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Politics and IMF Conditionality

  • Axel Dreher
  • Jan-Egbert Sturm
  • James Raymond Vreeland

Bailouts sponsored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are famous for their conditionality: in return for continued installments of desperately needed loans, governments must comply with austere policy changes. Many have suggested, however, that politically important countries face rather weak stringency. Obstacles to testing this hypothesis include finding a measure of political importance that is not plagued by endogeneity and obtaining data on IMF conditionality. We propose to measure political importance using temporary membership on the United Nations Security Council and analyze a newly available dataset on the level of conditionality attached to (a maximum of) 314 IMF arrangements with 101 countries over the 1992 to 2008 period. We find a negative relationship: Security Council members receive about 30 percent fewer conditions. This suggests that the major shareholders of the IMF trade softer conditionality in return for political influence over the Security Council.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4308.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4308
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  1. Jan-Egbert Sturm & Helge Berger & Jakob de Haan, 2005. "Which Variables Explain Decisions On Imf Credit? An Extreme Bounds Analysis," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17, pages 177-213, 07.
  2. Graham Bird, 2001. "IMF Programmes: Is there a conditionality Laffer Curve?," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 2(2), pages 29-49, April.
  3. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2005. "IMF programs: Who is chosen and what are the effects?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1245-1269, October.
  4. Christoph Moser & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2011. "Explaining IMF Lending Decisions after the Cold War," KOF Working papers 11-279, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  5. Axel Dreher & Nathan Jensen, 2005. "Independent Actor or Agent? An Empirical Analysis of the impact of US interests on IMF Conditions," KOF Working papers 05-118, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  6. Axel Dreher & Roland Vaubel, 2004. "Do IMF and IBRD Cause Moral Hazard and Political Business Cycles? Evidence from Panel Data," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 5-22, January.
  7. Voeten, Erik, 2005. "The Political Origins of the UN Security Council's Ability to Legitimize the Use of Force," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(03), pages 527-557, July.
  8. James Vreeland, 2011. "Foreign aid and global governance: Buying Bretton Woods – the Swiss-bloc case," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 369-391, September.
  9. Ilyana Kuziemko & Eric Werker, 2006. "How Much Is a Seat on the Security Council Worth? Foreign Aid and Bribery at the United Nations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(5), pages 905-930, October.
  10. Kevin Morrison, 2013. "Membership no longer has its privileges: The declining informal influence of Board members on IDA lending," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 291-312, June.
  11. Axel Dreher & Matthew Gould & Matthew Rablen & James Raymond Vreeland, 2012. "The Determinants of Election to the United Nations Security Council," CESifo Working Paper Series 3902, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. World Bank, 2008. "World Development Indicators 2008," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11855, March.
  13. Christopher Kilby, 2010. "Informal influence in the Asian Development Bank," Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series 13, Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics.
  14. Dreher, Axel & Sturm, Jan-Egbert & Vreeland, James Raymond, 2009. "Global horse trading: IMF loans for votes in the United Nations Security Council," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 742-757, October.
  15. Alex Mourmouras & Anna Ivanova & George C. Anayotos & Wolfgang Mayer, 2003. "What Determines the Implementation of IMF-Supported Programs?," IMF Working Papers 03/8, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Caraway, Teri L. & Rickard, Stephanie J. & Anner, Mark S., 2012. "International Negotiations and Domestic Politics: The Case of IMF Labor Market Conditionality," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(01), pages 27-61, January.
  17. Thompson, Alexander, 2006. "Coercion Through IOs: The Security Council and the Logic of Information Transmission," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 1-34, January.
  18. Christopher Kilby, 2006. "Donor influence in multilateral development banks: The case of the Asian Development Bank," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 173-195, June.
  19. Gould, Erica R., 2003. "Money Talks: Supplementary Financiers and International Monetary Fund Conditionality," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(03), pages 551-586, June.
  20. Helen Milner & Dustin Tingley, 2013. "The choice for multilateralism: Foreign aid and American foreign policy," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 313-341, September.
  21. Ruben Atoyan & Patrick Conway, 2006. "Evaluating the impact of IMF programs: A comparison of matching and instrumental-variable estimators," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 99-124, June.
  22. Silvia Marchesi & Emanuela Sirtori, 2011. "Is two better than one? The effects of IMF and World Bank interaction on growth," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 287-306, September.
  23. Kilby, Christopher, 2009. "The political economy of conditionality: An empirical analysis of World Bank loan disbursements," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 51-61, May.
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