Christmas Eve, Mi Seh

(with apologies and gratitude to Clement Clarke Moore for “Twas the Night Before Christmas”)   It was Christmas eve, mi seh, and all over di yard you couldn’t see a soul, not even di guard. No distant shots; one a di quieter nights, And inside, a tree, wid trimmings and lights.   Di children had […]

The Power of Petrol

The Minister of Finance, in his budget presentation last week, has promulgated a shift of the tax burden from income taxes to taxes on consumption, primarily on petrol and international travel. This signals a more efficient, and possibly even fairer, tax system. Here’s why. The highest long run priority in a country like Jamaica (poor […]

Three Days in Haiti

Three days is too short for anyone to become an expert on anything, but it doesn’t take too long in Haiti to begin to see why it is the poorest country in the hemisphere. The typical Haitian earns less than a fifth of that earned by his counterparts in any of its neighbouring countries – […]

Liberal Trade Policies and Economic Growth

Here is a collection of some academic evidence on the empirical relationship between open trade and economic growth. Pretty much all of the them show a clear, positive relationship. Not a single one supports the view that protectionism promotes economic growth. Dollar, David (1992). “Outward-Oriented Developing Economies Really Do Grow More Rapidly: Evidence from 95 […]

Is Speeding Good for You?

A twitter follower of mine sensibly asks, if a permissive trade policy is as good for the local economy as I claim, why then do most developed countries practice some form of domestic market protection. Analogously one may ask, if driving at only a moderate speed is good for you, why then has nearly everyone driven above the speed limit […]

Input for You is Output for Me

The Jamaica Manufacturers Association thinks it is a good idea for productive inputs to be exempt from import duties. According to this line of reasoning, only finished products should attract an import duty. This, the JMA suggests, is a good way to encourage production and therefore expand the economy. This idea is completely impractical in […]