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IMF Conditionality, Implementation and the New Political Economy of Ownership


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  • Graham Bird

    (Surrey Centre for International Economic Studies, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK.)

  • Thomas D Willett

    (The Claremont Colleges, 160 East 10th Street, Claremont, CA 91711, USA.)


Recent attempts to explain the implementation of conditionality incorporated in IMF-supported programmes have used the concept of ‘ownership’. A literature on ownership has begun to emerge and, alongside this, policy changes in the form of streamlining conditionality and broadening participation in its design have been introduced to encourage ownership. However, ownership is difficult to define precisely and this limits its operational value. This paper focuses instead on implementation and suggests that wider participation will not guarantee better implementation. However, it stresses that political economy variables are important in assessing the chances of implementation and argues that these need to be considered more fully than they are at present when programmes are being negotiated. We suggest a narrow concept of ownership that focuses on prospects for implementation. One implication is that the Fund may have to make concessions on the technical design of programmes in order to maximise the chances that improved policies will be adopted. Comparative Economic Studies (2004) 46, 423–450. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ces.8100060

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan in its journal Comparative Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 46 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 423-450

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Handle: RePEc:pal:compes:v:46:y:2004:i:3:p:423-450

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Cited by:
  1. Dreher, Axel, 2005. "IMF and Economic Growth: The Effects of Programs, Loans, and Compliance with Conditionality," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Kiel 2005 11, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  2. Javed, Omer, 2014. "Institutional quality, macroeconomic stabilization and economic growth: a case study of IMF programme countries," MPRA Paper 56370, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Axel Dreher & Stefanie Walter, 2008. "Does the IMF Help or Hurt? The Effect of IMF programs on the likelihood and outcome of currency crises," KOF Working papers, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich 08-186, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  4. Abbott, Philip & Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck & Tarp, Finn, 2010. "IMF and economic reform in developing countries," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 17-26, February.
  5. Graham Bird & Dane Rowlands, 2007. "The IMF and the mobilisation of foreign aid," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(5), pages 856-870.
  6. Oscar Calvo-Gonzalez, 2007. "Ownership and conditionality in IMF-supported programs: Back to Per Jacobsson’s time," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 329-343, December.
  7. Graham Bird, 2005. "Over-optimism and the IMF," School of Economics Discussion Papers, School of Economics, University of Surrey 0505, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  8. Axel Dreher, 2005. "Does the IMF Influence Fiscal and Monetary Policy?," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(3), pages 225-238.
  9. Graham Bird, 2006. "The Implementation of IMF Programs: A Conceptual Framework," School of Economics Discussion Papers, School of Economics, University of Surrey 1506, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  10. Graham Bird & Wolfgang Mayer & Alex Mourmouras, 2005. "The Viability of Economic Reform Programs Supported by the International Financial Institutions," School of Economics Discussion Papers, School of Economics, University of Surrey 0605, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  11. M. Abouharb & David Cingranelli, 2009. "IMF programs and human rights, 1981–2003," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 47-72, March.


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