International finance

Eric Monnet, Damien Puy, 02 May 2016

Business cycles are generally viewed as having been less correlated during the Bretton Woods period, 1950-1971. This column discusses findings from a new database of quarterly industrial production for 21 countries from 1950 to 2014 based on IMF archival data. As it turns out, business cycle synchronisation was as strong before 1971 as it was after (up till the Global Crisis began in 2007). Moreover, deeper financial integration tends to de-synchronise national outputs from the world cycle, at least in non-crisis periods.

Thierry Foucault, Laurent Frésard, 05 March 2016

Economists continue to debate whether stock markets influence the real economy. This column takes a look at initial public offerings (IPOs) and finds that firms can increase the precision of the signals they get from the stock market by imitating each other. This effect has important implications for the structure of industries, innovation strategies, the diversity of product offerings for consumers, and the scope for diversification for investors.

Dominika Langenmayr, 13 November 2015

Voluntary disclosure programmes offer tax evaders the opportunity to come clean with reduced penalties. This column uses data from the US and Germany to examine the merits of such programmes. They are found to increase tax evasion, but also to significantly lower administrative costs, leading to a net increase in tax revenues.

Gianluca Benigno, Nathan Converse, Luca Fornaro, 11 October 2015

In the aftermath of the Global Crisis, policymakers have adopted policies to limit, or at least manage, capital inflows. This column explores episodes of capital inflows coupled with weak productivity growth, in other words, the financial resource curse. The findings show that once access to foreign capital subsides, the initial boom gives way to a recession. Both investment and employment in the manufacturing sector drop, and the larger the decrease of labour in manufacturing, the sharper the following contraction.

Aida Caldera, Mikkel Hermansen, Oliver Röhn, 19 September 2015

The Global Crisis and its high costs have revived interest in early warning indicators of economic risks. This column presents a new set of indicators to detect vulnerabilities and assess country-specific risks of suffering a crisis. The empirical evidence confirms the usefulness of the vulnerability indicators in warning of severe recessions and crises in OECD countries. But indicators are no silver bullet and should be complemented with other monitoring tools, including expert judgement.

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