New IMF Lending Facilities and Financial Stability in Emerging Markets
Economic Analysis and Policy,
In the light of the current global financial and economic crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has undertaken some major reforms of its lending facilities. The new Flexible Credit Line and the High Access Precautionary Arrangements differ from what has been in place so far, by allowing for ex ante conditionality. This paper summarizes preconditions for effective last resort lending and evaluates the newly introduced measures, concluding that the Flexible Credit Line comes very close to what has been called an International Lender of Last Resort. The main obstacles are the low demand and slow progress in complementary reforms.
Technology Clubs, R&D and Growth Patterns: Evidence from EU Manufacturing
European Economic Review,
This paper investigates the forces driving output change in a panel of EU manufacturing industries. A flexible modeling strategy is adopted that accounts for: (i) inefficient use of resources and (ii) differences in the production technology across industries. With our model we are able to identify technical, efficiency, and input growth for endogenously determined technology clubs. Technology club membership is modeled as a function of R&D intensity. This framework allows us to explore the components of output growth in each club, technology spillovers and catch-up issues across industries and countries.
Do All Countries Grow Alike?
Journal of Development Economics,
This paper investigates the driving forces of output change in 77 countries during the period 1970–2000. A flexible modeling strategy is adopted that accounts for (i) the inefficient use of resources, and (ii) different production technologies across countries. The proposed model can identify technical, efficiency, and input change for each of three endogenously determined regimes. Membership in these regimes is estimated, rather than determined ex ante. This framework enables explorations into the determinants of output growth and convergence issues in each regime.
The Transition to Post-industrial BMI Values among US Children
American Journal of Human Biology,
The trend in the BMI values of US children has not been estimated very convincingly because of the absence of longitudinal data. Our objective is to estimate time series of BMI values by birth cohorts instead of measurement years. We use five regression models to estimate the BMI trends of non-Hispanic US-born black and white children and adolescents ages 2-19 between 1941 and 2004. The increase in BMIZ values during the period considered was 1.3 (95% CI: 1.16; 1.44) among black girls, 0.8 for black boys, 0.7 for white boys, and 0.6 for white girls. This translates into an increase in BMI values of some 5.6, 3.3, 2.4, and 1.5 units, respectively. While the increase in BMI values started among the birth cohorts of the 1940s among black girls, the rate of increase tended to accelerate among all four ethnic/gender groups born in the mid-1950s to early-1960s. Some regional evidence leads to the conjecture that the spread of automobiles and radios affected the BMI values of boys already in the interwar period. We suppose that the changes in lifestyle associated with the labor saving technological developments of the 20th century are associated with the weight gains observed. The increased popularity of television viewing was most prominently associated with the contemporaneous acceleration in BMI gain. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Rating Agency Actions and the Pricing of Debt and Equity of European Banks: What Can we Infer About Private Sector Monitoring of Bank Soundness?
The recent consultative papers by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has raised the possibility of an explicit role for external rating agencies in the assessment of the credit risk of banks’ assets, including interbank claims. Any judgement on the merits of this proposal calls for an assessment of the information contained in credit ratings and its relationship to other publicly available information on the financial health of banks and borrowers. We assess this issue via an event study of rating change announcements by leading international rating agencies, focusing on rating changes for European banks for which data on bond and equity prices are available. We find little evidence of announcement effects on bond prices, which may reflect the lack of liquidity in bond markets in Europe during much of our sample period. For equity prices, we find strong effects of ratings changes, although some of our results may suffer from contamination by contemporaneous news events. We also test for pre-announcement and post-announcement effects, but find little evidence of either. Overall, our results suggest that ratings agencies may perform a useful role in summarizing and obtaining non-public information on banks and that monitoring of banks’ risk through bond holders appears to be relatively limited in Europe. The relatively weak monitoring by bondholders casts some doubt on the effectiveness of a subordinated debt requirement as a supervisory tool in the European context, at least until bond markets are more developed.