Development Research Group
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Financial Sector, Private Sector Development, Global Economy
Development Research Group
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated July 5, 2023
Ha Minh Nguyen is an Economist in the Macroeconomics and Growth Team of the Development Research Group. He joined the Bank in July 2009 as a Young Economist after earning a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Maryland, College Park. He also holds a M.A. and B.A. in economics from The University of Adelaide, Australia. His research interests include International Finance and Economic Growth. His current research is on the financial crisis and the real exchange rates.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-01) Nguyen, HaIn the past two decades, cross-border portfolio holdings of a large variety of assets have risen sharply. This has created an important role for changes in asset prices of a country's external assets and liabilities (i.e. "valuation effects") in affecting the country's net foreign asset position. Valuation effects are commonly thought as stabilizing: they counteract current account movements and mitigate the impact of the current account on the country's net foreign asset position. This paper shows that whether valuation effects are stabilizing or not depends critically on the nature of underlying productivity shocks. In response to transitory shocks, valuation effects are stabilizing; but in response to trend shocks, such effects amplify the impact of the current account on the net foreign asset position. These contrasting results arise because optimally smoothing consumers respond differently to a transitory shock than to a trend shock to income. The results are consistent with the pattern of external imbalances between the United States and other G.7 countries since the 1990s.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020-10-19) Arezki, Rabah ; Moreno-Dodson, Blanca ; Yuting Fan, Rachel ; Gansey, Romeo ; Nguyen, Ha ; Cong Nguyen, Minh ; Mottaghi, Lili ; Tsakas, Constantin ; Wood, ChristinaThe MENA Economic Update is a product of the World Bank's Office of the Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa. This presents the short-term, macroeconomic outlook and economic challenges facing countries in the region.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-04) Eden, Maya ; Nguyen, HaThis paper studies the issue of real exchange rate misalignment and the difficulties in settling international real exchange rate disputes. The authors show theoretically that determining when a country should be sanctioned for real exchange rate "manipulations" is difficult: in some situations a country's real exchange rate targeting can be beneficial to other countries, while in others it is not. Regardless, it is difficult to establish whether a misaligned real exchange rate is intentionally manipulated rather than unintentionally caused by other policies or by various distortions in the economy. The paper continues by illustrating the difficulty in measuring real exchange rate misalignment, and provides a critical assessment of existing methodologies. It concludes by proposing a new method for measuring real exchange rate misalignment based on differences in marginal products between producers of tradable and non-tradable goods.
Publication( 2011-11-01) Bengui, Julien ; Nguyen, HaMost emerging markets do not borrow much internationally in their own currency, although doing that has been argued as an attractive insurance mechanism. This phenomenon, commonly labeled "the original sin", has mostly been interpreted as evidence of the countries' inability to borrow in domestic currency from abroad. This paper provides a novel explanation for that phenomenon: not that countries are unable to borrow abroad in their currency, they might not need to do so. In the model, the small prevalence of external borrowing in domestic currency arises as an equilibrium outcome, despite the absence of exogenous frictions or limits on market participation. The equilibrium outcome is driven by the fact that domestic and foreign lenders have differential consumption baskets. In particular, a large part of domestic lenders' consumption basket is denominated in domestic currency whereas all of foreign lenders' is in dollars. A depreciation of domestic currency, which tends to occur in bad times, is therefore less harmful to domestic savers than to foreign investors. This makes domestic lenders require a lower premium than foreign lenders on domestic currency debt. For plausible calibrations, this consumption basket effect can induce foreign investors to pull out of the domestic currency debt market.
Publication( 2010-06-01) Servén, Luis ; Nguyen, HaThis paper surveys the academic and policy debate on the roots of global imbalances, their role in the inception of the global crisis, and their prospects in its aftermath. The conventional view holds that global imbalances result primarily from unsustainably high demand for goods in the United States and other rich countries, and that their impending correction must involve major United States trade adjustment and dollar depreciation -- although recent literature argues that their extent may be dampened by financial adjustment effects. In contrast, an alternative view portrays global imbalances as the equilibrium result of asymmetries in world asset demand and supply. Absent changes in the deep determinants of these, global imbalances can persist. International capital flow patterns before and during the crisis lend support to the equilibrium view. The paper also examines different hypotheses proposed in the literature on the role of global imbalances in the generation and propagation of the financial crisis. On the whole, the evidence suggests that global imbalances were not among the major causes of the crisis. Lastly, the paper assesses alternative scenarios about the future of global imbalances, considering in particular their potential consequences for developing countries, and the policy measures that these might adopt to enhance their growth prospects in a changing global equilibrium.
Middle East and North Africa Economic Update, April 2019: Reforms and External Imbalances - The Labor-Productivity Connection in the Middle East and North Africa(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2019-04) Arezki, Rabah ; Lederman, Daniel ; Abou Harb, Amani ; Fan, Rachel Yuting ; Nguyen, HaWorld Bank economists expect economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to continue at a modest pace of about 1.5 to 3.5 percent during 2019-2021, with some laggards and a few emerging growth stars. In late 2018, The World Bank called on the leaders of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to aim high. We called for a set of aspirational, but attainable, goals in the digital-economy space (Arezki and Belhaj 2018). If the economies of MENA achieve those goals, they will not only have leapfrogged many advanced economies in terms of coverage and quality of cellular and broadband services, they will register notable advancements in digital payments. This installment of the Middle East Economic Update series, published every six months by the MENA Office of the Chief Economist, makes a more subtle point about a slow moving emerging challenge for the region’s economies: reducing macroeconomic vulnerabilities in some economies is inextricably linked to an all-out effort to create an advanced digital economy (the so-called Digital Moonshot) and other structural reforms. The link, surprisingly, is aggregate labor productivity.
Overconfident: How Economic and Health Fault Lines Left the Middle East and North Africa Ill-Prepared to Face COVID-19(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-10-07) Gatti, Roberta ; Lederman, Daniel ; Fan, Rachel Yuting ; Hatefi, Arian ; Nguyen, Ha ; Sautmann, Anja ; Sax, Joseph Martin ; Wood, Christina A.This report examines the region’s economic prospects in 2021, forecasting that the recovery will be both tenuous and uneven as per capita GDP level stays below pre-pandemic levels. COVID-19 was a stress-test for the region’s public health systems, which were already overwhelmed even before the pandemic. Indeed, a decade of lackluster economic reforms left a legacy of large public sectors and high public debt that effectively crowded out investments in social services such as public health. This edition points out that the region’s health systems were not only ill-prepared for the pandemic, but suffered from over-confidence, as authorities painted an overly optimistic picture in self-assessments of health system preparedness. Going forward, governments must improve data transparency for public health and undertake reforms to remedy historical underinvestment in public health systems.
Middle East and North Africa Economic Update, April 2020: How Transparency Can Help the Middle East and North Africa(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020-04-09) Arezki, Rabah ; Lederman, Daniel ; Abou Harb, Amani ; El-Mallakh, Nelly ; Fan, Rachel Yuting ; Islam, Asif ; Nguyen, Ha ; Zouaidi, MarwaneDue to the dual shocks of the spread of the virus and lower oil prices, World Bank economists expect output of MENA to decline in 2020. This is in sharp contrast to the growth forecast of 2.6 percent published in October 2019. The growth downgrade of 3.7 percentage points is arguably a measure for the costs associated with the dual shocks of Covid-19 and the oil price collapse. These numbers are tentative. The true impact depends on future developments of the dual shocks, policy and society’s response, which depends on the transparent use of health and economic data. We recommend a two-step approach: It might be desirable to focus first on responding to the health emergency and the associated economic contraction. Fiscal consolidation and structural reforms associated with the persistent drop in oil prices and pre-existing challenges are also very important, but with proper external support, can wait until the health emergency subsides. Nevertheless, the MENA region has challenges that predate the crisis – it has been growing far slower than its peers. Had MENA’s growth of output per capita been the same as that of a typical peer economy over the past two decades, the region’s real output per capita would be at least 20% higher than what it is today. A large part of MENA’s low growth is arguably due to a lack of transparency. MENA is the only region that dropped in data transparency and capacity since 2005. We estimate that this has cost MENA 7-14 percent in GDP per capita losses since 2005. Lack of transparency hinders credible analyses of many important issues, two of which are highlighted in the report. First, lack of data transparency hampers credible analyses on the region’s debt sustainability – an important issue to examine after the crisis. MENA countries vary greatly in their debt reporting standards. World Bank economists and other external analysts do not have access to vital information about many types of public debt. Second, the unemployment and informality numbers in the region are debatable since MENA countries rely on varying definitions of employment with little harmonization across the region or with respect to international standards. This affects analyses of unemployment and informality.
Middle East and North Africa Economic Update, October 2019: Reaching New Heights - Promoting Fair Competition in the Middle East and North Africa(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2019-10-09) Arezki, Rabah ; Ait Ali Slimane, Meriem ; Barone, Andrea ; Decker, Klaus ; Detter, Dag ; Fan, Rachel Yuting ; Nguyen, Ha ; Miralles Murciego, Graciela ; Senbet, LemmaPart I of this report discusses the short- and medium-term growth prospects for countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The region is expected to grow at a subdued rate of 0.6 percent in 2019, rising to 2.6 percent in 2020 and 2.9 percent in 2021. The growth forecast for 2019 is revised down by 0.8 percentage points from the April 2019 projection. MENA’s economic outlook is subject to substantial downside risks—most notably, intensified global economic headwinds and rising geopolitical tensions. Part II argues that promoting fair competition is key for MENA countries to complete the transition from an administered to a market economy. Part II first examines current competition policies in MENA countries and to promote fair competition calls for strengthening competition law and enforcement agencies. It also calls for corporatizing state-owned enterprises, promoting the private sector and creating a level-playing field between them. Any moves to reform MENA economies would be aided by professional management of public assets, which could tap into a new source of national wealth.