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The Challenges of Fiscal Consolidation and Debt Reduction in the Caribbean

  • Charles Amo Yartey
  • Machiko Narita
  • Garth Peron Nicholls
  • Joel Chiedu Okwuokei

This paper examines debt dynamics in the Caribbean and discusses policy options for reducing the high debt levels. Based on empirical studies of factors underlying global large debt reduction episodes, important policy lessons are drawn for the Caribbean. The analysis shows that major debt reductions are associated with strong growth and decisive and lasting fiscal consolidation efforts. Since growth in the current environment is virtually nonexistent, significant fiscal consolidation is inevitable in the region. Better control of the public wage bill, increasing public sector efficiency and tackling transfers are the obvious targets to reduce spending. On the revenue side, there is ample room to reduce tax expenditures, eliminate distortions while broadening the tax base. Fiscal consolidation needs to be complemented by a comprehensive debt reduction strategy including tax policy reforms and structural reforms to boost competiveness.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 12/276.

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Length: 46
Date of creation: 19 Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/276
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  1. Alexander Plekhanov & Manmohan S. Kumar & Daniel Leigh, 2007. "Fiscal Adjustments; Determinants and Macroeconomic Consequences," IMF Working Papers 07/178, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Francesco Giavazzi & Marco Pagano, 1990. "Can Severe Fiscal Contractions be Expansionary? Tales of Two Small European Countries," NBER Working Papers 3372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ardagna, Silvia, 2004. "Fiscal Stabilizations: When Do They Work and Why," Scholarly Articles 2580047, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  6. Giavazzi, Francesco & Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 2000. "Searching for non-linear effects of fiscal policy: Evidence from industrial and developing countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(7), pages 1259-1289, June.
  7. repec:aei:rpaper:26118 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Kevin A. Hassett & Andrew G. Biggs & Matthew H. Jensen, 2010. "A Guide for Deficit Reduction in the United States Based on Historical Consolidations That Worked," Working Papers 16693, American Enterprise Institute.
  9. Larch, Martin & Turrini, Alessandro, 2008. "Received wisdom and beyond: Lessons from fiscal consolidations in the EU," MPRA Paper 20604, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Giavazzi, Francesco & Pagano, Marco, 1995. "Non-Keynesian Effects of Fiscal Policy Changes: International Evidence and the Swedish Experience," CEPR Discussion Papers 1284, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  12. Coenen, Günter & Mohr, Matthias & Straub, Roland, 2008. "Fiscal consolidation in the euro area: long-run benefits and short-run costs," Working Paper Series 0902, European Central Bank.
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  14. Heylen, Freddy & Everaert, Gerdie, 2000. " Success and Failure of Fiscal Consolidation in the OECD: A Multivariate Analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(1-2), pages 103-24, October.
  15. Salvador Barrios & Sven Langedijk & Lucio Pench, 2010. "EU fiscal consolidation after the financial crisis. Lessons from past experiences," European Economy - Economic Papers 418, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  16. Balazs Egert, 2012. "Bringing French Public Debt Down: The Options for Fiscal Consolidation," CESifo Working Paper Series 3928, CESifo Group Munich.
  17. Gabriele Giudice & Alessandro Turrini & Jan in’t Veld, 2007. "Non-Keynesian Fiscal Adjustments? A Close Look at Expansionary Fiscal Consolidations in the EU," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 18(5), pages 613-630, November.
  18. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1995. "Fiscal Expansions and Fiscal Adjustments in OECD Countries," NBER Working Papers 5214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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