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Do IMF and World Bank Programs Induce Government Crises? An Empirical Analysis


  • Dreher, Axel
  • Gassebner, Martin


We examine whether and under what circumstances World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) programs affect the likelihood of major government crises. We find that crises are, on average, more likely as a consequence of World Bank programs. We also find that governments face an increasing risk of entering a crisis when they remain under an IMF or World Bank arrangement once the economy's performance improves. The international financial institution's (IFI) scapegoat function thus seems to lose its value when the need for financial support is less urgent. While the probability of a crisis increases when a government turns to the IFIs, programs inherited by preceding governments do not affect the probability of a crisis. This is in line with two interpretations. First, the conclusion of IFI programs can signal the government's incompetence, and second, governments that inherit programs might be less likely to implement program conditions agreed to by their predecessors.

Suggested Citation

  • Dreher, Axel & Gassebner, Martin, 2012. "Do IMF and World Bank Programs Induce Government Crises? An Empirical Analysis," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(02), pages 329-358, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:66:y:2012:i:02:p:329-358_00

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    17. repec:hrv:faseco:34721963 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Liesbet Hooghe & Gary Marks, 2015. "Delegation and pooling in international organizations," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 305-328, September.
    2. Aidt, Toke & Albornoz, Facundo & Gassebner, Martin, 2010. "The Golden Halo and Political Transitions," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Hannover 2010 48, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    3. Kersting, Erasmus K. & Kilby, Christopher, 2016. "With a little help from my friends: Global electioneering and World Bank lending," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 153-165.
    4. Christoph Moser & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2011. "Explaining IMF lending decisions after the Cold War," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 307-340, September.
    5. Doris A. Oberdabernig, 2018. "Determinants of IMF lending: How different is Sub-Saharan Africa?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 38(1), pages 136-145.
    6. Li, Larry & Sy, Malick & McMurray, Adela, 2015. "Insights into the IMF bailout debate: A review and research agenda," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 891-914.
    7. Psofogiorgos, Nikolaos - Alexandros & Metaxas, Theodore, 2017. "IMF, Democracy and Economic Development: Review and Critique," MPRA Paper 79403, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. repec:spr:revint:v:12:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11558-016-9250-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Soumyajit Mazumder, 2016. "Can I stay a BIT longer? The effect of bilateral investment treaties on political survival," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 477-521, December.
    10. Lang, Valentin, 2016. "The Economics of the Democratic Deficit: The Effect of IMF Programs on Inequality," Working Papers 0617, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies


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