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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper examines the prospects for Latvia continuing to rapidly reduce its distance from the productivity frontier. It looks at the empirical record of countries that have in the past attained a similar relative level of income to that of Latvia at present, to gauge the plausibility of the forecast for Latvia’s medium term GDP growth of about 4 percent per year. It highlights that more than one-third of the countries reaching a similar stage of development managed to sustain higher subsequent growth. The paper also confirms the importance of investment and structural reforms for Latvia’s future convergence, using a sector-level analysis.
Mr. Hunter K Monroe
The demographic transition in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) now underway is rapid compared with international experience, and emigration is playing a particularly large role. This paper describes and quantifies several factors which could magnify the challenge of pension reform. First, for some ECCU countries, continued emigration at historical rates would considerably advance the projected date at which pension scheme assets are depleted. Second, there is a significant risk that assets will underperform, given the large exposures to the highly-leveraged public sector and to a lesser extent the record with private sector investments. Third, portfolio diversification away from the public sector could be complicated by age-related pressure for greater central government health spending.
Mr. David Robinson, Mr. Paul Cashin, and Ms. Ratna Sahay

Abstract

This book sets out the economic challenges facing the island nations of the Caribbean and presents policy options to ameliorate external shocks and embark firmly on a sustained growth path. While the countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union that are the focus of the book have enjoyed a sustained period of price and exchange rate stability, they have been buffeted in recent years by adverse shocks, including the erosion of trade preferences, declines in official foreign assistance, and frequent natural disasters. Strengthening their growth performance will require design of a multifaceted strategy that integrates the Caribbean with the global economy, facilitates an economic transformation from agriculture to tourism, fosters greater regional cooperation, and preserves macroeconomic stability. This volume examines the critical issues that are part of that process, including fiscal and financial sector policy, management of external flows, trade integration and tourism, macroeconomic cycles and volatility, and the economic implications of natural disasters.

International Monetary Fund
Spain has experienced income convergence consistently in the past decade, despite gradual losses in competitiveness. The empirical evidence indicates that overall EU enlargement offers a range of opportunities for Spain, points to potential pressures in specific sectors, and offers challenges, and tackling the challenges requires a flexible economy. The pattern of Spanish exports is dominated by its off-center location in the Southern part of the EU. Geographical location also plays a central role in determining the origin of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to Spain.
International Monetary Fund
This paper argues that the development of human capital in the public sector should be an important ingredient in any proposed set of “second-generation” reforms for Africa. In the post-colonial era the quality of governance has seriously declined, and the stock of human capital in the public sector has been eroded by a flight of human capital from many countries in response to compression of wages. The paper develops a simple theoretical framework to discuss these issues and the continent’s experience with foreign technical assistance in supplementing the low level of domestic human capital.
International Monetary Fund
This paper describes economic developments in Cape Verde during 1990–96. After a noticeable slowdown during 1989–91, the Cape Verdean economy rebounded in 1992 and continued to expand in 1993–95, prompted by a sustained increase in public spending and the positive effects of a liberalization of economic activities. Real GDP growth averaged 4 percent during 1992–95, but domestic, economic, and financial developments were characterized by increasing imbalances. Total government expenditure increased rapidly, reaching on average 60.1 percent of GDP in 1994–95, far outpacing any growth in domestic revenues and external grants.