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A true test: do IMF programs hurt the poor?

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  • Zlata Hajro
  • Joseph Joyce

Abstract

This article analyses the effect of IMF programs on poverty with data from 82 countries during 1985-2000. Two indicators of poverty, infant mortality rates and the human development index (HDI), are utilized, and the effects of the IMF's concessionary and nonconcessionary programs are investigated, as well as economic and institutional factors. The results show that the IMF's programs have no significant direct impact on poverty. Growth and good institutions, however, both have significant impacts, lowering infant mortality and increasing the HDI. The Fund's concessionary programs increase the impact of growth on lowering infant mortality, while the nonconcessionary programs lower the impact of growth on the HDI. “Where a great proportion of the people are suffered to languish in helpless misery, that country must be ill policed, and wretchedly governed; a decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.” -Samuel Johnson, 1791 “… once a country was in crisis, IMF funds and programs not only failed to stabilize the situation but in many cases actually made things worse, especially for the poor.” -Joseph Stiglitz, 2002

Suggested Citation

  • Zlata Hajro & Joseph Joyce, 2009. "A true test: do IMF programs hurt the poor?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(3), pages 295-306.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:41:y:2009:i:3:p:295-306
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840601007229
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paul Cashin & Catherine A Pattillo & Ratna Sahay & Paolo Mauro, 2001. "Macroeconomic Policies and Poverty Reduction; Stylized Facts and an Overview of Research," IMF Working Papers 01/135, International Monetary Fund.
    2. International Monetary Fund, 1998. "Do IMF-Supported Programs Work? A Survey of the Cross-Country Empirical Evidence," IMF Working Papers 98/169, International Monetary Fund.
    3. F. Rozwadowski & Siddharth Tiwari & David Robinson & Susan M Schadler, 1993. "Economic Adjustment in Low-Income Countries; Experience Under the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility," IMF Occasional Papers 106, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Caroline M Kende-Robb, 2003. "Poverty and Social Impact Analysis; Linking Macroeconomic Policies to Poverty Outcomes: Summary of Early Experiences," IMF Working Papers 03/43, International Monetary Fund.
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    Cited by:

    1. Oberdabernig, Doris A., 2013. "Revisiting the Effects of IMF Programs on Poverty and Inequality," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 113-142.
    2. Axel Dreher, 2009. "IMF conditionality: theory and evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 141(1), pages 233-267, October.
    3. Matthew Hoddie & Caroline A. Hartzell, 2014. "Short-Term Pain, Long-Term Gain? The Effects of IMF Economic Reform Programs on Public Health Performance," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1022-1042, December.
    4. Fidel Gonzalez & Troy Quast, 2009. "Does the Relationship Between Mortality and the Business Cycle Vary by the Level of Economic Development? Evidence from Mexico," Working Papers 0908, Sam Houston State University, Department of Economics and International Business.
    5. Dreher, Axel, 2006. "IMF and economic growth: The effects of programs, loans, and compliance with conditionality," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 769-788, May.
    6. Rickard, Stephanie J. & Caraway, Teri L., 2018. "International demands for austerity: examining the impact of the IMF on the public sector," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86636, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. ORASTEAN Ramona, 2014. "The Lending Arrangements Of The Imf In European Union In Times Of Crisis – Characteristics And Evolutions," Studies in Business and Economics, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Faculty of Economic Sciences, vol. 9(1), pages 134-141, April.
    8. Michael D. Bordo & Ashoka Mody & Nienke Oomes, 2004. "Keeping Capital Flowing: The Role of the IMF," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 421-450, December.
    9. Andrea Filippo Presbitero & Alberto Zazzaro, 2010. "The Global Crisis in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: How the IMF Responded," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 35, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.

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