Research on Cohesion Policy in the Context of the CSME

 

 

The achievement of greater economic and social cohesion is central to any integration project. For example, the CSME and the EU are by no means comparable, either in terms of size or the scale and depth of the respective integration movements, but the concept of cohesion while subject to contextual definition refers to similar notions for both groupings. Both Treaty arrangements speak to the goal of “harmonious development”, “reduction of disparities among members”, “promotion of convergence” and “raising standards of living”. Cohesion therefore, is about ensuring that CARICOM citizens in all Member States are better positioned to share in the benefits of economic integration.

As the compensatory mechanism mandated to provide financial support to the measures outlined in Chapter Seven of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, the CDF has a role to play in the evolving discussion on cohesion in the region and building out of a comprehensive policy (to the extent that Chapter Seven may need to be augmented). In particular, CDF has recognised that there is a paucity of research on this issue in the region and that by facilitating more specific empirical research in relation to the question of economic and social cohesion, there is a real opportunity to propel the policy-making process in this regard. It is also important that this empirical research seek to generate new methods of comparative economic analysis in a region characterised by smallness and varying degrees of vulnerability, which aren’t reflected in some of the more conventional approaches to comparison (for example the use of GDP per capita).

The CDF has therefore identified two areas for further research: Adaptation of the new economic geography (NEG) model to explain and predict patterns of agglomeration in the CSME; and the development of a methodology/model for comparative economic analysis of MDCs and LDCs. This research was undertaken in 2012 in collaboration with the Centre for Leadership and Governance of the University of the West Indies Mona Campus (UWI) and the Statistical Department of the CARICOM Secretariat.

The preliminary results of this research was presented was reviewed by representatives of Member States in February 2013. They recommended that there should be a further review by technical experts such as national economists and other specialists for further refinement, if necessary. This technical meeting was held on September 26th 2013 at the Hilton Barbados, Needham’s Point, St. Michael, Barbados.

 

 

Link to The CEO’s opening remarks to the meeting.