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Mr. A. E. Wayne Mitchell, Ronald James, and Ann Marie Wickham
In this study, we assess the size of the government wage bill and employment in the member countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union and their implications for fiscal sustainability and the adequacy of public service delivery. Over the period 2005 to 2015 their wage bill (as a percentage of GDP, government revenues and expenditures) is higher than in other small states notwithstanding recent efforts by governments to make it more manageable. The composition and distribution of employment is sub-optimal and is reflected in skills mismatches contributing to inefficiencies in public service delivery. Using a dynamic fixed-effects panel, we find that wage bill growth reflects the expansion of government activities to speed up economic and social development and that wage bill spending is procyclical in good times but is rigid during downturns. Finally, we identify the main institutional and legal reforms needed to improve wage bill management and public service efficiency.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes productivity in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union by exploring two complementary exercises. It computes total factor productivity by extending standard growth accounting frameworks with (1) the impact of natural disasters on the stock and productivity of physical capital; (2) human capital accumulation; and (3) the impact of out-migration on labor and human capital. The paper also analyzes labor productivity, including across economic sectors. The results indicate that the historical deceleration in growth was driven mostly by the declining contribution of total factor productivity, which resulted in stagnation in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Labor productivity measures show that labor is largely allocated in the sectors with relatively lower productivity.
International Monetary Fund
The objective of this paper is to analyze the growth performance of the ECCU countries since independence and the policy challenges they face to ensure sustained growth in the period ahead. Although tourism specialization may bring about higher growth, it could also increase volatility in growth by amplifying the impact of business cycles in source countries on the tourism sector. Low productivity growth is principally the reason for the slowdown in growth. High debt levels have been a major drag on growth.
Mr. Hunter K Monroe
The demographic transition in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) now underway is rapid compared with international experience, and emigration is playing a particularly large role. This paper describes and quantifies several factors which could magnify the challenge of pension reform. First, for some ECCU countries, continued emigration at historical rates would considerably advance the projected date at which pension scheme assets are depleted. Second, there is a significant risk that assets will underperform, given the large exposures to the highly-leveraged public sector and to a lesser extent the record with private sector investments. Third, portfolio diversification away from the public sector could be complicated by age-related pressure for greater central government health spending.
International Monetary Fund
CARTAC, the second of the regional technical assistance centers, was created with singular emphasis on ownership of technical assistance by the beneficiary countries. To this end, it was structured as a UNDP project with the IMF as Executing Agency and with a Steering Committee empowered to give strategic guidance to the program and select its senior staff from short lists provided by the IMF. With the spread of the RTAC modality, the IMF has sought to bring the Centers' activities within the ambit of overall resource planning for technical assistance, ensure consistency with the institution's view on priorities for technical assistance in the countries concerned, and tighten quality control through backstopping. This has created the potential for conflict with the relative independence that CARTAC has enjoyed from its inception. The conclusion in this report, however, is that alignment with the IMF does not necessarily undermine country ownership and that the Steering Committee can play a pivotal role in defusing any tension that may arise.
International Monetary Fund
CARTAC, the second of the regional technical assistance centers, was created with singular emphasis on ownership of technical assistance by the beneficiary countries. To this end, it was structured as a UNDP project with the IMF as Executing Agency and with a Steering Committee empowered to give strategic guidance to the program and select its senior staff from short lists provided by the IMF. With the spread of the RTAC modality, the IMF has sought to bring the Centers' activities within the ambit of overall resource planning for technical assistance, ensure consistency with the institution's view on priorities for technical assistance in the countries concerned, and tighten quality control through backstopping. This has created the potential for conflict with the relative independence that CARTAC has enjoyed from its inception. The conclusion in this report, however, is that alignment with the IMF does not necessarily undermine country ownership and that the Steering Committee can play a pivotal role in defusing any tension that may arise.
International Monetary Fund
The Growth and Social Protection Strategy (GSPS) provides the framework for Dominica’s economic and social policies over the next five years and sets out the macroeconomic framework; the growth strategy, including the enabling environment for private enterprise and sectoral strategies; and poverty reduction and social protection programs. Economic growth in Dominica was curtailed by a conjuncture of unfavorable developments, particularly with respect to trade, but there were underlying weaknesses in the economy such as a reliance on one or two sectors, with this lack of diversity exacerbating its vulnerability to economic shocks.
International Monetary Fund
This 2005 Article IV Consultation highlights that data for the first half of 2005 point to a widening fiscal deficit for Antigua and Barbuda. A combination of a reduction in capital spending and some improvement in revenues following a tightening of the concessions regime resulted in a closing of the primary deficit to 1½ percent of GDP in 2004. Revenues have performed well following the reintroduction of the personal income tax. The external current account deficit has narrowed to about 11 percent of GDP, financed by foreign direct investment.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the competitive threats to the tourism sector in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The paper concludes that the ECCU countries have lost competitiveness globally and vis-à-vis newly emergent Caribbean tourist destinations as a result of both price and nonprice factors. The short-term measures implemented by the countries seem to have been insufficient to prevent further declines in 2002. The paper also describes strengthening fiscal discipline through fiscal benchmarks.