Empirical studies in Caribbean economy
Caribbean Centre for Monetary Research, 2001, 338 pages
Ouvrage collectif sous la direction de Alain Maurin et Patrick Watson
Préface de Winston Dookeran, Gouverneur de la Banque Centrale de Trinidad-et-Tobago
Caribbean scholarship has traditionally maintained a theoretical perspective with regard to the way in which our economies work. Consequently, the literature on the region’s development is filled with critical theoretical analysis of the workings of Caribbean economies. Yet while this work is not without richness in its interpretation as well as its ideological and policy perspectives, the field of empirical work remains an area that has never been fully developed. So much so that a recent commentary on Caribbean scholarship stated that, at a time when the region faces daunting problems as it approaches the next millennium, the lack of Caribbean conceptualisation and empirical substantiation make Caribbean scholars’ arguments merely ideological and undercut their professional commitment to Caribbean development.
This Technical Papers Series by the Caribbean Centre for Monetary studies (CCMS) is an encouraging step to redirect Caribbean scholarship towards empirical work. The Series is the product of the annual CCMS Monetary Studies Conference introduced in 1989 to explore the potential of econometric and other quantitative models to meaningfully contribute to economic analysis. The exchange of ideas engendered by these formal "modelling sessions" has proven fruitful and beneficial to all concerned. Discussions have addressed a wide range of existing modelling approaches such as inter alia structural econometric modelling, Auto Regressive Integrated Moving Averages (ARIMA) modelling and Vector Auto Regression (VAR) modelling.
However, it would seem that this enthusiasm to apply econometric models in the analysis of Caribbean economies is not shared by policy makers, even though proper policy analysis cannot be creditably conducted without sound empiricql and econometric work. In many countries official reports are often underpinned by substantive econometric studies. Yet the same does not occur in the Caribbean despite the impressive amounts of work done by central bankers, academics and other analysts of the region’s economic panorama.
Perhaps, more crucially, this means that econometric analysis is being overlooked at a time when new demands are emerging in the discipline of monetary economics with direct implications for public policy. The market-driven process has effectively changed the space in which monetary economics is practised. At the same time the shifting paradigms within the theoretical understandings of the economic phenomena of the process itself has resulted in the new demands being made on the subject. International capital flows, larger monetary unions and different currency arrangements are examples of the phenomena that are redefining economic parameters. Even the field of empirical analysis faces its own challenges brought on by the increasingly volatile and uncertain global environment.
This fourth publication of the Technical Papers Series of the Caribbean Centre for Monetary Studies, bringing together the best papers arising from the Centre’s modelling sessions, is but a step towards addressing not only the empirical gap in Caribbean literature, but also the new challenges that have emerged. The book adds value to the world of scholarship as it presents the considerable efforts of many researchers to better understand the Caribbean macroeconomy. Moreover, by addressing a range of different problems using a variety of techniques, the book seeks to interest a wide readership : from the student to the professional economist at the highest levels of the public and private sectors. Like the three publications that have gone before it, this book promises much to all students and practitioners of Caribbean policy analysis and practice.