IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ecl/harjfk/15-077.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The International Monetary Fund: 70 Years of Reinvention

Author

Listed:
  • Reinhart, Carmen

    (Harvard University)

  • Trebesch, Christoph

    (University of Munich)

Abstract

A sketch of the International Monetary Fund's 70-year history reveals an institution that has reinvented itself over time along multiple dimensions. This history is primarily consistent with a "demand driven" theory of institutional change, as the needs of its clients and the type of crisis changed substantially over time. Some deceptively "new" IMF activities are not entirely new. Before emerging market economies dominated IMF programs, advanced economies were its earliest (and largest) clients through the 1970s. While currency problems were the dominant trigger of IMF involvement in the earlier decades, banking crises and sovereign defaults became they key focus since the 1980s. Around this time, the IMF shifted from providing relatively brief (and comparatively modest) balance-of-payments support in the era of fixed exchange rates to coping with more chronic debt sustainability problems that emerged with force in the developing nations and now migrated to advanced ones. As a consequence, the IMF has engaged in "serial lending", with programs often spanning decades. Moreover, the institution faces a growing risk of lending into insolvency, most widespread among low income countries in chronic arrears to the official sector, but most evident in the case of Greece since 2010. We conclude that these practices impair the IMF's role as an international lender of last resort.

Suggested Citation

  • Reinhart, Carmen & Trebesch, Christoph, 2015. "The International Monetary Fund: 70 Years of Reinvention," Working Paper Series 15-077, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:15-077
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://research.hks.harvard.edu/publications/getFile.aspx?Id=1291
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates," Introductory Chapters, in: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, Princeton University Press.
    2. Sebastian Edwards, 1989. "The International Monetary Fund and the Developing Countries: A Critical Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 2909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Carmen M. Reinhart & M. Belen Sbrancia1, 2015. "The liquidation of government debt," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 30(82), pages 291-333.
    4. Carmen M. Reinhart & Christoph Trebesch, 2016. "Sovereign Debt Relief And Its Aftermath," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 215-251, February.
    5. Serkan Arslanalp & Takahiro Tsuda, 2014. "Tracking Global Demand for Advanced Economy Sovereign Debt," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 62(3), pages 430-464, August.
    6. Rose, Andrew K., 2005. "One reason countries pay their debts: renegotiation and international trade," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 189-206, June.
    7. Òscar Jordà & Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2011. "When credit bites back: leverage, business cycles, and crises," Working Paper Series 2011-27, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, revised 2011.
    8. Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195101133.
    9. Jeremy Bulow & Kenneth Rogoff, 2005. "Grants versus Loans for Development Banks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 393-397, May.
    10. Stanley Fischer, 1999. "On the Need for an International Lender of Last Resort," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 85-104, Fall.
    11. N/A, 2009. "On the Recession," Local Economy, London South Bank University, vol. 24(3), pages 253-253, May.
    12. Carmen M. Reinhart & Graciela L. Kaminsky, 1999. "The Twin Crises: The Causes of Banking and Balance-of-Payments Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 473-500, June.
    13. Anne O. Krueger, 1998. "Whither the World Bank and the IMF?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1983-2020, December.
    14. Valerie Cerra & Sweta Chaman Saxena, 2008. "Growth Dynamics: The Myth of Economic Recovery," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 439-457, March.
    15. Reinhart, Karmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. ""This time is different": panorama of eight centuries of financial crises," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 77-114, March.
    16. Stone, Randall W., 2004. "The Political Economy of IMF Lending in Africa," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 98(4), pages 577-591, November.
    17. Dell'Ariccia, Giovanni & Detragiache, Enrica & Rajan, Raghuram, 2008. "The real effect of banking crises," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 89-112, January.
    18. 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.
    19. Stijn Claessens & M. Ayhan Kose & Marco E. Terrones, 2009. "What happens during recessions, crunches and busts?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 24, pages 653-700, October.
    20. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Maurice Obstfeld, 2012. "Stories of the Twentieth Century for the Twenty-First," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 226-265, January.
    21. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2014. "This Time is Different: A Panoramic View of Eight Centuries of Financial Crises," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(2), pages 215-268, November.
    22. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. "This Time It’s Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly-Preface," MPRA Paper 17451, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    23. Edwards, Sebastian, 1989. "The international monetary fund and the developing countries: A critical evaluation," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 7-68, January.
    24. International Monetary Fund, 2013. "Greece; Ex Post Evaluation of Exceptional Access Under the 2010 Stand-By Arrangement," IMF Staff Country Reports 13/156, International Monetary Fund.
    25. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Trebesch, Christoph, 2014. "A Distant Mirror of Debt, Default, and Relief," CEPR Discussion Papers 10195, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    26. Ashoka Mody & Diego Saravia, 2006. "Catalysing Private Capital Flows: Do IMF Programmes Work as Commitment Devices?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(513), pages 843-867, July.
    27. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. "This Time It’s Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly-Chapter 1," MPRA Paper 17452, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    28. Bird, Graham & Hussain, Mumtaz & Joyce, Joseph P., 2004. "Many happy returns? Recidivism and the IMF," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 231-251, March.
    29. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Cleaning Up Third World Debt without Getting Taken to the Cleaners," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 31-42, Winter.
    30. Joseph P. Joyce, 2005. "Time Past and Time Present: a Duration Analysis of IMF Program Spells," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 283-297, May.
    31. 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.
    32. Carmen M. Reinhart & Vincent R. Reinhart, 2015. "Financial Crises, Development, and Growth: A Long-term Perspective," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 29(suppl_1), pages 53-76.
    33. Aitor Erce, 2013. "Sovereign debt restructurings and the IMF: implications for future official interventions," Globalization Institute Working Papers 143, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, revised 2013.
    34. Juan J. Cruces & Christoph Trebesch, 2013. "Sovereign Defaults: The Price of Haircuts," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 85-117, July.
    35. Javier Díaz-Cassou & Aitor Erce-Domínguez & Juan J. Vázquez-Zamora, 2008. "The role of the IMF in recent sovereign debt restructurings: Implications for the policy of lending into arrears," Occasional Papers 0805, Banco de España;Occasional Papers Homepage.
    36. Carmen M. Reinhart & M. Belen Sbrancia1, 2015. "The liquidation of government debt," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 30(82), pages 291-333.
    37. Carmen M. Reinhart & Christoph Trebesch, 2015. "Sovereign Debt Relief and its Aftermath," CESifo Working Paper Series 5422, CESifo.
    38. Anne O. Krueger, 1978. "Foreign Trade Regimes and Economic Development: Liberalization Attempts and Consequences," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number krue78-1, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Vincent Reinhart & Christoph Trebesch, 2016. "Global Cycles: Capital Flows, Commodities, and Sovereign Defaults, 1815-2015," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 574-580, May.
    2. Alice Nicole Sindzingre, 2015. "‘Policy Externalisation’ Inherent Failure: International Financial Institutions’ Conditionality in Developing Countries," Post-Print hal-01668363, HAL.
    3. Corsetti, G. & Erce, A. & Uy, T., 2017. "Official Sector Lending Strategies During the Euro Area Crisis," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1730, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    4. Irina Balteanu & Aitor Erce, 2018. "Linking Bank Crises and Sovereign Defaults: Evidence from Emerging Markets," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 66(4), pages 617-664, December.
    5. Claudia Maurini, 2019. "IMF programs and stigma in Emerging Market Economies," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1247, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    6. Dominguez-Cardoza, Angelica & Trebesch, Christoph, 2019. "Und wieder Argentinien: Warum das Land vor dem neunten Staatsbankrott steht," Kiel Policy Brief 130, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    7. Kuvshinov, Dmitry & Zimmermann, Kaspar, 2019. "Sovereigns going bust: Estimating the cost of default," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 1-21.
    8. Panchyshyn, Stepan & Hrabynska, Iryna, 2018. "About Spells And Recidivism Of The Transition Economies’ Participation In Imf Programs," EUREKA: Social and Humanities, Scientific Route OU, issue 5, pages 36-46.
    9. Scheubel, Beatrice & Tafuro, Andrea & Vonessen, Benjamin, 2018. "Stigma? What stigma? A contribution to the debate on financial market effects of IMF lending," Working Paper Series 2198, European Central Bank.
    10. Horn, Sebastian & Reinhart, Carmen M. & Trebesch, Christoph, 2019. "China's Overseas Lending," CEPR Discussion Papers 13867, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Axel Dreher & Valentin F. Lang, 2016. "The Political Economy of International Organizations," CESifo Working Paper Series 6077, CESifo.
    12. Trebesch, Christoph & Zabel, Michael, 2017. "The output costs of hard and soft sovereign default," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 416-432.
    13. Cui, Wei, 2017. "Macroeconomic effects of delayed capital liquidation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86156, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    14. Carmen M. Reinhart, 2019. "Financial crises: past and future," Business Economics, Palgrave Macmillan;National Association for Business Economics, vol. 54(1), pages 3-15, January.
    15. Beatrice D. Scheubel & Andrea Tafuro & Benjamin Vonessen, 2018. "STIGMA? WHAT STIGMA? A Contribution to the Debate on the Effectiveness of IMF Lending," CESifo Working Paper Series 7036, CESifo.
    16. Choi, Sangyup & Hashimoto, Yuko, 2018. "Does transparency pay? Evidence from IMF data transparency policy reforms and emerging market sovereign bond spreads," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 171-190.
    17. Hippolyte W. Balima & Amadou N Sy, 2019. "The Impact of Bailouts on the Probability of Sovereign Debt Crises: Evidence from IMF-Supported Programs," IMF Working Papers 19/2, International Monetary Fund.
    18. Irina Andone & Beatrice D. Scheubel, 2017. "Memorable Encounters? Own and Neighbours' Experience with IMF Conditionality and IMF Stigma," CESifo Working Paper Series 6399, CESifo.
    19. Corsetti, G. & Erce, A. & Uy, T., 2018. "Debt Sustainability and the Terms of Official Support," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1864, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    20. Kai Gehring & Valentin F. Lang, 2018. "Stigma or Cushion? IMF Programs and Sovereign Creditworthiness," CESifo Working Paper Series 7339, CESifo.
    21. Jean-Marc Bédhat Atsebi & Jean-Louis Combes & Alexandru Minea, 2019. "The trade costs of financial crises," Working Papers halshs-01990335, HAL.
    22. Franck A. Malan, 2018. "Does being an IMF executive board member (Re)pay? An examination of IMF loans and repayments," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(10), pages 2669-2690, October.
    23. Andone, Irina & Scheubel, Beatrice, 2019. "Once bitten: new evidence on the link between IMF conditionality and IMF stigma," Working Paper Series 2262, European Central Bank.
    24. Luo, Jie & Wang, Cheng, 2018. "Optimal sovereign lending and default," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 190-213.
    25. Irina Balteanu & Aitor Erce, 2014. "Banking crises and sovereign defaults in emerging markets: exploring the links," Working Papers 1414, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
    • F55 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Institutional Arrangements
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • N0 - Economic History - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:15-077. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/ksharus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.