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The IMF and the force of History; Ten Events and Ten Ideas that Have Shaped the Institution


  • James M. Boughton


The International Monetary Fund was designed during World War II by men whose worldview had been shaped by the Great War and the Great Depression. Their views on how the postwar international monetary system should function were also shaped by their economics training and their nationalities. After the IMF began functioning as an institution, its evolution was similarly driven by a combination of political events (Suez, African independence, the collapse of global communism), economic events (the rising economic power of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia), and trends and cycles in economic theory (the monetary approach to the balance of payments, new classical economics, the rise and fall of the Washington Consensus). As they happened, these forces had effects that were perceived as adaptations to current events and new ideas within a fixed institutional structure and mandate. The cumulative effect of history on the institution has been rather more profound and requires a longer and larger perspective.

Suggested Citation

  • James M. Boughton, 2004. "The IMF and the force of History; Ten Events and Ten Ideas that Have Shaped the Institution," IMF Working Papers 04/75, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:04/75

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Shim, Ilhyock & Sharma, Sunil & Chami, Ralph, 2008. "A Model of the IMF as a Coinsurance Arrangement," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 2, pages 1-41.
    2. Christoph Moser & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2011. "Explaining IMF lending decisions after the Cold War," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 307-340, September.
    3. Manuelito, Sandra & Sáinz, Pedro, 2006. "Relative prices in Latin America in periods of low inflation and structural change," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), August.
    4. Cedrini Mario, 2007. "Consensus vs. freedom of consensus upon freedom? From Washington disorder to the rediscovery of Keynes," CESMEP Working Papers 200708, University of Turin.
    5. Akram, Q. Farooq, 2011. "Policy analysis in real time using IMF's monetary model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 1696-1709, July.
    6. Jonathan David Ostry & Jeronimo Zettelmeyer, 2005. "Strengthening IMF Crisis Prevention," IMF Working Papers 05/206, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Eugenio M Cerutti, 2007. "IMF Drawing Programs; Participation Determinants and Forecasting," IMF Working Papers 07/152, International Monetary Fund.


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