Before preparing a financial program or analyzing developments in a country, sufficient data on the economy’s past and expected performance are necessary. If the basis for the program or analysis is deficient, the program will probably not be well prepared and the objectives will not be achieved. All those data that may have an impact on the preparation of a program are needed. IMF missions are sometimes described as “hungry” for both statistics and data in general, but this hunger is logical, because before giving any advice or taking any decision, the mission must know what is happening in a country. The term “data” is used broadly here, meaning not only statistical information, but also details of pertinent legislation and of rules and regulations connected with the implementation of such legislation.
Paraguay: Addressing the Stagnation and Instability Trap provides an overview of the analytical insights and policy challenges that a country faces while on the path to sustained growth with stability. It covers a wide range of themes, including improving macroeconomic assessments and policy implementation, eliminating turbulence and deepening financial reforms, and, most important of all, enhancing growth performance and reducing poverty. This book provides useful guidance for policymakers by examining the improvements in policy implementation in Paraguay since the regional crisis of 2002. The chapters discuss how to correct economic imbalances and institutional shortcomings in the context of an economic reform program. The results have been impressive with the Paraguayan economy experiencing the highest growth in a quarter of a century and the strongest financial system in decades.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Over the past 15 years, Chile’s economic reforms and prudent mac-roeconomic policies have delivered strong growth and low inflation. Per capita income has tripled in U.S. dollar terms, and poverty has been cut by two-thirds to 13 percent. Growth has slowed in recent years from its breakneck pace in the mid-1990s but continues on a 5 percent trend.
The desk economist can be defined as the IMF’s expert, in the broadest possible meaning of the term, on a certain country. This means that he should be fully knowledgeable about the economic and financial developments, as well as the political and social situation of his assigned country.1 Indeed, if the desk economist wishes to contribute to the shaping of the IMF’s policies on his country and have his views taken into account, he should know that country in every detail.
In using a country’s economic and financial data, whether to analyze economic developments in the country or to prepare a stabilization program, one must be aware of the quality and especially the deficiencies of the statistics at one’s disposal.