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Growth, integration, and macroeconomic policy design: Some lessons for Latin America


  • Begg, David


Even the richest countries face the ongoing challenge of how to combine monetary and fiscal discipline with sustainable growth. Increasingly, it is recognized that growth requires not merely factor accumulation but the appropriate market and political institutions. Rich countries are rich partly because of their past success in resolving these issues. This paper gives an overview of economic performance in Latin America, showing output growth, inflation, and the evolution of budget deficits. Then, it introduces a simple model, based on Begg (2000, 2001), capturing the interaction of macroeconomic policy and structural reform. Reform is costly today but improves future opportunities. These benefits may apply to means or variances. By increasing robustness to shocks, reforms that enhance labor market flexibility reduce the variance of output. Other reforms, by affecting means not variances, reduce systematic distortions that depress potential output. Finally, it examines the optimal speed of reform under different macroeconomic regimes, and hence isolates the effects of the choice of regime on the pace of reform. In general, in more distorted countries (or regimes) the benefit of reform is greater. Hence, regimes that inefficiently mitigate distortions should induce faster reform. Consequently, if dollarization or other policy changes reduce distortions, they should (optimally) slow the pace of reform.
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Suggested Citation

  • Begg, David, 2002. "Growth, integration, and macroeconomic policy design: Some lessons for Latin America," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 279-295, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecofin:v:13:y:2002:i:3:p:279-295

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
    2. Begg, David, 2000. "Beyond The Design Of Monetary Policy Alone: Fiscal Commitment, Macro Coordination, And Structural Adjustment," CEPR Discussion Papers 2637, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Svensson, Lars E O, 1997. "Optimal Inflation Targets, "Conservative" Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 98-114.
    4. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
    5. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 1661-1707.
    6. Fischer, Stanley, 1980. "Dynamic inconsistency, cooperation and the benevolent dissembling government," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 93-107, May.
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