Over-optimism and the IMF
One way of assessing the impact of IMF programmes is to see whether performance and policy targets are achieved. However, does a failure to hit targets mean that the programmes have been unsuccessful, or could it be that targets have been too ambitious? This paper analyses political economy factors impinging on governments and on the IMF that may lead to serial over-optimism. It goes on to examine the empirical evidence that is consistent with over-optimism. Having considered whether over-optimism is a cause for concern, and concluded that it is, the paper considers reforms that would allow realism to replace it. By eliminating over-optimism it is argued that the psychology of failure surrounding IMF programmes could be significantly reduced or even broken. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2005.
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