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The Politics of IMF Forecasts

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  • Axel Dreher

    ()
    (KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich)

  • Silvia Marchesi

    ()
    (University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics)

  • James Raymond Vreeland

    ()
    (Yale University, Department of Political Science, USA)

Abstract

Using panel data for 157 countries over the period 1999-2005 we empirically investigate the politics involved in IMF economic forecasts. We find a systematic bias in growth and inflation forecasts. Our results indicate that countries voting in line with the US in the UN General Assembly receive lower inflation forecasts. As the US is the Fund’s major shareholder, this result supports the hypothesis that the Fund’s forecasts are not purely based on economic considerations. We further find inflation forecasts are systematically biased downwards for countries with greater IMF loans outstanding relative to GDP, indicating that the IMF engages in “defensive forecasting.” Countries with a fixed exchange rate regime also receive low inflation forecasts. Considering the detrimental effects that inflation can have under such an exchange rate regime, we consider this evidence consistent with the Fund’s desire to preserve economic stability.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 07-176.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:07-176

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Keywords: IMF; Economic Forecasts; Political Influence;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Reynaud, Julien & Vauday, Julien, 2009. "Geopolitics and international organizations: An empirical study on IMF facilities," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 139-162, May.
  2. Kilby, Christopher, 2009. "The political economy of conditionality: An empirical analysis of World Bank loan disbursements," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 51-61, May.
  3. Jan-Christoph Ruelke, 2012. "Do Private Sector Forecasters Desire to Deviate From the German Council of Economic Experts?," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 232(4), pages 414-428, July.

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