Hal Hill, Jayant Menon, 25 July 2012

Asia’s recent doubling of its financial safety net looks impressive. But this column argues it is more icing than cake. It is, in fact, unusable – there is no fund but a series of promises; the institutional mechanisms to replace IMF-type surveillance and conditionality have not been established; and there are no rapid-response procedures to handle a fast-developing financial crisis.

Alberto Zazzaro, Andrea Presbitero, 26 June 2012

In the wake of the global crisis the IMF has increased its exposure and modified its lending approach. This column looks at IMF loan arrangements in developing countries since 2008 and suggests that the Fund has played a role in dampening contagion effects. However, its lending operations have also been influenced by political similarity between borrowers and G7 governments.

Arvind Virmani, 22 June 2012

Looking at the economic and business media over the past few months you can be forgiven for thinking there are no other problems with the world economy. This column argues that we need to remind ourselves of the need to reform the IMF, lest the ‘International’ part will lose all credibility.

Olivier Blanchard, 15 June 2012

Latvia was severely hit by the Global Crisis yet its adjustment has been remarkable. Four years after the hit it has one of the highest growth rates in Europe, its euro-peg has held, and the fiscal and current accounts are close to balance. This column outlines seven reasons why its adjustment has worked so well. It warns however that the lessons are not easily exportable.

Jacob Kirkegaard, 01 March 2012

Brinkmanship has produced an early-morning deal in Europe to extend a new lifeline to Greece and clear the way for the biggest sovereign bond restructuring in history. This column takes a detailed look at the EU deal, the ongoing brinkmanship between the Eurozone and the IMF, and the general focus on austerity.

Carlo Cottarelli, 08 February 2012

Almost everyone agrees that the fiscal accounts of several advanced economies are in a pretty bad shape and need to be strengthened. But how rapid should the adjustment be in the present circumstances? At times over the last couple of years the IMF called on countries to step up the pace of adjustment when we thought they were moving too slowly. This column says that in the current environment, some might be going too fast.

Morris Goldstein, 11 January 2012

Throughout the European debt soap opera, Europe’s leaders have expressed their willingness to “do whatever it takes” to restore stability and save the euro. This column argues that, too often, policymakers have in fact been “doing whatever it takes” to serve the banks.

Jon Danielsson, Ragnar Arnason, 14 November 2011

The IMF has emerged from the global crisis bigger and more powerful. But this column argues that the capital controls it required Iceland to adopt in 2008 are not of the soft and cuddly modern type that slow hot money flows. Instead they are akin to the draconian controls common in the 1950s. They violate the civil rights of Icelanders and significantly hamper economic growth.

André Sapir, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Guntram Wolff, 09 November 2011

Europe’s surveillance of its highly-indebted countries has come under strong criticism. But these countries were also under the watch of another institution, the IMF. This column presents a report showing that the Fund is hardly without fault itself.

Friðrik Már Baldursson, 08 November 2011

During the global crisis, Iceland was hit by the biggest banking crisis any country has ever suffered. This column reviews the role of the IMF in Iceland’s recovery. It argues that the IMF programme was not perfectly designed but successful. Iceland re-entered capital markets less than three years after the crisis.

Jon Danielsson, 27 October 2011

According to the IMF, Iceland has graduated from its Fund-supported programme with unqualified success. This column begs to differ.

Jordi Gual, 13 September 2011

The IMF has recently suggested the recapitalisation of Europe’s banks as the most prudent way out of the continent’s economic crisis. This column argues that such thinking is based on a flawed analysis of the problem and is an unhelpful distraction at best. Europe is facing a crisis of government debt. The true problem of the Eurozone is not its banking system.

Daniel Bradlow, 06 September 2011

Many economists have called on the IMF to reform, particularly in light of the shifting centre of gravity in the global economy towards emerging markets. This column argues that global financial governance, which includes the role of the IMF, should be based on five principles: A holistic vision of development, comprehensive coverage, respect for applicable international law, coordinated specialisation, and good administrative practice.

Barry Eichengreen, 26 June 2011

Global imbalances remain a key issue for G20 leaders. This column evaluates the progress made by G20 leaders in the run up to their Cannes summit this November, concluding that the G20 process is unlikely to protect us from the risks posed by disorderly unwinding of imbalances.

Ricardo Cabral, 15 May 2011

Greece, Ireland, and more recently Portugal have applied for EU and IMF financial aid. This column argues the accompanying adjustment programmes should be modified to reflect the balance of payments and external debt crises these countries face. It suggests that these countries’ public and private debt should be restructured and their tax structure should be rebalanced to replicate the effect of currency devaluation and so improve these countries’ external competitiveness.

Martin Skala, 20 April 2011

With discontent at the current state of the international monetary system still lingering, is there an alternative to the decades-old discussions about gold, Bretton Woods Systems, and Special Drawing Rights? This column claims there is. It proposes a new IMF reserve currency with the creation of Special Transaction Rights.

Biagio Bossone, 11 February 2011

In the years leading up to the global crisis, the IMF routinely failed to detect the vulnerabilities that brought the global economy to its knees – even once the turmoil had begun. How could the organisation mandated to oversee international finance stability have been so blind? Here one of the contributors to the Independent Evaluation Office report speaks in his own capacity about the failings of the IMF.

Andrea Presbitero, 19 November 2010

The global crisis and expansionary government reactions that followed revived the attention of policymakers and academics on the adverse effects of large public debt. This column examines the case of Heavily Indebted Poor Countries. It argues that a focus on the consequences of external debt is outdated as the share of domestic debt in total public debt in increased from 11% to 37% from 1991 to 2008. A new framework to deal with total public debt is now required to take into account domestic interest payments.

Kati Suominen, 03 November 2010

Will financial regionalism damagingly fragment the global financial architecture precisely at the time when sturdy system-wide management is needed? This column points to the world trading system’s engagement with regional trade agreements as a source of lessons for how to harmonise regional and global approaches to international finance.

Enrico Perotti, 09 May 2010

The recent IMF report to the G20 states that fiscal reforms are essential to recover the costs of the crisis, as well as to contain future risk creation. This column argues that progress on controlling future risk requires a direct tax on systemic risk. This would restore confidence in the ability of policymakers to act preventively in future.

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