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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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    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. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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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