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The International Monetary Fund: Its Present Role in Historical Perspective

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  • Michael D. Bordo
  • Harold James

Abstract

In this paper we describe what the IMF is and what it does. We consider its origins as the guardian of the Bretton Woods adjustable peg exchange rate system and financier of temporary current account deficits for advanced countries, to its present primary roles as development financier and crisis manager for the emerging world. We consider the externalities or market failures that the IMF is believed by many to correct and the public goods that the IMF provides. Critics of the IMF downplay the extent of market failure and the scope of public goods provided. They attach greater importance to market solutions. We consider their views as well. We conclude with a discussion of the case for reform in the light of historical experience.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7724.

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Date of creation: Jun 2000
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7724

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  1. Dani Rodrik, 1995. "Why is there Multilateral Lending?," NBER Working Papers 5160, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Obstfeld, Maurice & Taylor, Alan M, 1997. "The Great Depression as a Watershed: International Capital Mobility over the Long Run," CEPR Discussion Papers 1633, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Michael Bordo & Michael Edelstein, 1999. "Was Adherence to the Gold Standard a "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval" During the Interwar Period?," NBER Working Papers 7186, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Graciela Kaminsky & Saul Lizondo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1998. "Leading Indicators of Currency Crises," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(1), pages 1-48, March.
  5. Steven Radelet & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1998. "The East Asian Financial Crisis: Diagnosis, Remedies, Prospects," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 1-90.
  6. Michael J. Artis, 1996. "How Accurate Are the Imf's Short-Term Forecasts? Another Examination of the World Economic Outlook," IMF Working Papers 96/89, International Monetary Fund.
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