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The IMF: A Bird's Eye View of its Role and Operations

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  • Graham Bird

    (University of Surrey)

Abstract

The International Monetary Fund is the world’s premier international financial institution with 184 member countries and active programmes in a significant number of them at any one time. The Fund attracts a great deal of attention, much of it critical. But the discussion is often polemic in style. Strongly held, but frequently opposing, views are expressed. This survey attempts to examine, in an objective way, the theory and evidence relating to the Fund’s operations. Many aspects of the empirical research are relatively recent and a universal consensus is yet to emerge; as a consequence there is scope for disagreement to persist. However, the research is also gradually clarifying many important issues. The format for the survey is to examine the life cycle of IMF arrangements. What makes a country turn to the Fund for assistance? Should the IMF be lending? What influences the outcome of negotiations and the design of programmes? Are IMF programmes effective? And why do some countries make prolonged use of IMF resources? For completeness there is also some discussion of the history of the IMF, the extent to which Fund policies have been influenced by advances in economic theory and the Fund’s systemic role. Important organizational and governance issues are also covered briefly. Although primarily adopting an economist’s perspective, the survey reflects the growing recognition that in order to understand the IMF’s operations, economics has to be combined with politics. Examining the IMF is an exercise in applied political economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Graham Bird, "undated". "The IMF: A Bird's Eye View of its Role and Operations," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0407, School of Economics, University of Surrey, revised Jan 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:sur:surrec:0407
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    File URL: https://repec.som.surrey.ac.uk/2007/DP04-07.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Luca Papi & Andrea F Presbitero & Alberto Zazzaro, 2015. "IMF Lending and Banking Crises," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 63(3), pages 644-691, November.
    2. 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.
    3. Gonçalves, Carlos Eduardo & Guimaraes, Bernardo, 2015. "Sovereign default risk and commitment for fiscal adjustment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 68-82.
    4. repec:wsi:jicepx:v:08:y:2017:i:01:n:s1793993317500041 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Christoph Moser & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2011. "Explaining IMF lending decisions after the Cold War," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, pages 307-340.
    6. Koen J. M. van der Veer & Eelke de Jong, 2013. "IMF-Supported Programmes: Stimulating Capital to Non-defaulting Countries," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(4), pages 375-395, April.
    7. ., 2016. "Introduction and overview: the purposes and operations of the IMF," Chapters,in: The International Monetary Fund, chapter 1, pages 1-18 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Stubbs, Thomas H. & Kentikelenis, Alexander E. & King, Lawrence P., 2016. "Catalyzing Aid? The IMF and Donor Behavior in Aid Allocation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 511-528.
    9. Ernesto Crivelli & Sanjeev Gupta, 2016. "Does conditionality in IMF-supported programs promote revenue reform?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(3), pages 550-579, June.
    10. Javed, Omer, 2013. "Determinants of Institutional Quality: A Case Study of IMF Programme Countries," MPRA Paper 51344, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Abbott, Philip & Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck & Tarp, Finn, 2010. "IMF and economic reform in developing countries," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 17-26, February.
    12. Bal Gündüz, Yasemin, 2016. "The Economic Impact of Short-term IMF Engagement in Low-Income Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 30-49.
    13. Florian Kirsch & Ronald Rühmkorf, 2013. "Sovereign Borrowing, Financial Assistance and Debt Repudiation," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse01_2013, University of Bonn, Germany.
    14. Yasemin Bal Gunduz, 2009. "Estimating Demand for IMF Financing by Low-Income Countries in Response to Shocks," IMF Working Papers 09/263, International Monetary Fund.
    15. Graham Bird & Alex Mandilaras, 2011. "Once Bitten: The Effect of IMF Programs on Subsequent Reserve Behavior," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 264-278, May.
    16. Jeffrey Chwieroth, 2009. "Grigore Pop-Eleches. 2009. From Economic Crisis to Reform: IMF Programs in Latin American and Eastern Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press)," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 215-218, June.
    17. Beatrice D. Scheubel & Livio Stracca, 2016. "What Do We Know About the Global Financial Safety Net? A New Comprehensive Data Set," CESifo Working Paper Series 6184, CESifo Group Munich.
    18. Dreher, Axel & Walter, Stefanie, 2010. "Does the IMF Help or Hurt? The Effect of IMF Programs on the Likelihood and Outcome of Currency Crises," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 1-18, January.
    19. Fink, Fabian & Scholl, Almuth, 2016. "A quantitative model of sovereign debt, bailouts and conditionality," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 176-190.
    20. Andrea F. Presbitero & Alberto Zazzaro, 2010. "IMF Lending in Low- and Middle-Income Countries in the Wake of the Global Crisis," Development Working Papers 305, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
    21. Javed, Omer, 2014. "Institutional quality, macroeconomic stabilization and economic growth: a case study of IMF programme countries," MPRA Paper 56370, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    22. Stracca, Livio & Scheubel, Beatrice, 2016. "What do we know about the global financial safety net? Rationale, data and possible evolution," Occasional Paper Series 177, European Central Bank.
    23. repec:spr:joecth:v:64:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s00199-015-0945-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Martin Steinwand & Randall Stone, 2008. "The International Monetary Fund: A review of the recent evidence," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 123-149, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    IMF;

    JEL classification:

    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions

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