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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.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper explores policies to drive diversification for Saudi Arabia. Diversification is needed to create jobs for Saudis and to mitigate the impact of uncertainty in oil markets. Although the business climate should be improved, and remaining infrastructure gaps addressed, reforms need to go beyond these areas. Diversification in Saudi Arabia that creates jobs for nationals could be held back by the effects of relatively high wages and their impact on cost competitiveness. Creative solutions are needed to address the impact of high government wages and employment on competitiveness. Industrial policy could help overcome the incentives that encourage companies to focus on the nontradable sector, but should be handled carefully, keeping lessons from other countries’ experiences in mind. Export orientation and competition are crucial mechanisms to ensure discipline. Strengthening human capital to raise productivity and provide workers with the skills needed in the private sector will be essential to success.