International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Significant progress has been made in Haiti to safeguard macroeconomic stability after the January 2010 earthquake. However, the pace of the reconstruction has been slow and the business environment remains unattractive. Further development and strengthening social safety nets are essential. The monetary policy stance is appropriate and continuing commitment to exchange rate flexibility is appreciated. Improving the business environment is important to raise productivity, enhance competitiveness, and achieve higher and more inclusive growth.
This Technical Assistance Report discusses the findings and recommendations made by the IMF mission regarding the balance of payments, international investment position, and secondary income statistics in El Salvador. The mission reviewed progress made on the recommendations for the Coordinated Direct Investment Survey (CDIS). Although El Salvador is currently reporting data to the CDIS, there are some topics that need improvement, particularly the positions of the shareholders of the three most important financial groups and their subsidiaries to avoid duplicate entries. The mission agreed with the authorities regarding the monitoring of processing payment vouchers sent to the Central Reserve Bank of El Salvador by banks and other entities paying remittances for amounts exceeding the threshold of US$500 to complete the personal transfers’ estimates.
Ms. Kimberly Beaton, Ms. Svetlana Cerovic, Misael Galdamez, Metodij Hadzi-Vaskov, Franz Loyola, Zsoka Koczan, Mr. Bogdan Lissovolik, Mr. Jan Kees Martijn, Ms. Yulia Ustyugova, and Joyce Wong
Outward migration has been an important phenomenon for countries in Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC), particularly those in Central America and the Caribbean. This paper examines recent trends in outward migration from and remittances to LAC, as well as their costs and benefits. For the home country, the negative impact from emigration on labor resources and productivity seems to outweigh growth gains from remittances, notably for the Caribbean. However, given emigration, remittance flows play key financing and stabilizing roles in Central America and the Caribbean. They facilitate private consumption smoothing, support financial sector stability and fiscal revenues, and help reduce poverty and inequality, without strong evidence for harmful competitiveness effects through shifts in the real exchange rate.
Workers' remittances are often argued to have a tendency to move countercyclically with the GDP in recipient countries since migrant workers are expected to remit more during down cycles of economic activity back home. Yet, how much to remit is a complex decision involving other factors, and different variables driving remittance behavior are differently affected by the state of economic activity over the business cycle. This paper investigates the behavior of workers' remittances flows into 12 developing countries over their respective business cycles during 1976-2003 and finds that countercyclicality of receipts is not commonly observed across these countries.
Mr. Ralph Chami, Mr. Adolfo Barajas, Mr. Peter J Montiel, and Ms. Dalia S Hakura
This paper investigates the impact of workers’ remittances on equilibrium real exchange rates (ERER) in recipient economies. Using a small open economy model, it shows that standard "Dutch Disease" results of appreciation are substantially weakened or even overturned depending on: degree of openness; factor mobility between domestic sectors; counter cyclicality of remittances; the share of consumption in tradables; and the sensitivity of a country’s risk premium to remittance flows. Panel cointegration techniques on a large set of countries provide support for these analytical results, and show that ERER appreciation in response to sustained remittance flows tends to be quantitatively small.
This paper quantifies the magnitude and nature of migration flows from the Caribbean and estimates their costs and benefits. The Caribbean countries have lost 10-40 percent of their labor force due to emigration to OECD member countries. The migration rates are particularly striking for the highskilled. Many countries have lost more than 70 percent of their labor force with more than 12 years of completed schooling-among the highest emigration rates in the world. The region is also the world's largest recipient of remittances as a percent of GDP. Remittances constituted about 13 percent of the region's GDP in 2002. Simple welfare calculations suggest that the losses due to high-skill migration (ceteris paribus) outweigh the official remittances to the Caribbean region. The results suggest that there is indeed some evidence for brain drain from the Caribbean.
This paper investigates Central America's external linkages over the last fifteen years of increased integration in light of the 2008-09 global recession. Using structural VAR models, it is found that a one percent shock to U.S. growth shifts economic activity in Central America by 0.7 to 1 percent, on average. Spillovers from global shocks and the rest of the region also affect activity in some countries. Spillovers are mostly transmitted through advanced country financial conditions and fluctuations in external demand for Central American exports. Shocks to advanced economies associated with the 2008-09 financial crisis lowered economic activity in the region by 4 to 5 percent, on average, accounting for a majority of the observed slowdown. The impact was almost twice as large as elasticities estimated on pre-crisis data would have predicted. These results underscore the importance of operating credible policy frameworks that enable a countercyclical policy response to external shocks.