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On the Viability of Conditional Assistance Programs

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  • Wolfgang Mayer
  • Alex Mourmouras

Abstract

Economic adjustment and reform programs, including those supported by international financial institutions (IFIs), must cope with informational asymmetries and special interest politics. This presents a particularly serious issue when IFIs make structural economic reforms a condition for providing economic assistance. This paper examines what conditions must be satisfied to make conditional assistance programs viable; that is, to ensure that the assistancereceiving government not only takes the assistance but also implements reforms, without compromising the country's political stability and the IFI's financial integrity. It is pointed out that tightly budgeted conditional assistance programs never bring about reforms, that the IFI's cost of viable programs rises with the dependence of the government on domestic interest groups, and that unconditional assistance might be viable when conditional assistance is not.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolfgang Mayer & Alex Mourmouras, 2005. "On the Viability of Conditional Assistance Programs," IMF Working Papers 05/121, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:05/121
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Allan Drazen, 2002. "Conditionality and Ownership in IMF Lending: A Political Economy Approach," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 49(Special i), pages 36-67.
    2. Dollar, David & Svensson, Jakob, 2000. "What Explains the Success or Failure of Structural Adjustment Programmes?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 894-917, October.
    3. Svensson, Jakob, 2003. "Why conditional aid does not work and what can be done about it?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 381-402, April.
    4. Hillman, Arye L, 1982. "Declining Industries and Political-Support Protectionist Motives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1180-1187, December.
    5. Wolfgang Mayer & Alexandros Mourmouras, 2005. "The Political Economy of IMF Conditionality: A Common Agency Model," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(4), pages 449-466, November.
    6. Marchesi, Silvia & Thomas, Jonathan P, 1999. "IMF Conditionality as a Screening Device," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages 111-125, March.
    7. Michael Mussa & Miguel Savastano, 2000. "The IMF Approach to Economic Stabilization," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1999, Volume 14, pages 79-128 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Bhagwati, Jagdish N., 1980. "Lobbying and welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 355-363, December.
    9. Drazen, Allan, 2002. "Conditionality and Ownership in IMF Lending: A Political Economy Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 3562, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Graham Bird & Wolfgang Mayer & Alex Mourmouras, 2005. "The Viability of Economic Reform Programs Supported by the International Financial Institutions," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0605, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
    2. Wolfgang Mayer & Alex Mourmouras, 2008. "IMF conditionality: An approach based on the theory of special interest politics," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 105-121, June.
    3. Sherif Khalifa, 2010. "Conditionality covenants: Commitment versus discretion in sovereign credit contracts," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(4), pages 411-423.
    4. Jeronimo Zettelmeyer & Jonathan David Ostry & Olivier D Jeanne, 2008. "A Theory of International Crisis Lending and IMF Conditionality," IMF Working Papers 08/236, International Monetary Fund.

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