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.
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.
Ms. Lisa Drakes, Ms. Chrystol Thomas, Roland Craigwell, and Kevin Greenidge
This paper addresses the issue of threshold effects between public debt and economic growth in the Caribbean. The main finding is that there exists a threshold debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio of 55–56 percent. Moreover, the debt dynamics begin changing well before this threshold is reached. Specifically, at debt levels lower than 30 percent of GDP, increases in the debt-to-GDP ratio are associated with faster economic growth. However, as debt rises beyond 30 percent, the effects on economic growth diminishes rapidly and at debt levels reaching 55-56 percent of GDP, the growth impacts switch from positive to negative. Thus, beyond this threshold, debt becomes a drag on growth.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper highlights that the financial activity of the IMF reached a new peak in the first three quarters of 1981 in terms of the number of arrangements with members involving high conditionality on the use of the IMF’s resources, the total amount of resources committed under existing arrangements, and the magnitude of actual purchases. There were 25 stand-by arrangements in effect at the end of September 1981, as well as 16 extended arrangements. The total amount of resources made available to member countries in the first nine months of 1981 was SDR 9.3 billion.
This paper argues that many developing countries may find it difficult to buttress disinflation programs purely through the adoption of traditional credibility-enhancing devices (such as monetary anchors and central bank independence), owing to “technical problems” (for example, high instability of money demand, increased capital mobility) and an insufficient endowment of credibility in the political institutions. In these cases, borrowing credibility from an outside agency like the International Monetary Fund may be the most effective solution. The paper discusses the different options that would allow the Fund to support programs aimed not at external adjustment—the Fund’s traditional role—but at disinflation.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper aims to discuss the economic reform program in Jamaica that focuses on reducing macroeconomic vulnerabilities, fostering growth, creating conditions for financial deepening and inclusion, reallocating public resources to maximize economic returns, and improving competitiveness. After three years of difficult economic reforms, inflation is at historical lows, current account deficit has more than halved, net international reserves have doubled, and access to domestic and international financial markets has been restored, supported by upgrades in credit ratings and historically high business confidence indicators. Comprehensive reforms in tax policy and administration have been and continue to be undertaken, while strict adherence to fiscal discipline have helped place debt on a downward trajectory.
Economic developments and growth of Jamaica are discussed in this paper. Despite the good performance under the program through end-September, mounting spending pressures and delays in some fiscal reforms have required the adoption of corrective measures by the authorities. The authorities concurred with IMF staff that the potential spending overruns reflected weaknesses in expenditure management that needed to be urgently addressed. To offset the expenditure overruns, the government has adopted a number of compensatory measures.