The IMF-Supported Programs of Poland and Russia, 1990-1994: Principles, Errors and Results
The paper discusses four IMF-supported adjustment programs of Poland, 1990-1995, and two of Russia, 1992-1994, in terms of the underlying theory, policy objectives, assumptions, policies, errors and results. The paper suggests that the roles of the IMF and the World Bank have been helpful but, compared to the influence of domestic factors and local refomers, relatively modest. Transition-related features of the programs are the focus of the analysis. The specific topics include the choice of nominal anchors, the speed of disinflation, the choice of performance criteria, and the role of foreign economic assistance. The primary objective of this paper is to discuss the IMF-supported adjustment programs of Poland and Russia in terms of the underlying theory, policy objectives, explicit and implicit assumptions, proposed policies, major errors in assumptions and policies, and actual results. Throughout this discussion, the intention is to identify the influence of systemic features and transition circumstances. The analysis suggests that the roles of the IMF and the World Bank have been helpful but, compared to the influence of domestic factors and local reforms, relatively modest. Part I of the paper provides a discussion of the broad policy objectives, common and separate, of the authorities of Poland, Russia and the two Bretton Woods Institutions, the IMF and the World Bank. Part II outlines the theory underlying the standard IMF adjustment programs. Part III collects and discusses what according to this author have been the major errors in assumptions and policies. The aim is to identify the origins and the implications of those errors. Part IV provides an analysis of the actual adjustment programs. The major feature of this analysis is the discussion of aims and results of the various programs. Finally, Part V addresses the issue of the role of foreign financial assistance in transition economies.
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