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International Monetary Fund (IMF) lending: The empirical evidence

Working paper

Working paper

Following Working Paper No. 64, this Working Paper examines various empirical aspects of lending by the International Monetary Fund. Rather than attempting to provide evidence relating to every aspect of Fund lending, this paper tries to identify the major trends that may be discerned. The paper also tries to draw on the empirical evidence where this helps to resolve some of the analytical questions raised in the earlier paper.

The paper concludes that lending by the IMF has not made a significant contribution to financing balance of payments deficits in developing countries as a group during much of the 1980s and 1990s. At a time when countries had severe payments difficulties, often associated with attempts to escape from the problem of external debt, the IMF took more money back from them than it made available in the form of new loans. This raises important issues in terms of the systemic role of the IMF as an international financial institution.

Graham Bird