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The Politics of IMF Forecasts

  • Axel Dreher
  • Silvia Marchesi
  • James Raymond Vreeland

Using panel data for 157 countries over the period 1999-2005 we empirically investigate the politics involved in IMF economic forecasts. We find a systematic bias in growth and inflation forecasts. Our results indicate that countries voting in line with the US in the UN General Assembly receive lower inflation forecasts. As the US is the Fund’s major shareholder, this result supports the hypothesis that the Fund’s forecasts are not purely based on economic considerations. We further find inflation forecasts are systematically biased downwards for countries with greater IMF loans outstanding relative to GDP, indicating that the IMF engages in “defensive forecasting.” Countries with a fixed exchange rate regime also receive low inflation forecasts. Considering the detrimental effects that inflation can have under such an exchange rate regime, we consider this evidence consistent with the Fund’s desire to preserve economic stability.

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File URL: http://dipeco.economia.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper124.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007
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Paper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 124.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision: Oct 2007
Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:124
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  1. Silvia Marchesi & Laura Sabani, 2005. "IMF Concern for Reputation and Conditional Lending Failure: Theory and Empirics," Development Working Papers 206, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  2. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Miguel A. Savastano, 2003. "Debt Intolerance," NBER Working Papers 9908, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  3. David Roodman, 2003. "XTABOND2: Stata module to extend xtabond dynamic panel data estimator," Statistical Software Components S435901, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 09 Dec 2014.
  4. Marchesi, Silvia, 2003. "Adoption of an IMF programme and debt rescheduling. An empirical analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 403-423, April.
  5. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  6. Axel Dreher & Jan-Egbert Sturm & James Raymond Vreeland, 2006. "Does membership on the UN Security Council influence IMF decisions? Evidence from panel data," KOF Working papers 06-151, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
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  8. Axel Dreher & Nathan Jensen, 2003. "Independent Actor or Agent? An Empirical Analysis of the impact of US interests on IMF Conditions," International Finance 0310004, EconWPA, revised 08 Jan 2004.
  9. Michele Fratianni & John Pattison, 2004. "Who is Running the IMF: Critical Shareholders or the Staff?," Working Papers 2004-06, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
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  11. M Arellano & O Bover, 1990. "Another Look at the Instrumental Variable Estimation of Error-Components Models," CEP Discussion Papers dp0007, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  12. Axel Dreher & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2006. "Do IMF and World Bank Influence Voting in the UN General Assembly?," KOF Working papers 06-137, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  13. Graham Bird & Dane Rowlands, 2003. "Political Economy Influences Within the Life-Cycle of IMF Programmes," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(9), pages 1255-1278, 09.
  14. Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
  15. Allan Timmermann, 2007. "An Evaluation of the World Economic Outlook Forecasts," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 54(1), pages 1-33, May.
  16. Axel Dreher & Roland Vaubel, 2005. "Foreign Exchange Intervention And The Political Business Cycle: A Panel Data Analysis," International Finance 0505009, EconWPA.
  17. 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.
  18. Holden, K & Peel, D A, 1990. "On Testing for Unbiasedness and Efficiency of Forecasts," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 58(2), pages 120-27, June.
  19. Loungani, Prakash, 2001. "How accurate are private sector forecasts? Cross-country evidence from consensus forecasts of output growth," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 419-432.
  20. Thomas Barnebeck Andersen & Henrik Hansen & Thomas Markussen, 2004. "US Politics and World Bank IDA-Lending," Discussion Papers 05-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised May 2005.
  21. Frank-Oliver Aldenhoff, 2007. "Are economic forecasts of the International Monetary Fund politically biased? A public choice analysis," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 239-260, September.
  22. Faini, Riccardo & Grilli, Enzo, 2004. "Who Runs the IFIs?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4666, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. Levy-Yeyati, Eduardo & Sturzenegger, Federico, 2005. "Classifying exchange rate regimes: Deeds vs. words," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1603-1635, August.
  24. Morris, Stephen & Shin, Hyun Song, 2006. "Catalytic finance: When does it work?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 161-177, September.
  25. Rodney Ramcharan, 2003. "Reputation, Debt, and Policy Conditionality," IMF Working Papers 03/192, International Monetary Fund.
  26. Windmeijer, Frank, 2005. "A finite sample correction for the variance of linear efficient two-step GMM estimators," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 25-51, May.
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  29. Przeworski, Adam & Vreeland, James Raymond, 2000. "The effect of IMF programs on economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 385-421, August.
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  31. Silvia Marchesi & Laura Sabani, 2005. "Prolonged Use and Conditionality Failure: Investigating the IMF Responsibility," Development Working Papers 202, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
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  33. Marchesi, Silvia & Thomas, Jonathan P, 1999. "IMF Conditionality as a Screening Device," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages C111-25, March.
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