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Carlijn Eijking

16 October 2019
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 235
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Abstract
Conditionality is at the very heart of IMF lending and has been the subject of intense debates ever since the Fund’s inception. Its success is of crucial importance not only for countries’ chances of achieving the goals of IMF lending programmes, but also for the credibility of the Fund as a trusted adviser. This report provides information and a set of facts on the IMF arrangements approved after the global financial crisis, with a focus on ex post conditionality and on arrangements primarily financed through the General Resources Account (GRA). The analysis shows that between 2008 and 2018, the characteristics of IMF programmes evolved with the macroeconomic context; in particular, a tendency towards more structural conditionality and longer programme implementation horizons has emerged. In the aftermath of an IMF programme, all relevant macroeconomic variables tend to improve compared with the pre-programme period; in particular, external and fiscal positions improve considerably and growth typically rebounds, inflation declines and net private capital inflows stabilise or recover slightly. However, the improvement has generally fallen short of expectations, especially in terms of GDP growth and debt reduction. One area in which the effectiveness of IMF programmes has proven less than satisfactory is with serial borrowers, i.e. countries that fail to graduate from IMF financial assistance in due course. This highlights the importance of further analysing the factors behind the success of IMF programmes and points, inter alia, to the need to design and sequence the structural conditions attached to Fund loans more effectively
JEL Code
F3 : International Economics→International Finance
F5 : International Economics→International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy