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Colonial Origins, Institutions and Economic Performance in the Caribbean: Guyana and Barbados

39 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2007  

Michael DaCosta

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Date Written: February 2007

Abstract

The countries that were once British colonies in the Caribbean share a common language and a colonial history of slavery, dominance of a plantation-based sugar industry, and broadly similar government and administrative traditions. Following independence in the late-1960s economic strategies and performance across the region diverged. However, by the end of the 1980s, in the face of economic collapse Guyana had abandoned its strategy of cooperative socialism, and its economic policies converged with those generally supported by the IMF and World Bank. Despite this policy convergence and shared colonial origins, economic performance and social indicators in Guyana and Barbados have continued to diverge. The paper explores some of the origins of this divergence, and, in particular, the deep seated factors that derive from the countries' history, geography, and demographics. In Guyana, while the focus on sound macroeconomic policies and donor support has been important, the most pressing requirement for sustained progress is to strengthen domestic institutions and build consensus on the country's future direction.

JEL Classification: D2, D3, F49, N16, O49, O54

Suggested Citation

DaCosta, Michael, Colonial Origins, Institutions and Economic Performance in the Caribbean: Guyana and Barbados (February 2007). IMF Working Papers, Vol. , pp. 1-37, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=967884

Michael DaCosta (Contact Author)

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

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