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The Shifts and the Shocks

Author: Martin Wolf
Publisher: Penguin Books
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The chief commentator for the Financial Times gives the complete picture of the global financial crisis, highlighting the existing frailties in the financial system that make more shocks possible and explains ways that we can make things more stable. 40,000 first printing.


Long Run Productivity Shifts and Cyclical Fluctuations

Author: Ms. Silvia Sgherri
Publisher: International Monetary Fund
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Using unobserved stochastic components and Kalman filter techniques, the paper assesses the relative importance of transitory and permanent shifts in Italian real GDP within a production function framework. Evidence suggests that the increase in hours worked that has accompanied pension and labor market reforms accounts for the bulk of low-frequency variation in growth, but points to factor utilization as the main driver of business cycle fluctuations. In contrast with the predictions of standard Real Business Cycle models, a positive shock to the underlying rate of total factor productivity growth generates a slight decline in hours, whereas the response of output to the same shock is found to be positive.


The Best Business Writing 2013

Author: Dean Starkman
Publisher: Columbia University Press
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An anthology Malcolm Gladwell has called "riveting and indispensable," The Best Business Writing is a far-ranging survey of business's dynamic relationship with politics, culture, and life. This year's selections include John Markoff (New York Times) on innovations in robot technology and the decline of the factory worker; Evgeny Morozov (New Republic) on the questionable value of the popular TED conference series and the idea industry behind it; Paul Kiel (ProPublica) on the ripple effects of the ongoing foreclosure crisis; and the infamous op-ed by Greg Smith, published in the New York Times, announcing his break with Goldman Sachs over its trading practices and corrupt corporate ethos. Jessica Pressler (New York) delves into the personal and professional rivalry between Tory and Christopher Burch, former spouses now competing to dominate the fashion world. Peter Whoriskey (Washington Post) exposes the human cost of promoting pharmaceuticals off-label. Charles Duhigg and David Barboza (New York Times) investigate Apple's unethical labor practices in China. Max Abelson (Bloomberg) reports on Wall Street's amusing reaction to the diminishing annual bonus. Mina Kimes (Fortune) recounts the grisly story of a company's illegal testing—and misuse—of a medical device for profit, and Jeff Tietz (Rolling Stone) composes one of the most poignant and comprehensive portraits of the financial crisis's dissolution of the American middle class.


Austria

Author: International Monetary Fund
Publisher: International Monetary Fund
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This technical note focuses on the Austrian banking system that exhibits considerable resilience against shocks determined by stress tests. The main sources of risk lie in the credit risk arising from exposures to Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), indirect credit risk from foreign currency lending, and credit risk from domestic lending. The Austrian banking systems exhibits ample liquidity. In-depth discussions with the larger banks show that their modeling capacities vary.


Real Implications of Financial Linkages Between Canada and the United States

Author: Mr. Vladimir Klyuev
Publisher: International Monetary Fund
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This paper documents the extent of financial linkages between Canada and the United States and explores the impact of changes in U.S. financial conditions on financial conditions and real economic activity in Canada. It shows that close to a quarter of financing by Canadian corporations is raised south of the border. Empirical analysis using structural vector autoregressions establishes that a tightening in U.S. financial conditions has significant implications for real activity in Canada. For example, a percentage point increase in the 3- month T-bill rate, other things being equal, leads to a decline of slightly more than one percentage point in Canada''s real GDP growth after 3 quarters. That decline can be decomposed into three channels: the direct financial channel, where the slowdown is attributed to a rising cost of funds for Canadian companies raising capital in the United States; the indirect financial channel, where growth is hampered as financial conditions in Canada tighten in response to a tightening in the United States; and the trade channel, which goes through a slowing in the U.S. economy, and correspondently lower demand for Canadian exports. As would be expected from the high degree of reliance on U.S. financing, the direct financial channel proves dominant in the short term.


Invisible Leviathan

Author: Murray Smith
Publisher: BRILL
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In Invisible Leviathan, Murray E.G. Smith refutes the main criticisms of Marx’s theory of labour value and argues that human civilization is imperilled by the capitalist imperative to measure wealth in terms of ‘abstract social labour’ and money profit.


Yield Curve Dynamics and Spillovers in Central and Eastern European Countries

Author: Mr. Alexander W. Hoffmaister
Publisher: International Monetary Fund
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This paper applies the models used to study yield curve dynamics and spillovers in the U.S. and other countries to Central and Eastern European countries (CEE countries). Using the Diebold, Rudebusch, and Aruoba (2006) dynamic version of the Nelson-Siegel representation of the yield curve, the paper finds that the two-way relationship between macroeconomic and financial variables in the CEE countries is similar to the one in mature economies. However, inflation shocks have very little persistence in the CEE countries, owing to the strong convergence trends in these countries-which tend to re-anchor expectations faster. Increased convergence in policies and market integration over time are associated with a stronger correlation between the levels of the yield curves, while the curves slopes are more driven by idiosyncratic factors. Shifts in the euro yield curve are transmitted both to interest rates and inflation expectations in the CEE countries-and transmission is stronger after 2004.


Income Uncertainty and Household Savings in China

Author: Kai Liu
Publisher: International Monetary Fund
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China’s household saving rate has increased markedly since the mid-1990s and the age-savings profile has become U-shaped. We find that rising income uncertainty and pension reforms help explain both of these phenomena. Using a panel of Chinese households covering the period 1989-2006, we document that strong average income growth has been accompanied by a substantial increase in income uncertainty. Interestingly, the permanent variance of household income remains stable while it is the transitory variance that rises sharply. A calibration of a buffer-stock savings model indicates that rising savings rates among younger households are consistent with rising income uncertainty and higher saving rates among older households are consistent with a decline in the pension replacement ratio for those retiring after 1997. We conclude that rising income uncertainty and pension reforms can account for over half of the increase in the urban household savings rate in China since the mid-1990s as well as the U-shaped age-profile of savings.


Lectures on Behavioral Macroeconomics

Author: Paul De Grauwe
Publisher: Princeton University Press
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In mainstream economics, and particularly in New Keynesian macroeconomics, the booms and busts that characterize capitalism arise because of large external shocks. The combination of these shocks and the slow adjustments of wages and prices by rational agents leads to cyclical movements. In this book, Paul De Grauwe argues for a different macroeconomics model--one that works with an internal explanation of the business cycle and factors in agents' limited cognitive abilities. By creating a behavioral model that is not dependent on the prevailing concept of rationality, De Grauwe is better able to explain the fluctuations of economic activity that are an endemic feature of market economies. This new approach illustrates a richer macroeconomic dynamic that provides for a better understanding of fluctuations in output and inflation. De Grauwe shows that the behavioral model is driven by self-fulfilling waves of optimism and pessimism, or animal spirits. Booms and busts in economic activity are therefore natural outcomes of a behavioral model. The author uses this to analyze central issues in monetary policies, such as output stabilization, before extending his investigation into asset markets and more sophisticated forecasting rules. He also examines how well the theoretical predictions of the behavioral model perform when confronted with empirical data. Develops a behavioral macroeconomic model that assumes agents have limited cognitive abilities Shows how booms and busts are characteristic of market economies Explores the larger role of the central bank in the behavioral model Examines the destabilizing aspects of asset markets


Ideas Policies and Economic Development in the Americas

Author: Esteban Pérez-Caldentey
Publisher: Routledge
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The interplay of ideas and policies is central to understanding the historical evolution of economies. Ideas shape economic institutions and real economic constraints are the source of new economic ideas. The history of economic ideas, both those that are fairly recent and those that are considerably older, may provide a fertile ground for new approaches to Latin American and Caribbean economic development. However, the history of economic ideas and their intricate relation to economic policies remains a relatively unexplored field in Latin American and Caribbean studies. This book is a valuable new contribution to this emerging literature.