Based on internal data, this paper finds that the capacity development program of the IMF’s Statistics Department has prioritized technical assistance and training to fragile and conflict-affected states. These interventions have yielded only slightly weaker results in fragile states than in other states. However, capacity development is constantly needed to make up for the dissipation of progress resulting from insufficient resources that fragile and conflict-affected states allocate to the statistical function, inadequate inter-agency coordination, and the pervasive impact of shocks exogenous to the statistical system. Greater coordination with other capacity development providers and within the IMF can help partially overcome low absorptive capacity in fragile states. Statistical capacity development is more effective when it is tailored to countries’ level of fragility.
The Dominican Republic and Haiti share the island of Hispaniola and are broadly similar in terms of geography and historical institutions, yet their growth performance has diverged remarkably. The countries had the same per capita real GDP in 1960 but, by 2005, the Dominican Republic's per capita real GDP had tripled whereas that of Haiti had halved. Drawing on the growth literature, the paper explains this divergence through a combined approach that includes a panel regression to study growth determinants across a broad group of countries, and a case study framework to better understand the specific policy decisions and external conditions that have shaped economic outcomes in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The paper finds that initial conditions cannot fully explain the growth divergence, but rather policy decisions have played a central role in the growth trends of the two countries. This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate.