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Mr. Serhan Cevik and Vibha Nanda
Fiscal sustainability remains a paramount challenge for small economies with high debt and greater vulnerability to climate change. This paper applies the model-based sustainability test for fiscal policy in a panel of 16 Caribbean countries during the period 1980–2018. The results indicate that the coefficient on lagged government debt is positive and statistically significant, implying that fiscal policy in the Caribbean takes corrective actions to counteract an increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio. Nonlinear estimations, however, show that the quadratic debt parameter is negative, which indicates that fiscal policy response is not adequate to ensure sustainability at higher levels of debt. We also find that the fiscal stance tends to be countercyclical on average during the sample period. These empirical results confirm that maintaining prudent fiscal policies and implementing growth-enhancing structural reforms are necessary to build fiscal buffers and ensure debt sustainability with high probability even when negative shocks occur over the long term.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes productivity in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union by exploring two complementary exercises. It computes total factor productivity by extending standard growth accounting frameworks with (1) the impact of natural disasters on the stock and productivity of physical capital; (2) human capital accumulation; and (3) the impact of out-migration on labor and human capital. The paper also analyzes labor productivity, including across economic sectors. The results indicate that the historical deceleration in growth was driven mostly by the declining contribution of total factor productivity, which resulted in stagnation in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Labor productivity measures show that labor is largely allocated in the sectors with relatively lower productivity.
Mr. Paul Cashin
This paper identifies and describes key features of Caribbean business cycles during the period 1963-2003. In particular, the chronologies in the Caribbean classical cycle (expansions and contractions in the level of output) and growth cycle (periods of above-trend and below-trend rates of economic growth) are identified. It is found that Caribbean classical cycles are longer-lived than those of developed countries and non-Caribbean developing countries. While there are large asymmetries in the duration and amplitude of phases in the Caribbean classical cycle, on both measures the Caribbean growth cycle is much more symmetric. Further, there is some evidence of synchronization among the classical cycles of Caribbean countries, and stronger evidence of synchronization of Caribbean growth cycles.