The Road to Sustained Growth in Jamaica

The Road to Sustained Growth in Jamaica

The Road to Sustained Growth in Jamaica

The Road to Sustained Growth in Jamaica

Synopsis

'The Road to Sustained Growth in Jamaica' is part of the World Bank Country Study series. These reports are published with the approval of the subject government to communicate the results of the Bank's work on the economic and related conditions of member countries to governments and to the development community. Jamaica's economic history is a story of paradoxes and potential. It has an English-speaking and a reasonably well-educated labor force, is close to the world's largest market, the United States, and has an abundance of natural beauty that has spurred tourism. Many of its social and governance indicators are strong, including near universal school enrollment and poverty levels below that of comparable countries. However, the Jamaican story is marked by the paradoxes of low growth in GDP and high employment despite high investment and important achievements in poverty reduction. This paper attempts to explain these paradoxes and concludes that one possible explanation is that GDP has been understated. Amid these challenges, this report proposes that a "bandwagon" approach to reforms may be needed to improve prospects for sustained growth, with policy actions on several important fronts including measures to avert crisis while continuing to strengthen social safety nets, as well as short- and long-term policies such as reducing the growth of public expenditure and tackling crime. Given that policy choices are likely to be difficult, it argues that an approach based on social dialogue and consensus building is essential to create ownership for future reforms among all stakeholders.
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