New Paper Shows Costa Rica's Economic Stimulus Has Been Hampered by Inflation Worries

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Dan Beeton, 202-239-1460

New Paper Shows Costa Rica's Economic Stimulus Has Been Hampered by Inflation Worries

WASHINGTON - A new paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows
that, in spite of a reasonably sized fiscal stimulus package, Costa
Rica's economy continues on a downward path, partly because fiscal
policy is being offset by a tightening of monetary policy. The
International Monetary Fund (IMF) is urging this monetary tightening.

The paper, "Costa Rica During the Global Recession: Fiscal Stimulus with Tight Monetary Policy," by Jose Antonio Cordero,
examines how Costa Rica's monetary policy has undermined its fiscal
policy as the government has sought to respond to the global recession.

"Costa Rica would do better by listening to those who advise that
inflation shouldn't be a major concern during such a deep recession,"
Cordero said. "Instead, the Costa Rican government seems to have
listened to the IMF, and this has hurt the economy."

In February 2009, the Costa Rican government launched the "Plan
Escudo," a rescue package supposedly designed to serve as a "shield"
against the global crisis, and providing a stimulus of about 2.8
percent of GDP.  Recent data, however, shows that the recession appears
to be deepening in spite of the stimulus.  The paper notes that the IMF
has insisted that Costa Rica's monetary policy remain tight due to
worries over inflation targets and a perceived risk of a balance of
payments crisis. However, the author notes that the IMF could help
prevent a balance of payments crisis through the provision of a credit
line of foreign currency, as it has done, for example, in Mexico - a
vastly larger economy.

The paper also examines the government's macroeconomic policies in
recent years, prior to the world recession, to see what alternative
policies might have done better.

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The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

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