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A true test: do IMF programs hurt the poor?

Listed author(s):
  • Zlata Hajro
  • Joseph Joyce

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

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 41 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 295-306

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Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:41:y:2009:i:3:p:295-306
DOI: 10.1080/00036840601007229
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