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International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper analyzes macroeconomic fluctuations in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The paper describes data, along with the estimation technique used to ensure stationarity of the data. The empirical regularities of macroeconomic fluctuations in the ECCU are described, examining the relationship between a set of macroeconomic time series and domestic output, for each of the six IMF members of the ECCU. The paper also explores the determinants of macroeconomic volatility in the ECCU.

John W. Crow

In various parts of the world, groups of countries hope to achieve more rapid development through regional economic cooperation leading to eventual economic integration. Experience shows, however, that even in the most favorable circumstances the economic unification of sovereign states is an extremely arduous and complex process. The Central American Integration Program is no exception. While notable progress has been made, many problems need to be resolved before the goal of full economic union can be achieved.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
The IMF Research Bulletin, a quarterly publication, selectively summarizes research and analytical work done by various departments at the IMF, and also provides a listing of research documents and other research-related activities, including conferences and seminars. The Bulletin is intended to serve as a summary guide to research done at the IMF on various topics, and to provide a better perspective on the analytical underpinnings of the IMF’s operational work.
Stephanie Medina Cas, Mr. Andrew J Swiston, and Mr. Luis D Barrot
This paper studies the potential for the export sector to play a more important role in promoting growth in Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic (CAPDR) through deeper intra-regional and global trade integration. CAPDR countries have enacted many free trade agreements and other regional integration initiatives in recent years, but this paper finds that their exports remain below the norm for countries of their size. Several indexes of outward orientation are constructed and suggest that the breadth of geographic trading relationships, depth of integration into global production chains, and degree of technological sophistication of exports in CAPDR are less conducive to higher exports and growth than in fast-growing, export-oriented economies. To boost exports and growth, CAPDR should implement policies to facilitate economic integration, particularly building a customs union, harmonizing trade rules, improving logistics and infrastructure, and enhancing regional cordination.
Kathleen White

Domestic support is essential to the successful implementation and maintenance of sound macroeconomic policies and structural reforms. But how do governments convince citizens of longer-term benefits when short-term sacrifices are involved? Legislators and journalists from six Central American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, plus the Dominican Republic—joined IMF officials on May 18-20 to discuss the region’s policy priorities and the role legislatures and the media play in shaping public debate and in building understanding of the trade-offs that policymakers confront. Also on the agenda was the importance of greater regional integration and cooperation to Central America’s ability to compete successfully in the global economy.