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International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper analyzes the income dispersion and comovement in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union region. It finds that incomes are diverging, with the Leeward Islands converging to a higher income level than the Windward Islands. The paper examines the macroeconomic impact of trade preference erosion on the Windward Islands and demonstrates the substantial impact from preference erosion on growth, trade balances, and fiscal positions. The paper also analyzes the size of the informal economy in the Caribbean.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper reviews the influence of the tropical climate on economic development. The paper highlights that the effect of climate is clearly not the only ruling constraint on economic development. It is claimed that climatic factors severely hamper development through their impact on both human beings and their agriculture. Human economic activity is directly and adversely affected through the widespread extent and impact of diseases; and tropical agriculture suffers in the quality of its soils, its rainfall, and its multiplicity of pests and diseases.
International Monetary Fund
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
Mr. Alonso A Segura Vasi, Walter Zarate, Mr. Gonzalo C Pastor Campos, and Mr. Ulrich H Klueh
This paper attempts to offer specific inputs to the debate on local content promotion in the oil industry, using the specific case of São Tomé and Príncipe as point of reference. Our approach emphasizes inter-sectoral linkages and institutional pre-conditions for local content promotion. Based on an Input-Output description of the economy, we quantify the consistency between the prospective oil sector development and the growth of other sectors of the economy. We also assess a number of sectoral policies and "niche" activities within the oil industry that would maximize the local benefits from oil exploration.
Guillermo Javier Vuletin
This paper estimates the size of the informal economy for 32 mainly Latin American and Caribbean countries in the early 2000s. Using a structural equation modeling approach, we find that a stringent tax system and regulatory environment, higher inflation, and dominance of the agriculture sector are key factors in determining the size of the informal economy. The results also confirm that a higher degree of informality reduces labor unionization, the number of contributors to social security schemes, and enrollment rates in education.
International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper on St. Lucia examines challenges facing the Windward Islands banana industry with a focus on the socioeconomic impact and production recovery strategies. The paper focuses on St. Luciathe—region’s largest producer and most populous island. It reviews recent developments in the tourist industry in St. Lucia and its growth potential over the medium term, in an increasingly competitive global tourism market. An overview of developments in the tourist industry in St. Lucia during the 1990s is also presented.

Roy W. Bahl

THE POTENTIAL USEFULNESS of meaningful intercountry comparisons of the size of the public sector has prompted numerous attempts to explain statistically the variation, at a point in time, in tax ratios.2 These analyses have usually employed a single-equation regression model to identify the determinants of intercountry differences in the tax ratio. In one sense this approach represents an attempt to construct a positive theory of taxation by assuming that measurable characteristics of a country are systematically related to its revealed preference for a given size government, namely, the size of its tax ratio. However, recent studies on tax ratio have turned from strictly positive analyses with an informational objective to a normative application with the objective of making intercountry tax effort comparisons.3 The use of studies for this latter purpose is limited by a set of conceptual and methodological problems, which stem from the assumptions basic to the analysis.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper on Trinidad and Tobago highlights that real GDP growth accelerated slightly from 2.4 percent in 1995 to 3.2 percent in 1996. In both years, growth was mainly driven by a good performance of the non-oil sector, which expanded by 3 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively. Construction, distribution, and tourism grew at an especially rapid pace. Manufacturing showed an uneven performance, growing in 1995, but stagnating in 1996, which was owing to the differential effects of trade liberalization on its various subsectors.