International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper discusses data issues and postcrisis growth in Barbados. An analysis of the data on Barbados shows very clear inconsistencies among the various measures of economic development. Although real growth seems to have evolved broadly in line with the rest of the Caribbean, nominal growth and inflation developments suggest that Barbados was hit much harder by the global financial crisis. At the same time, these data may also be misleading. Nominal GDP seems to have inadequate coverage, and inflation is much higher in Barbados than in similar economies in the region.
The short-term recovery of the Barbados economy will critically depend on the rebound of demand for its services in its traditional markets. As a small tourist-dependent economy with a fixed exchange rate and volatile capital inflows, Barbados could shore up its external sector through fiscal consolidation and structural reforms to raise sustainable growth rates. Barbados’s financial system appears to have been broadly resilient up to now; preserving its soundness in an environment weakened by the recession requires strengthening the regulatory and supervisory framework.
Ms. Nita Thacker, Mr. Sebastian Acevedo Mejia, and Mr. Roberto Perrelli
After earlier success, growth performance in most Caribbean countries has been disappointing since the early 1990s. With slower growth, output has fallen behind that of relevant comparator countries. This paper analyzes the growth experience of the Caribbean countries from a cross country perspective. Three findings stand out. First, the slowdown in growth is explained more by a decline in productivity rather than a lack of investment. Second, tourism has been a significant contributor to higher growth (through both capital accumulation and productivity) and lower output volatility, and in many countries there is scope for further expansion of this sector. Third, the small size and the fact that most of these countries are islands have limited growth. Policies aimed at improving productivity, further development of the tourism sector, and regional integration could pay dividends in terms of higher growth in the region.
With a fixed peg to the U.S. dollar for more than three decades, the tourism-dependent Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) countries share a close economic relationship with the U.S. This paper analyzes the impact of the United States on ECCU business cycles and identifies possible transmission channels. Using two different approaches (the common trends and common cycles approach of Vahid and Engle (1993) and the standard VAR analysis), it finds that the ECCU economies are very sensitive to both temporary and permanent movements in the U.S. economy and that such linkages have strengthened over time. There is, however, less clear-cut evidence on the transmission channels. United States monetary policy does not appear to be an important channel of influence, while tourism is important for only one ECCU country.