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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

This Selected Issues paper examines fiscal policy implications for labor market and economic diversification in Botswana. The IMF report analyzes that large public employment significantly affect labor market outcomes in middle-income countries, including Botswana. It is noted that reforms aimed at reducing the rents and the size of the public sector is likely to significantly improve market outcomes in Botswana. As part of efforts to find new engines of growth and support sustainable long-term and broad-based growth, Botswana has over the years also vigorously pursued policies to diversify the economy.

Mr. Antonio David, Mr. Fabiano Rodrigues Rodrigues Bastos, and Marshall Mills
This paper identifies the factors linked to cross-country differentials in growth performance in the aftermath of social conflict for 30 sub-Saharan African countries using panel data techniques. Our results show that changes in the terms of trade are the most important correlate of economic performance in post-conflict environments. This variable is typically associated with an increase in the marginal probability of positive economic performance by about 30 percent. Institutional quality emerges as the second most important factor. Foreign aid is shown to have very limited ability to explain differentials in growth performance, and other policy variables such as trade openness are not found to have a statistically significant effect. The results suggest that exogenous factors ("luck") are an important factor in post-conflict recovery. They also highlight the importance in post-conflict settings of policies to mitigate the macroeconomic impact of terms of trade volatility (including countercyclical macroeconomic policies and innovative financing instruments) and of policies to promote export diversification.
Burcu Aydin
Will Ghana’s oil production from 2011 accelerate progress toward middle-income status, or will it retard gains in living standards through a possible "resource curse"? This paper examines the likelihood of "resource curse" effects, drawing on a dataset of 150 low and middle income countries from 1973 to 2008 using static and dynamic panel estimation techniques. Results confirm that resource rich countries in Ghana’s income range do experience slower growth than their more diversified peers, an effect that appears to be related to weaker governance. Provided that Ghana can preserve and improve its economic governance and also strengthen fiscal management, prospects look good for converting its oil wealth into sustained strong economic growth.
Ehsan U. Choudhri and Ms. Dalia S Hakura
The paper estimates an empirical relation based on Krugman’s ‘technological gap’ model to explore the influence of the pattern of international trade and production on the overall productivity growth of a developing country. A key result is that increased import competition in medium-growth (but not in low- or high-growth) manufacturing sectors enhances overall productivity growth. The authors also find that a production-share weighted average of (technological leaders’) sectoral productivity growth rates has a significant effect on the rate of aggregate productivity growth.
Ms. Helene Poirson Ward, Mr. Luca A Ricci, and Ms. Catherine A Pattillo
This paper assesses the non linear impact of external debt on growth using a large panel data set of 93 developing countries over 1969–98. Results are generally robust across different econometric methodologies, regression specifications, and different debt indicators. For a country with average indebtedness, doubling the debt ratio would reduce annual per capita growth by between half and a full percentage point. The differential in per capita growth between countries with external indebtedness (in net present value) below 100 percent of exports and above 300 percent of exports seems to be in excess of 2 percent per annum. For countries that are to benefit from debt reduction under the current HIPC initiative, per capita growth might increase by 1 percentage point, unless constrained by other macroeconomic and structural economic distortions. Our findings also suggest that the average impact of debt becomes negative at about 160–170 percent of exports or 35–40 percent of GDP. The marginal impact of debt starts being negative at about half of these values. High debt appears to reduce growth mainly by lowering the efficiency of investment rather than its volume.
Abdullah Al-Hassan, Mary E. Burfisher, Mr. Julian T Chow, Ding Ding, Fabio Di Vittorio, Dmitriy Kovtun, Arnold McIntyre, Ms. Inci Ötker, Marika Santoro, Lulu Shui, and Karim Youssef
Deeper economic integration within the Caribbean has been a regional policy priority since the establishment of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the decision to create the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). Implementation of integration initiatives has, however, been slow, despite the stated commitment of political leaders. The “implementation deficit” has led to skepticism about completing the CSME and controversy regarding its benefits. This paper analyzes how Caribbean integration has evolved, discusses the obstacles to progress, and explores the potential benefits from greater integration. It argues that further economic integration through liberalization of trade and labor mobility can generate significant macroeconomic benefits, but slow progress in completing the institutional arrangements has hindered implementation of the essential components of the CSME and progress in economic integration. Advancing institutional integration through harmonization and rationalization of key institutions and processes can reduce the fixed costs of institutions, providing the needed scale and boost to regional integration. Greater cooperation in several functional policy areas where the region is facing common challenges can also provide low-hanging fruit, creating momentum toward full integration as the Community continues to address the obstacles to full economic integration.
Patrick A. Imam and Mr. Kangni R Kpodar
The rapid growth of Islamic banking has attracted much attention lately in the economic literature. At the same time, a mature body of the literature has shown that financial development is broadly conducive to economic growth, which raises the question as to whether a similar conclusion holds for Islamic banking. Against this backdrop, this paper investigates the relationship between Islamic banking development and economic growth in a sample of low and middle income countries, using data over the period 1990-2010. The results show that, notwithstanding its relatively small size compared to the economy and the overall size of the financial system, Islamic banking is positively associated with economic growth even after controlling for various determinants, including the level of financial depth. The results are robust across across different specifications, sample composition and time periods.
Mr. Maelan Le Goff and Mr. Kangni R Kpodar
Aid has been for decades an important source of financing for developing countries, but more recently remittance flows have increased rapidly and are beginning to dwarf aid flows. This paper investigates how remittances affect aid flows, and how this relationship varies depending on the channel of transmission from remittances to aid. Buoyant remittances could reduce aid needs when human capital improves and private investment takes off. Absent these, aid flows could still drop as remittances may dampen donors' incentive to scale up aid. Concurrently, remittances could be positively associated with aid if migrants can influence aid policy in donor countries. Using an instrumental variable approach with panel data for a sample of developing countries from 1975-2005, the baseline results show that remittances actually increase aid dependency. However, a refined model controlling for the channels of transmission from remittances to aid reveals that remittances lead to lower aid dependency when they are invested in human and physical capital rather than consumed.