22. By: Zsoka Koczan
    Abstract: In this paper we analyze how Western Balkans public finances adapted to the boom-bust cycle. Large capital inflows into emerging European economies during the mid-2000s resulted in rapid economic growth and convergence to EU income levels. This also resulted in improved fiscal positions of most countries, on the back of strong revenue performance. Yet, since the onset of the global economic crisis, many countries have struggled to adjust to the new situation of lower external financing and lower growth.
    Keywords: Albania;Bosnia and Herzegovina;Croatia;Macedonia, former Yugoslav Republic of;Montenegro;Serbia;Kosovo;Budget deficits;Albania;Economic growth;Government expenditures;Public debt;Fiscal policy;Transition economies;Cross country analysis;Debt;Western Balkans, fiscal policies, deficit, transition, tax, revenues, expenditures, revenue, General, General, Performance and Prospects,
    Date: 2015–07–24
  23. By: Michal Horváth (University of York); Matus Senaj (Council for Budget Responsibility); Zuzana Siebertova (Council for Budget Responsibility); Norbert Svarda (Council for Budget Responsibility)
    Abstract: The paper provides a quantitative assessment of the consequences of departing from a flat-tax system in the context of Slovakia. A behavioural microsimulation model of the labour supply is embedded into a general equilibrium framework with search and matching frictions. Some recently implemented changes in the tax system leave aggregate labour market indicators as well as inequality measures virtually unaffected. We also examine hypothetical revenue-neutral reforms that would significantly increase the progressivity of the system through graduated marginal tax rates. We find that there are narrow limits to what policy makers could accomplish through such reforms in terms of employment and equality of income. Hence, an income tax reform should at best be seen as a complementary tool to other initiatives promoting such objectives. Moreover, we highlight an important trade-off: income tax reforms that promote employment may harm growth.
    Keywords: flat tax, microsimulation, general equilibrium, search and matching, labour supply elasticity
    JEL: E24 H24 H31 J22
    Date: 2015–08
  24. By: International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
    Abstract: This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Bulgaria achieved modest economic growth in 2014, which is expected to continue in 2015, albeit at a lower rate. Consumer prices declined by an average 1.6 percent in 2014, among the sharpest contractions in the European Union, but are projected to turn positive late in the year. The banking system has shown substantial resilience to the damage to confidence resulting from the bank failure. The budget targets a 3 percent of GDP deficit in 2015, and a further 0.5 percentage point reduction per year in coming years. Measures to improve the composition and quality of expenditure and mitigate contingent liabilities arising from state-owned enterprises remain the key.
    Keywords: Economic indicators;Debt sustainability;Banking sector;Bulgaria;Article IV consultation reports;Fiscal policy;Fiscal reforms;Governance;Reserves adequacy;Press releases;Staff Reports;monetary fund, economic developments, policy credibility, governance issues
    Date: 2015–05–13
  25. By: International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
    Abstract: This Selected Issues paper employs a suite of models to determine the main drivers of inflation in Poland. Inflation in Poland has stayed below the lower bound of the target band for about two years with external shocks adding to downward pressure during 2014. The paper provides a range of inflation forecasts to assess the likelihood of protracted low inflation. The paper considers the main factors underlying recent inflation developments and assesses the importance of first-round indirect and second-round effects of external shocks for headline inflation. Using a variety of models, the paper also provides possible forecast paths for inflation in Poland.
    Keywords: Poland;inflation, price, prices, price inflation, expectations
    Date: 2015–07–14
  26. By: Roman Kononenko
    Abstract: This study uses Vector Autoregression (VAR) Methodology as well as Vector Error Correction (VEC) Methodology to examine the existence and direction of causality between economic growth and IMF lending for Ukraine. The paper examines the IMF lending data for the period of 1991-2010. Robust empirical analysis indicates that IMF lending has a negative effect of on Ukraine's economic growth in the short term. Policy implications of this finding are that, despite short-run decline in economic growth, IMF lending can result in a long-run sustainable growth for Ukraine. For this, policymakers need to ensure that fund's money are used not only to cover budget's deficit, but also to finance institutional reforms.
    Date: 2015–09
  27. By: International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
    Abstract: This Selected Issues paper analyzes the causes of the high inflation in Belarus. It estimates the contribution of two factors: (1) exchange rate pass-through and (2) administrative price increases. Residual inflation is used as a gauge for inflation caused directly by demand pressures and inflation expectations. It is found that the administrative price increases are a key driver of inflation, even ahead of demand pressures, which also explain a large share of inflation. Although exchange rate pass-through is found to be high and fast, particularly for unregulated prices, its contribution to inflation has been comparatively modest in recent years owing to the stability of the exchange rate.
    Keywords: Belarus;prices, price, inflation, market, exchange
    Date: 2015–05–29
  28. By: International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
    Abstract: This Technical Assistance Report provides advice on the modernization of the tax administration in Poland. Tax collections in Poland as a percentage of GDP are lower than those found in larger European Union member states. The report discusses collection performance of the main taxes in recent years and the approach to tax administration modernization. It also addresses selected issues concerning the tax administration institutional reform; the administration and delivery of core tax administration operations, including for the largest taxpayers; and the approach to managing compliance risks to the tax system.
    Keywords: Poland;tax, tax administration, taxpayers, taxes, tax offices
    Date: 2015–05–04

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