Highly favorable external conditions have helped Latin America strengthen its economic fundamentals over the last decade. But, has the region built enough buffers to guard itself from a weakening of the external environment? This paper addresses this question by developing a simple framework that integrates econometric estimates of the effect of global factors on key domestic variables that determine public and external debt dynamics, with the IMF‘s standard debt sustainability framework. Results suggest that, while some countries in the region are well placed to withstand moderate or even large shocks, many would benefit from having stronger buffers to be in a position to deploy countercyclical policies, especially under tail events. External sustainability, on the other hand, does not appear to be a source of concern for most countries.
The Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) Data Module provides an assessment of Bolivia’s macroeconomic statistics against the recommendations of the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS). The report reveals that the quality of Bolivia’s macroeconomic statistics has improved over recent years. The statistics have been broadly adequate for macroeconomic analysis and policy design and monitoring. The authorities have demonstrated a commitment to pursue plans and programs to further improve their statistics.
Studies of the impact of trade openness on growth are based either on cross-country analysis-which lacks transparency-or case studies-which lack statistical rigor. We apply transparent econometric methods drawn from the treatment evaluation literature to make the comparison between treated (i.e., open) and control (i.e., closed) countries explicit while remaining within a unified statistical framework. First, matching estimators highlight the rather far-fetched country comparisons underlying common cross-country results. When appropriately restricting the sample, we confirm a positive and significant effect of openness on growth. Second, we apply synthetic control methods-which account for endogeneity due to unobservable heterogeneity-to countries that liberalized their trade regime and we show that trade liberalization has often had a positive effect on growth.
Honduras’s Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes highlights Data Module, response by the authorities, and detailed assessments using the data quality assessment framework. Meeting General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) recommendations will also require disseminating production indices. To follow GDDS recommendations and facilitate eventual subscription to the Special Data Dissemination Standard, it would be important that key agencies move in the future with plans for improvement. To participate in the GDDS, the authorities would need to appoint a GDDS coordinator and commit to follow GDDS recommendations for selected data.
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.