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The IMF: A Bird's Eye View of its Role and Operations

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  • Graham Bird

    (University of Surrey)

Abstract

The International Monetary Fund is the world’s premier international financial institution with 184 member countries and active programmes in a significant number of them at any one time. The Fund attracts a great deal of attention, much of it critical. But the discussion is often polemic in style. Strongly held, but frequently opposing, views are expressed. This survey attempts to examine, in an objective way, the theory and evidence relating to the Fund’s operations. Many aspects of the empirical research are relatively recent and a universal consensus is yet to emerge; as a consequence there is scope for disagreement to persist. However, the research is also gradually clarifying many important issues. The format for the survey is to examine the life cycle of IMF arrangements. What makes a country turn to the Fund for assistance? Should the IMF be lending? What influences the outcome of negotiations and the design of programmes? Are IMF programmes effective? And why do some countries make prolonged use of IMF resources? For completeness there is also some discussion of the history of the IMF, the extent to which Fund policies have been influenced by advances in economic theory and the Fund’s systemic role. Important organizational and governance issues are also covered briefly. Although primarily adopting an economist’s perspective, the survey reflects the growing recognition that in order to understand the IMF’s operations, economics has to be combined with politics. Examining the IMF is an exercise in applied political economy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Surrey in its series School of Economics Discussion Papers with number 0407.

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Length: 116 pages
Date of creation:
Date of revision: Jan 2007
Handle: RePEc:sur:surrec:0407

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Keywords: IMF;

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Cited by:
  1. Christoph Moser & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2011. "Explaining IMF Lending Decisions after the Cold War," KOF Working papers 11-279, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  2. Chami, Ralph & Sharma, Sunil & Shim, Ilhyock, 2007. "A Model of the IMF as a Coinsurance Arrangement," Economics Discussion Papers 2007-26, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  3. Jeffrey Chwieroth, 2009. "Grigore Pop-Eleches. 2009. From Economic Crisis to Reform: IMF Programs in Latin American and Eastern Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press)," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 215-218, June.
  4. Graham Bird & Alex Mandilaras, 2009. "Once Bitten: The Effect of IMF Programs on Subsequent Reserve Behaviour," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0509, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  5. Fabian Fink & Almuth Scholl, 2011. "A Quantitative Model of Sovereign Debt, Bailouts and Conditionality," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2011-46, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  6. 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.
  7. Luca Papi & Andrea Filippo Presbitero & Alberto Zazzaro, 2013. "IMF Lending and Banking Crises," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 80, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
  8. Andrea F. Presbitero & Alberto Zazzaro, 2010. "IMF Lending in Low- and Middle-Income Countries in the Wake of the Global Crisis," Development Working Papers 305, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  9. Dreher, Axel & Walter, Stefanie, 2010. "Does the IMF Help or Hurt? The Effect of IMF Programs on the Likelihood and Outcome of Currency Crises," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 1-18, January.
  10. Javed, Omer, 2013. "Determinants of Institutional Quality: A Case Study of IMF Programme Countries," MPRA Paper 51344, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Florian Kirsch & Ronald Rühmkorf, 2013. "Sovereign Borrowing, Financial Assistance and Debt Repudiation," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse01_2013, University of Bonn, Germany.
  12. Martin Steinwand & Randall Stone, 2008. "The International Monetary Fund: A review of the recent evidence," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 123-149, June.
  13. Yasemin Bal-Gunduz, 2009. "Estimating Demand for IMF Financing by Low-Income Countries in Response to Shocks," IMF Working Papers 09/263, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Abbott, Philip & Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck & Tarp, Finn, 2010. "IMF and economic reform in developing countries," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 17-26, February.

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