On March 24, 2020, the Government of India ordered a nationwide lockdown for 21 days as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus. The lockdown - in full force as we write - restricts 1.3 billion people from leaving their homes. Transport services are suspended, educational institutions are closed, and factories are shut down. This is in line with the measures imposed in most European countries and in the United States, but the sheer scale of the measure- as in the case of most policies in India- is intimidating. Add to this the grim truth of Indian occupational structure and poverty, and you would likely predict what we now see: unending streams of migrants trying to find their way home, the fear of loss of all income, deep privations, and even (in the space of days) hunger, starvation and death.
We examine whether political connections ease financial constraints faced by firms. Using firmlevel data from six Central and Eastern European economies, we show that politically connected firms are characterized by: (i) higher leverage, (ii) lower profitability, (iii) lower capitalization, (iv) lower marginal productivity of capital, and (v) lower levels of investment than unconnected firms. Politically connected firms borrow more because they have easier access than unconnected firms to credit but tend to be less productive than unconnected firms. Our results are consistent with the idea that political connections distort capital allocation and may have welfare costs.
During the European sovereign debt crisis of 2011-13, some nations faced with rising borrowing costs adopted commitments to treat bondholders as priority claimants. That is, if there was a shortage of funds, bondholders would be paid first. In this article, we analyze the prevalence and variety of these types of commitments and ask whether they impact borrowing costs. We examine a widely-touted reform at the height of the Euro sovereign debt crisis in 2011, in which Spain enshrined in its constitution a strong commitment to give absolute priority to public debt claimants. We find no evidence that this reform had any impact on Spanish sovereign bond yields. By contrast, our examination of the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico suggests that constitutional priority promises can have an impact, at least where the borrower government is subject to supervening law and legal institutions.
This paper presents a comprehensive examination of the determination and evolution of inflation expectations, with a focus on emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs). The results suggest that long-term inflation expectations in EMDEs are not as well anchored as those in advanced economies, despite notable improvements over the past two decades. Indeed, in EMDEs, long-term inflation expectations are more sensitive to both domestic and global inflation shocks. However, EMDEs tend to be more successful in anchoring inflation expectations in the presence of an inflation targeting regime, high central bank transparency, strong trade integration, and a low level of public debt.
We consider the drivers and implications of the growth of "BigTech" in finance – ie the financial services offerings of technology companies with established presence in the market for digital services. BigTech firms often start with payments. Thereafter, some expand into the provision of credit, insurance and money management products, either directly or in cooperation with financial institution partners. Focusing on credit, we show that BigTech firms lend more in countries with less competitive banking sectors and less stringent bank regulation. Analysing the case of Argentina, we find support for the hypothesis that BigTech lenders, by acquiring a vast amount of non-traditional information, have an advantage in credit assessment relative to a traditional credit bureau. They also serve unbanked borrowers, and may have an advantage in contact enforcement. It is too early to judge the extent of BigTech’s eventual advance into the provision of financial services. However, the early evidence allows us to pose pertinent questions that bear on their impact on financial stability and overall economic welfare.
China's bond market is destined to play an increasingly important role, both at home and abroad. And the inclusion of the country's bonds in global indexes will be a milestone for its financial market integration, bringing big opportunities as well as challenges for policymakers and investors alike. This calls for a good understanding of China's bond market structure, its unique characteristics, and areas where reforms are needed. This volume comprehensively analyzes the different segments of China's bond market, from sovereign, policy bank, and credit bonds, to the rapidly growing local government bond market. It also covers bond futures, green bonds, and asset-backed securities, as well as China's offshore market, which has played a major role in onshore market development.
Countries with large debts stocks are vulnerable to the vagaries of the markets. Confidence crises can arise out of nowhere, constricting access to the markets. Hence, the question arises as to whether these countries should put in place mechanisms that will help them better prepare for the possibility of crisis. In effect, the choice is whether to buy insurance. The cost of buying such insurance is that the possibility that markets will see the sovereign’s proactive steps to protect against a crisis not as an indication of prudent governance but rather as an indicator that a crisis is imminent. In this article, we use the case of a hypothetical euro area country (Italy) with a large debt stock and a known vulnerability to confidence crises to set forth its options, as of 2019, to anticipate a possible future debt restructuring. It can: do nothing, do a little; and do something substantial.
Desde principios del 2000, muchos países latinoamericanos alcanzaron un notable crecimiento económico acompañado de la reducción de la pobreza y la desigualdad, debido en gran parte a la persistente aplicación del patrón secular de exportación de materias primas. El fin del superciclo de los precios de los las materias primas en 2014 puso en riesgo algunas de estas ganancias en materia de desarrollo, lo que aumentó la ansiedad entre las clases medias emergentes, temerosas de regresar a la pobreza. Los líderes de América Latina, basándose en un rico legado intelectual, han diseñado enfoques novedosos en la búsqueda del desarrollo sostenible. Las narrativas sobre desarrollo alternativo presentadas por los gobiernos de izquierda han puesto énfasis en nociones como el «buen vivir», posiblemente la propuesta más influyente y revolucionaria originada en la región desde las diferentes variantes de la teoría de la dependencia. Menos claro es hasta qué punto las ideologías y las narrativas en competencia se han traducido en resultados divergentes, ya sea respecto al (neo)extractivismo, la sostenibilidad ecológica o los derechos y la identidad cultural de los pueblos indígenas, o sencillamente en términos de diversificación económica. Este capítulo introduce el número temático de International Development Policy que aborda las innovaciones paradigmáticas y las experiencias de desarrollo recientes en América Latina, con un interés particular en la región andina.