The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The paper analyzes Jamaica's experience of low growth despite consistently high investment. Cross-country analysis provides evidence of a significant and negative relationship between total public debt and productivity growth. Looking at the specific channels through which high debt affects productivity growth and the allocation of resources in Jamaica, the study finds that high public debt has been associated with macroeconomic uncertainty and an output structure that relied excessively on a few maturing sectors with limited scope for productivity growth. Furthermore, public investment has been crowded out by debt service, further adversely affecting productivity growth.