Selection Bias and the Output Costs of IMF Programs
AbstractQuestions over the role of the IMF in the economic development and adjustment in developing countries have been the topic of intensive research and debate in recent years. Although most studies find that participation in an IMF program helps facilitate balance of payments adjustment, research in this area almost uniformly finds that growth is reduced at the same time (e.g. Bordo and Schwartz, 2000; Przeworski and Vreeland, 2000). In this paper we emphasize that the evaluation of the benefits and costs of participating in IMF-sponsored stabilization programs is complicated by the fact that countries typically enter into an agreement with the IMF only when facing dire economic problems. We argue that the sample selection bias is mainly responsible for the common perception that real output growth declines because countries choose to participate in IMF programs. This article uses four recently developed “matching” statistical methods (e.g. Heckman et al., 1997 and 1998; Rubin and Thomas, 1992; and others), based on the “selection on observables” bias, to estimate the growth effects of IMF program participation. In contrast with the extant literature, none of the matching method results (nearest neighbor, strata, radius and regression-adjusted) find an adverse growth effect. Rather, there is some evidence of a positive impulse to economic growth when countries entering IMF programs are compared to the appropriate counter-factual (i.e. non-participating countries with similar characteristics).
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series EPRU Working Paper Series with number 04-15.
Length: 16 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2004
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
- F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
- F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
- O19 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-01-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEV-2005-01-02 (Development)
- NEP-MAC-2005-01-02 (Macroeconomics)
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