Fixed parity of the exchange rate and economic performance in the CFA zone : a comparative study
The authors compare economic performance in the CFA (franc) zone with the economic performance in similar countries outside the CFA zone in recent years. The results of their model estimates indicate that the competitive position for CFA members was weaker in the second half of the 1980s than in the first half and weaker than in non-CFA countries in terms of output growth as well as the performance of exports, investment, and savings. The exception was domestic inflation: the CFA fared better on that front. Results for a longer-term comparison are somewhat mixed. The CFA zone performed better than the others in exports, domestic savings and investment, and inflation, but failed in the long run to distinguish itself in terms of economic growth. The authors use a modified control group approach to compare changes in macroeconomic indicators in the CFA countries with those in countries elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa and similar low-income developing countries. They control for initial conditions, changing exogenous internal and world environment, and policy stance. Their approach allows for a formal testing of whether zone membership is a random choice. The implication of randomness is that the CFA zone economies would have performed the same as the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, for example, if there had been no zone. Their results show the assumption of randomness to be valid only for GDP growth and inflation.
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