Person:
Sugawara, Naotaka

Prospects Group, The World Bank
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Fields of Specialization
International economics, International finance, Fiscal policy, Economic growth, Financial sector development
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Prospects Group, The World Bank
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Last updated: January 31, 2023
Biography
Naotaka Sugawara is a Senior Economist in the Prospects Group at the World Bank. Previously, he was an economist in the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund and in the World Bank’s Office of the Chief Economist for Europe and Central Asia. He also worked in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit of Europe and Central Asia Region and in the Development Research Group at the World Bank.

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 19
  • Publication
    Is a Global Recession Imminent?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-09) Guénette, Justin Damien; Kose, M.Ayhan; Sugawara, Naotaka
    Global growth prospects have deteriorated significantly since the beginning of the year, raising the specter of global recession. This paper relies on insights gleaned from previous global recessions to analyze the recent evolution of economic activity and policies and presents plausible scenarios for the global economy in 2022–24. We report three major findings. First, every global recession since 1970 was preceded by a significant weakening of global growth in the previous year, as has happened recently. Second, the global economy is in the midst of one of the most internationally synchronous episodes of monetary and fiscal policy tightening of the past five decades. The policy actions in many countries are necessary to contain inflationary pressures, but their mutually compounding effects could have larger impacts than envisioned—both in tightening financial conditions and in steepening the global growth slowdown. Third, if the degree of global monetary policy tightening markets now expect is not enough to reduce inflation to targets, experience from previous global recessions suggests that the additional tightening needed could cause significant financial stress and increase the likelihood of a global recession next year. These findings imply that policymakers need to carefully calibrate, clearly communicate, and credibly implement their policy actions while considering potential international spillovers, especially given the globally synchronous withdrawal of monetary and fiscal policies. They also need to pursue supply-side measures to overcome constraints confronting labor markets, energy markets, and trade networks.
  • Publication
    What Has Been the Impact of COVID-19 on Debt? Turning a Wave into a Tsunami
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-11) Kose, M. Ayhan; Nagle, Peter; Ohnsorge, Franziska; Sugawara, Naotaka
    This paper presents a comprehensive analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on debt, puts recent debt developments and prospects in historical context, and analyzes new policy challenges associated with debt resolution. The paper reports three main results. First, even before the pandemic, a rapid buildup of debt in emerging market and developing economies—dubbed the “fourth wave” of debt—had been underway. Because of the sharp increase in debt during the pandemic-induced global recession of 2020, the fourth wave of debt has turned into a tsunami and become even more dangerous. Second, five years after past global recessions, global government debt continued to increase. In light of this historical record, and given large financing gaps and significant investment needs in many countries, debt levels will likely continue to rise in the near future. Third, debt resolution has become more complicated because of a highly fragmented creditor base, a lack of transparency in debt reporting, and a legacy stock of government debt without collective action clauses. National policy makers and the global community need to act rapidly and forcefully ensure that the fourth wave does not end with a string of debt crises in emerging market and developing economies as earlier debt waves did.
  • Publication
    A Mountain of Debt: Navigating the Legacy of the Pandemic
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-10) Kose, M. Ayhan; Ohnsorge, Franziska; Sugawara, Naotaka
    The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a massive increase in global debt levels and exacerbated the trade-offs between the benefits and costs of accumulating government debt. This paper examines these trade-offs by putting the recent debt boom into a historical context. It reports three major findings. First, during the 2020 global recession, both global government and private debt levels rose to record highs, and at their fastest single-year pace, in five decades. Second, the debt-financed, massive fiscal support programs implemented during the pandemic supported activity and illustrated the benefits of accumulating debt. However, as the recovery gains traction, the balance of benefits and costs of debt accumulation could increasingly tilt toward costs. Third, more than two-thirds of emerging market and developing economies are currently in government debt booms. On average, the current booms have already lasted three years longer, and are accompanied by a considerably larger fiscal deterioration, than earlier booms. About half of the earlier debt booms were associated with financial crises in emerging market and developing economies.
  • Publication
    Global Waves of Debt: Causes and Consequences
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-03-02) Kose, M. Ayhan; Nagle, Peter; Ohnsorge, Franziska; Sugawara, Naotaka
    The global economy has experienced four waves of rapid debt accumulation over the past 50 years. The first three debt waves ended with financial crises in many emerging market and developing economies. During the current wave, which started in 2010, the increase in debt in these economies has already been larger, faster, and broader-based than in the previous three waves. Current low interest rates mitigate some of the risks associated with high debt. However, emerging market and developing economies are also confronted by weak growth prospects, mounting vulnerabilities, and elevated global risks. A menu of policy options is available to reduce the likelihood that the current debt wave will end in crisis and, if crises do take place, will alleviate their impact.
  • Publication
    Global Recessions
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-03) Terrones, Marco E.; Kose, M. Ayhan; Sugawara, Naotaka
    The world economy has experienced four global recessions over the past seven decades: in 1975, 1982, 1991, and 2009. During each of these episodes, annual real per capita global gross domestic product contracted, and this contraction was accompanied by weakening of other key indicators of global economic activity. The global recessions were highly synchronized internationally, with severe economic and financial disruptions in many countries around the world. The 2009 global recession, set off by the global financial crisis, was by far the deepest and most synchronized of the four recessions. As the epicenter of the crisis, advanced economies felt the brunt of the recession. The subsequent expansion has been the weakest in the post-war period in advanced economies, as many of them have struggled to overcome the legacies of the crisis. In contrast, most emerging market and developing economies weathered the 2009 global recession relatively well and delivered a stronger recovery than after previous global recessions.
  • Publication
    Can This Time Be Different? Policy Options in Times of Rising Debt
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-03) Nagle, Peter S.O; Kose, M. Ayhan; Ohnsorge, Franziska L.; Sugawara, Naotaka
    Episodes of debt accumulation have been a recurrent feature of the global economy over the past fifty years. Since 2010, emerging and developing economies have experienced another wave of historically large and rapid debt accumulation. Similar past debt buildups have often ended in widespread financial crises in these economies. This paper examines the factors that are likely to determine the outcome of the most recent debt wave, and considers policy options to help reduce the likelihood that it ends again in widespread crises. It reports two main results. First, the rapid increase in debt has made emerging and developing economies more vulnerable to shifts in market sentiment, notwithstanding historically low global interest rates. Second, policy options are available to lower the likelihood of financial crises, and to help manage the adverse impacts of crises when they do occur. These include sound debt management, strong monetary and fiscal frameworks, and robust bank supervision and regulation. The post-crisis debt buildup has coincided with a period of subdued growth as well as the emergence of non-traditional creditors. As a result, policy priorities also need to ensure that debt is spent on productive purposes to improve growth prospects and that all debt-related transactions are transparently reported.
  • Publication
    Benefits and Costs of Debt: The Dose Makes the Poison
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-02) Kose, M. Ayhan; Ohnsorge, Franziska; Sugawara, Naotaka
    Government debt has risen substantially in emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) since the global financial crisis. The current environment of low global interest rates and weak growth may appear to mitigate concerns about elevated debt levels. Considering currently subdued investment, additional government borrowing might also appear to be an attractive option for financing growth-enhancing initiatives such as investment in human and physical capital. However, history suggests caution. Despite low interest rates, debt was on a rising trajectory in half of EMDEs in 2018. In addition, the cost of rolling over debt can increase sharply during periods of financial stress and result in financial crises; elevated debt levels can limit the ability of governments to provide fiscal stimulus during downturns; and high debt can weigh on investment and long-term growth. Hence, EMDEs need to strike a careful balance between taking advantage of low interest rates and avoiding the potentially adverse consequences of excessive debt accumulation.
  • Publication
    Debt and Financial Crises
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-01) Koh, Wee Chian; Kose, M. Ayhan; Nagle, Peter S.; Ohnsorge, Franziska L.; Sugawara, Naotaka
    Emerging market and developing economies have experienced recurrent episodes of rapid debt accumulation over the past fifty years. This paper examines the consequences of debt accumulation using a three-pronged approach: an event study of debt accumulation episodes in 100 emerging market and developing economies since 1970; a series of econometric models examining the linkages between debt and the probability of financial crises; and a set of case studies of rapid debt buildup that ended in crises. The paper reports four main results. First, episodes of debt accumulation are common, with more than 500 episodes occurring since 1970. Second, around half of these episodes were associated with financial crises which typically had worse economic outcomes than those without crises -- after 8 years output per capita was typically 6-10 percent lower and investment 15-22 percent weaker in crisis episodes. Third, a rapid buildup of debt, whether public or private, increased the likelihood of a financial crisis, as did a larger share of short-term external debt, higher debt service cover, and lower reserves cover. Fourth, countries that experienced financial crises frequently employed combinations of unsustainable fiscal, monetary and financial sector policies, and often suffered from structural and institutional weaknesses.
  • Publication
    A Cross-Country Database of Fiscal Space
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-08) Kurlat, Sergio; Kose, M. Ayhan; Ohnsorge, Franziska; Sugawara, Naotaka
    This paper presents a comprehensive cross-country database of fiscal space, broadly defined as the availability of budgetary resources for a government to service its financial obligations. The database covers up to 200 countries over the period 1990-2016, and includes 28 indicators of fiscal space grouped into four categories: debt sustainability, balance sheet vulnerability, external and private sector debt related risks as potential causes of contingent liabilities, and market access. The authors illustrate potential applications of the database by analyzing developments in fiscal space across three time frames: over the past quarter century; during financial crises; and during oil price plunges. The main results are as follows. First, fiscal space had improved in many countries before the global financial crisis. In advanced economies, following severe deteriorations during the crisis, many indicators of fiscal space have virtually returned to levels in the mid-2000s. In contrast, fiscal space has shrunk in many emerging market and developing economies since the crisis. Second, financial crises tend to coincide with deterioration in multiple indicators of fiscal space, but they are often followed by reduced reliance on short-term borrowing. Finally, fiscal space narrows in energy-exporting emerging market and developing economies during oil price plunges but later expands, often because of procyclical fiscal tightening and, in some episodes, a recovery in oil prices.
  • Publication
    Credit-less Recoveries : Neither a Rare nor an Insurmountable Challenge
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-05) Sugawara, Naotaka
    This paper examines why some countries experience economic recoveries without pick-up of bank credit (credit-less) and how different this recovery pattern is from the case where credit is increased as an economy recovers (credit-with). To answer these questions, the paper uses quarterly data covering 96 countries and identifies 272 recovery episodes. It finds that more than 25 percent of all recoveries are credit-less and around 45 percent of all credit-less recoveries occurred in 2009-10. It also finds that output and investment growth tends to be lower in credit-less events but, by eight quarters after the trough date, the gap between credit-less and credit-with episodes is mostly exhausted. Results of the probit estimations show that the size of the downturn and the extent of external adjustment are associated with the likelihood of credit-less recoveries. Moreover, fiscal loosening tends to be related to credit-less events while monetary easing and a country's decision to seek an International Monetary Fund-supported program reduce the probability of credit-less recoveries. Finally, the model suggests that many countries in the Europe and Central Asia region were likely to experience credit-less recoveries following the global financial crisis in 2008/09. What is more worrisome for them is the fact that they are facing another negative external shock.