Competition is considered to be an essential driving force of market economies. It’s said to ensure a more efficient allocation of resources and can boost innovation and productivity. But what happens when there isn’t enough competition? The latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa looks at how the lack of competition in the region is hurting the poor and undermining economic growth. In this podcast, IMF economists Reda Cherif and Jesus Gonzalez-Garcia say more competition could lower prices and increase welfare.
Photo: Competition makes the economy work for people. (iStock by Getty images/ Stefan_Ganev)
The Global Financial Stability Report exposes weak spots in the global economy that could amplify the impact of a shock, such as an intensification of trade tensions or rising corporate debt. Fabio Natalucci heads the team of economists who write the GFSR. In this podcast, Natalucci says if current trends continue, debt owed by firms unable to cover interest expenses with earnings, or debt-at-risk, could rise to $19 trillion.
Fabio Natalucci, is Deputy Director in the IMF's Monetary and Capital Markets Department.
Read the IMF BLOG
While elections are one of the most important pillars of democracy, in many African countries they are characterized by uncertainties due to the high risk of electoral violence. Studies often look at ethnic tensions and political cleavages as drivers of electoral violence, but how might gender play into this? IMF economist Rasmane Ouedraogo investigates the impact of gender equality on electoral violence in Africa and finds yet another good reason to increase female labor force participation.
Rasmane Ouedraogo and Idrissa Ouedraogo are coauthors of Gender Equality and Electoral Violence in Africa: Unlocking the Peacemaking Potential of Women
As the average annual global temperature is expected to rise by 4 degrees Celsius or more by 2100, economic output in countries with hot climates continues to fall. And given that most low-income countries are located in hot regions, low-income countries are bearing the brunt of the negative economic costs of climate change even though they contribute very little to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause it. In this podcast, IMF economists Sebastian Acevedo and Natalija Novta say the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters is having a negative impact on growth.
Acevedo and Novta are coauthors of Weather Shocks and Output in Low-Income Countries:Adaptation and the Role of Policies