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Federico Di Pace, Luciana Juvenal, and Ivan Petrella
When analyzing terms-of-trade shocks, it is implicitly assumed that the economy responds symmetrically to changes in export and import prices. Using a sample of developing countries our paper shows that this is not the case. We construct export and import price indices using commodity and manufacturing price data matched with trade shares and separately identify export price, import price, and global economic activity shocks using sign and narrative restrictions. Taken together, export and import price shocks account for around 40 percent of output fluctuations but export price shocks are, on average, twice as important as import price shocks for domestic business cycles.
Patrick Blagrave and Weicheng Lian
We study the inflation process in India, focusing on the periods before and after the adoption of flexible inflation-forecast targeting (FIT) in India. Our analysis uses several approaches including standard Phillips curve estimation for headline and core inflation, an examination of the sensitivity of medium-term inflation expectations to inflation surprises, and the properties of convergence between headline and core inflation. Results indicate an important role for domestic factors in driving the inflation process, and there is evidence that expectations have become more anchored since 2015. This result could be attributable to FIT adoption, or to persistently low food prices which dominate the post-FIT-adoption period. The policy implications of these structural changes in the inflation process are investigated using a semi-structural model calibrated to the Indian economy.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on Haiti near and medium-term challenges and policy priorities and was prepared before coronavirus disease 2019 became a global pandemic and resulted in unprecedented strains in global trade, commodity and financial markets. The outbreak has greatly amplified uncertainty and downside risks around the outlook. The IMF staff is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to work on assessing its impact and the related policy response in Haiti and globally. Income inequality can hamper economic growth and development. Currently, the financial needs of the rural poor are sustained by microfinance institutions, financial cooperatives, humanitarian programs, and remittance providers. Greater financial inclusion could also be reached via solutions outside of traditional banking practices, including through fintech initiatives. In addition to being a moral imperative, addressing gender inequality is necessary for generating broad-based and inclusive growth. Formal employment opportunities for women need to be expanded. A good start would be to implement the 30 percent quota reserved for women in public-sector appointments, which was introduced in 2012 but never enforced.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation discusses that driven by popular frustration with high levels of corruption and inequality, Haiti has been experiencing a protracted political crisis and prolonged civil unrest. The baseline scenario assumes some stabilization in the political situation by early 2020 but no major political or economic reforms. This would allow growth to recover only gradually and in the absence of sustained implementation of good policies and structural reforms, potential growth would remain low at about 1.4 percent over the medium term. Downside risks, both domestic and external, remain elevated. A prolongation of political instability, extreme natural disaster, drop in remittances, and/or a contraction in exports because of trade tensions would worsen the outlook, particularly given the absence of buffers and fragile social conditions. The challenge is to stabilize the macroeconomic situation in an unstable political context. The IMF Staff encourages the authorities to continue their efforts to contain the fiscal deficit and its monetary financing by the central bank. Improving domestic revenue collection and redirecting current spending would help create space for much needed social and capital expenditures. Together with steps to strengthen the central bank’s autonomy and legal framework, this would help reduce fiscal dominance.
Mr. Mauricio Vargas and Daniela Hess
Using data from 1980-2017, this paper estimates a Global VAR (GVAR) model taylored for the Caribbean region which includes its major trading partners, representing altogether around 60 percent of the global economy. We provide stilyzed facts of the main interrelations between the Caribbean region and the rest of the world, and then we quantify the impact of external shocks on Caribbean countries through the application of two case studies: i) a change in the international price of oil, and ii) an increase in the U.S. GDP. We confirmed that Caribbean countries are highly exposed to external factors, and that a fall in oil prices and an increase in the U.S. GDP have a positive and large impact on most of them after controlling for financial variables, exchange rate fluctuations and overall price changes. The results from the model help to disentangle effects from various channels that interact at the same time, such as flows of tourists, trade of goods, and changes in economic conditions in the largest economies of the globe.