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Not Your Grandfather’s IMF: Global Crisis, ‘Productive Incoherence’ and Developmental Policy Space (significantly revised)


  • Ilene Grabel


This is substantially revised and updated version of a paper that was first published as a PERI Working Paper in August 2010.The response by the IMF (and developing country national governments) to the current global financial crisis represents a moment of what I term “productive incoherence” that has displaced the constraining “neoliberal coherence” of the past several decades. Productive incoherence refers to the proliferation of inconsistent and even contradictory strategies and statements by the IMF that to date have not congealed into any sort of new, organized regime. Those who see continuity at the IMF emphasize the reassertion of the IMF’s authority; the reiteration of pro-cyclical policy adjustment; and the maintenance of existing governance patterns within the institution. In contrast, evidence of discontinuity includes a world now populated by increasingly autonomous states in the South; the normalization of capital controls; and Fund conditionality programs that are inconsistent in key respects. In the face of this evidence, it is best to understand the current conjuncture as an “interregnum” that is pregnant with new development possibilities.

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  • Ilene Grabel, 2011. "Not Your Grandfather’s IMF: Global Crisis, ‘Productive Incoherence’ and Developmental Policy Space (significantly revised)," Working Papers wp214_revisedb, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  • Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp214_revisedb

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kristin J. Forbes, 2005. "Capital Controls: Mud in the Wheels of Market Efficiency," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 25(1), pages 153-166, Winter.
    2. Ayhan Kose & Kenneth Rogoff & Eswar S Prasad & Shang-Jin Wei, 2003. "Effects of Financial Globalization on Developing Countries; Some Empirical Evidence," IMF Occasional Papers 220, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Nicolas Magud & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2007. "Capital Controls: An Evaluation," NBER Chapters,in: Capital Controls and Capital Flows in Emerging Economies: Policies, Practices and Consequences, pages 645-674 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Akira Ariyoshi & Andrei A Kirilenko & Inci Ötker & Bernard J Laurens & Jorge I Canales Kriljenko & Karl F Habermeier, 2000. "Capital Controls; Country Experiences with Their Use and Liberalization," IMF Occasional Papers 190, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Nicolas Magud & Carmen Reinhart & Kenneth Rogoff, 2005. "Capital Controls: Myth and Reality A Portfolio Balance Approach to Capital Controls," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2006-10, University of Oregon Economics Department.
    6. Sebastian Edwards, 1999. "How Effective Are Capital Controls?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 65-84, Fall.
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    Cited by:

    1. Presbitero, Andrea F. & Zazzaro, Alberto, 2012. "IMF Lending in Times of Crisis: Political Influences and Crisis Prevention," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 1944-1969.
    2. Thow, Anne Marie & Snowdon, Wendy & Labonté, Ronald & Gleeson, Deborah & Stuckler, David & Hattersley, Libby & Schram, Ashley & Kay, Adrian & Friel, Sharon, 2015. "Will the next generation of preferential trade and investment agreements undermine prevention of noncommunicable diseases? A prospective policy analysis of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 88-96.
    3. Ilene Grabel, 2015. "The rebranding of capital controls in an era of productive incoherence," Review of International Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 7-43, February.

    More about this item


    Global financial crisis; policy space for development; International Monetary Fund; capital controls; neo-liberal policies and development;

    JEL classification:

    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
    • F53 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations
    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development


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