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The political economy of participation in IMF programs: a disaggregated empirical analysis

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  • Graham Bird
  • Jim Mylonas
  • Dane Rowlands

Abstract

What factors determine whether or not countries have programs with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)? The existing literature suggests that a number of economic and political variables are important, but there is disagreement about their relative significance. Moreover, the fit of general participation models is not particularly good. An increasingly popular view in the recent literature is that the pattern of IMF lending is politically driven and that it reflects the interests of the Fund's leading shareholders; the US is seen as exerting a powerful influence. Using both quantitative and qualitative techniques, and based on an informal analytical framework, we examine in detail the factors that may be at work. We cover the period from 1984 to 2008. We discover considerable variation across the nature of programs (concessional and non-concessional), income levels, geographic regions, and time periods. The degree of observed variation means that it is unsafe to use one general participation model as the basis for evaluating the effects of IMF programs. It also means that the design of policy needs to reflect the nuances that the data reveal.

Suggested Citation

  • Graham Bird & Jim Mylonas & Dane Rowlands, 2015. "The political economy of participation in IMF programs: a disaggregated empirical analysis," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(3), pages 221-243, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jpolrf:v:18:y:2015:i:3:p:221-243
    DOI: 10.1080/17487870.2015.1019289
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    Cited by:

    1. Dennis Essers & Stefaan Ide, 2017. "The IMF and precautionary lending : An empirical evaluation of the selectivity and effectiveness of the flexible credit line," Working Paper Research 323, National Bank of Belgium.
    2. Dennis Essers & Stefaan Ide, 2017. "The IMF and precautionary lending : An empirical evaluation of the selectivity and effectiveness of the flexible credit line," Working Paper Research 323, National Bank of Belgium.
    3. Niklas Potrafke & Markus Reischmann, 2016. "Wie soll mit der Krise in Griechenland umgegangen werden? Eine Umfrage unter internationalen Experten," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 69(10), pages 34-36, May.
    4. Ali M. Kutan & Yaz Gülnür Muradoğlu & Zhong Yu, 2016. "Worldwide impact of IMF policies during the Asian crisis: who does the IMF help, creditors or crisis countries?," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 116-147, June.
    5. Niklas Potrafke & Markus Reischmann, 2016. "How to Handle the Crisis in Greece? Empirical Evidence Based on a Survey of Economics Experts," CESifo Working Paper Series 5860, CESifo Group Munich.

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