Being diagnosed with a serious illness is a shock to the system, and treatment and recovery can mean major disruptions in a person’s life. But illness also takes millions of people out of the labor force every year and the quality of the care they receive can determine the extent to which this is a shock to the economy. IMF economist Nicola Pierri, with coauthors Anne-Line Koch Helsø and Adelina Yanyue Wang have published a research paper on The Economic Impact of Healthcare Quality. In this podcast, Pierri says low quality hospitals can wind up being very costly to both people and the economy at large.
In his latest book, Raghuram Rajan takes a close look at the relationship between the state, markets and communities, and argues localism is the answer to globalization. Rajan is a distinguished professor of finance at the University of Chicago, former head of India’s central bank and former Chief Economist at the IMF, where he was invited to talk about The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind
The use of digital technologies is transforming how tax administrations operate, helping to improve efficiency and service delivery. A striking example has been Peru's adoption of electronic invoicing, which allows the automatic transfer of billing information between firms and the tax authority. Drawn by its potential to strengthen tax compliance and reduce costs, Peru is among more than 50 countries around the world to have implemented e-invoicing and many others are preparing to follow suit. IMF economists Salma Khalid and Matthieu Bellon have been studying the impact of Peru's mandatory e-invoicing reform that started back in 2014. Their research paper will be published this fall.
Salma Khalid is an economist in the Western Hemisphere Department and Matthieu Bellon is an economist in the Fiscal Affairs Department at the IMF.
Technological innovation like automation using robots to produce goods and provide services creates tremendous opportunities for businesses. But as the cost of producing robots goes down, is this technology widening the income gap? Economist Arnaud Costinot has been studying technological change and its impact on inequality, and in this podcast, he discusses how a robot tax might help better distribute the benefits of artificial intelligence, or AI technologies. Arnaud Costinot is a Professor of Economics at MIT, and coauthor of Robots, Trade, and Luddism: A Sufficient Statistic Approach to Optimal Technology Regulation. Costinot was invited to present his research at the IMF.
International corporate tax avoidance is a growing concern for both advanced economies and low-income countries. The changing nature of the global economy–notably increasing digitalization, in some cases, is making it easier for firms to shift profits to low-tax countries. Michael Keen is a Deputy Director in the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department, and in this podcast he says the international tax system is under unprecedented stress. Keen was a lead author of a recent IMF policy paper that sets out the current state of the international corporate tax system and explores ways to address some of its shortcomings.
When it comes to environmental policies, Ian Parry argues none are more effective than carbon taxes. Parry, an expert on fiscal policy and climate change at the IMF, says carbon taxes promote a full range of responses for reducing emissions–like switching from coal to clean generation fuels, reducing the demand for electricity, transportation fuels, and so on and can be administratively straightforward to implement. Parry is author of several research papers on carbon taxation and his recent article What Is Carbon Taxation? is published in the June 2019 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Ian Parry is the principal environmental fiscal policy expert in the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department.
Global value chains break up the production process so that different steps can be carried out in different countries. In the past, a country had to master the production of a whole manufactured product to export it, which rarely happened. With value chains, a country can specialize in one or several activities in which it has a comparative advantage. In this podcast, David Dollar says he’s seen Asia’s economies transformed by value chains in recent years. Before joining Brookings as Senior Fellow at the China Center, Dollar was World Bank Country Director for China and represented the US Treasury in Beijing. Dollar’s recent article on value chains Invisible Links is published in the June 2019 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Check out the Dollar and Sense podcast at Brookings.edu
Debt is at record levels around the world. 40 percent of low-income countries are wrestling with debt distress or high-risk debt levels and for a few countries in sub-Saharan Africa the debt crisis has already materialized. Fanwell Kenala Bokosi is the Executive Director for the African Forum and Network for Debt and Development, or AFRODAD. In this podcast, Bokosi says the nature of Africa’s debt has changed in recent years, making it more difficult to find solutions for debt sustainability problems. Fanwell Bokosi joined a panel on Tackling Debt during the 2019 IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings
The main objective of the Paris agreement signed by 190 countries in 2015, is to reduce carbon emissions and ensure a transition to low emissions economies. A new IMF paper looks at the role of fiscal policies in helping countries implement their climate strategies. Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the World Resources Institute joined a panel to discuss the paper at the Center for Global Development. Before joining WRI, Steer held senior positions at the World Bank and was the Chief Author of the landmark 1992 World Development Report that placed environmental economics front and center. In this podcast, Steer says carbon emissions need to be dramatically cut from the global economy to avoid dangerous climate change, and carbon pricing can help do that.
Read the paper: Fiscal Policies for Paris Climate Strategies
In 2018, African Union members established the African Continental Free Trade Area in an effort to boost regional trade. They agreed to eliminate tariffs on most goods, liberalize the trade of services and address obstacles to trade between African countries. The African free trade agreement has since been ratified by 22 countries and is likely to take effect later this year. The IMF’s latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa studies the potential impact of the agreement that will establish a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of US$2.5 trillion dollars. In this podcast, economists Reda Cherif and Geremia Palomba say this could be an economic game changer for the continent.
Geremia Palomba is a Deputy Division Chief and Reda Cherif is a Senior Economist in IMF’s African Department.
Nature and economic progress often have a conflicting relationship. In this podcast, lifelong champion of the natural world Sir David Attenborough joins IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde for a tête à tête on how economic growth and the economies of nature can work together to preserve life on earth. While the world’s natural resources make life and industry possible, the demands of a growing economy are putting unsustainable pressures on our climate and vital ecosystems. In his broadcasting career spanning over six decades, Sir David Attenborough has connected people to the wonders of the natural world through visually stunning documentaries like The Blue Planet, and more recently Our Planet; the quintessential guide to the economy of nature. David Attenborough and Christine Lagarde met before a live audience during the IMF World-Bank Spring Meetings.
There is a strong link between the ups and downs of home prices around the world and the global economy. The latest Global Financial Stability Report takes a deep look into what the latest trends in the housing sector might tell us about vulnerabilities within in the financial system. Claudio Raddatz leads the IMF’s Global Financial Stability Analysis team, and in this podcast, he says a high share of financial crisis in recent decades have been preceded by boom-bust patterns in the housing sector.
Read the IMF BLOG
Achieving inclusive growth is one of the critical challenges of our time. In this podcast, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde opens a public discussion between IMF Chief Economist, Gita Gopinath, World Bank Chief Economist, Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg and OECD Chief Economist, Laurence Boone, about how to ensure economic growth benefits the many and not only the few. In her introduction, Lagarde points out that it’s a first for these three multilateral institutions to have women Chief Economists at the same time. The seminar entitled Income Inequality Matters took place during the IMF World-Bank Spring Meetings.
Gita Gopinath is the Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department at the IMF.
Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg is the Chief Economist of the World Bank Group.
Laurence Boone is the OECD Chief Economist, G-20 Finance Deputy and Head of the economics department.
Corruption leeches money from citizens and taxpayers and corrodes trust in government. In this podcast, Transparency International’s Chairperson in Jordan, Sawsan Gharaibeh, talks about how governance weaknesses in some countries in the Middle East have undermined economic growth and kept the region on the lower end of the Corruption Perception Index. Gharaibeh was invited to join a panel on curbing corruption at the IMF World-Bank Spring meetings.
Check out the latest Fiscal Monitor on Curbing Corruption
A third of countries in sub-Saharan Africa are currently involved in conflict or experiencing post-conflict tension, forcing an estimated 18 million people away from their homes and livelihoods. The IMF’s latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa provides an in-depth analysis of conflict trends and the socio-economic challenges faced by countries in the region. Economists, Siddharth Kothari and Mahvash Saeed Qureshi spearheaded the study. In this podcast, they say conflicts strain public finances and shift scarce resources away from social and developmental spending, accentuating their debilitating consequences.
Mahvash Saeed Qureshi is a Deputy Division Chief and Siddharth Kothari is an economist in the Regional Studies Division of the IMF’s African department.
A key objective of the IMF is to pick up on trends that could potentially compromise economic stability, and the Global Financial Stability Report is designed to help do just that. Fabio Natalucci heads the team of economists who write the biannual publication known as the GFSR. In this podcast, Natalucci says the latest report shows financial stability risks are higher than they were six months ago, due in part to rising corporate debt.
Read the IMF BLOG
Fabio Natalucci, is Deputy Director in the IMF's Monetary and Capital Markets Department.
The notion of citizenship is relatively recent in our history. It was only in the 19th century with the birth of the nation-state that came the need to establish a legal distinction between those who belonged to the state and those who didn’t. But being a national or a foreigner influences one’s financial decisions, which can have a significant impact on a country’s economic development. In this podcast, IMF economist Patrick Amir Imam says while some citizenship laws help boost growth others can create conflict and instability. Imam is the representative of the IMF in Zimbabwe, and co-author of Citizenship and Growth, published in the March 2019 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Risk analysis is an important element in growth forecasting, and detecting vulnerabilities within the global financial system helps policymakers mitigate risks. In an effort to broaden the scope of its risk analysis, the IMF developed a new open-source tool that looks at the entire distribution of future GDP growth rather than the traditional point forecasts. The tool is now shared on GitHub, one of the world’s biggest software development platforms. Prasad Ananthakrishnan heads the strategy and planning unit in the IMF’s Monetary and Capital Markets department, and helped develop the Growth at Risk forecasting tool, as it is known. In this podcast, Ananthakrishnan says making the tool available to other economists on Github will make it better over time and help demystify the forecasting process
Economists around the world can contribute to the development of the IMF's new open-source global financial risk analysis tool. (iStock by Getty images/akindo)
Immigration can put extra pressure on governments to fund social programs, especially in times of slow economic growth. In this podcast, Political Scientist Charlotte Cavaille, says rising populism in some countries is fueling a debate about who should have access to government funded programs. Cavaille studies immigration and public opinion toward the welfare state, and was invited by the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development to present her research on immigration, redistribution, and the electoral success of far-right populism.
The effects of copyright and patent laws on artistic creativity and technological innovation are gaining more and more significance in today’s economy driven to a large part by content. Economic historian Petra Moser uses data from 19th century Italian operas and world fairs to examine the economic implications of basic copyright and patent protection for innovators. In this podcast, Moser describes how Napoleon’s military victories in Italy in the late 1700s changed the copyright landscape and created an excellent model to study the effects on Italian opera composers. Petra Moser is an associate professor of Economics at New York University, and was invited by the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development to present her research on the economic impact of creativity and innovation.
While sub-Saharan Africa has lagged behind the rest of the world in access to finance, some countries in the region are bucking the trend thanks to advancements in financial technology known as Fintech. Mobile technology has made sub-Saharan Africa the global leader in mobile money transfer services, helping provide financial services to millions previously off the formal financial grid. A new IMF study shows Fintech is emerging as a technological enabler, improving financial inclusion and serving as a catalyst for innovations in other sectors. In this podcast, economist Amadou Sy, says Fintech could be a real game changer for the region. Sy is an Advisor in the African Department at the IMF, and headed this new research on the impact of Fintech in Sub-Saharan African Countries.
Amadou Sy, is an Advisor in the IMF’s African Department.
For many countries, broadening access to basic services like education and healthcare is fiscally daunting. Economies in developing countries are often informal for the most part, making it difficult for governments to collect the taxes that ultimately fund these programs. In this podcast, IMF economist David Coady says good policy decisions will help countries find the resources they need to strengthen their social safety nets. Coady is a social spending expert in the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department, and author of Creating Fiscal Space featured in the December 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
David Coady heads the Expenditure Policy division in the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department.
There’s been a huge surge in data usage across all sectors of the economy of late. And in the financial sector, recent research by MIT’s Maryam Farboodi shows that while data resolves some risk for investors, it also creates risk. In this podcast, Farboodi talks about how big data is disproportionally benefiting the larger firms and how the distributional aspects of data may be exacerbating inequality. Maryam Farboodi is an Assistant Professor of Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management, her research on Data in Finance has been published in the National Bureau of Economic Research. Farboodi was invited to speak at the IMF’s Institute for capacity Development.
The changing nature of work is turning traditional employment on its head. More and more people are working in the gig economy or in jobs without formal employment contracts, and the payroll-based industrial-era social insurance policies are no longer providing the safety net for which they were designed. Michal Rutkowski oversees the World Bank’s work in developing systems that protect the most vulnerable sectors of society, and helped produce the 2019 World Development Report on the Future of Work. In this podcast, Rutkowski says 70 percent of the world’s population is now in the informal labor market without the means to contribute to health care insurance or pension plans. Rutkowski is author of Reimagining Social Protection featured in the December 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Michal Rutkowski is Senior Director for Social Protection and Jobs at the World Bank Group.
Technology is quickly changing the nature of work. Full-time employment with health care and a pension is being replaced with short-term contracts with no benefits, leaving workers exposed. Sharan Burrow has been General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation since 2010, and a champion of workers rights in the age of technology. Burrow joined a panel on social protection and the future of work during the 2018 IMF-World Bank Annual meetings. The IMF’s David Pedroza sat down with Sharan Burrow in Bali, Indonesia, where the meetings took place.