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International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

, think tanks, and staff from organizations in the Inter-Agency Group on Economic and Financial Statistics (IAG); 4 surveys of IMF staff, country authorities, and external users of economic statistics; 5 review of IMF documents, including the many Board papers issued during the past several decades on IMF data provision and management; reviews of the recent academic literature on data issues; and findings from past IEO evaluations and reports prepared by external consultants. 6 7. The rest of the report is organized as follows: Chapter 3 provides a brief review of

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This report examines whether the IMF has effectively leveraged an important asset: data. It finds that in general, the IMF has been able to rely on a large amount of data of acceptable quality, and that data provision from member countries has improved markedly over time. Nonetheless, problems with data or data practices have, at times, adversely affected the IMF’s surveillance and lending activities. The roots of data problems are diverse, ranging from problems due to member countries’ capacity constraints or reluctance to share sensitive data to internal issues such as lack of appropriate staff incentives, institutional rigidities, and long-standing work practices. Efforts to tackle these problems are piecemeal, the report finds, without a clear comprehensive strategy that recognizes data as an institutional strategic asset, not just a consumption good for economists. The report makes a number of recommendations that could promote greater progress in this regard.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

8. The provision of data by member countries to the IMF is rooted in the IMF’s Articles of Agreement.7 Specifically, Article VIII, Section 5(a) describes the obligations of member countries to furnish the IMF with “the minimum [information] necessary for the effective discharge of the Fund’s duties. . . .” The provision of data by member countries has remained under review since the IMF’s early years, and the information that is now expected to be provided by member countries has grown significantly beyond what is mandated by the Articles (De Las Casas, 2016).

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

11. The Fund has taken steps to address some of the challenges regarding data, with significant recent efforts in this regard. But will these be sufficiently holistic and well-funded to be sustainable? Will they support the organization in being proactive, not just reactive, in the realm of data?

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

103. In general, the Fund has been able to rely on a large amount of data of sufficiently acceptable quality. Nonetheless, this evaluation finds—as have other reports in the past—that data deficiencies still affect the Fund’s strategic operations (Figure 14). In particular, inadequate data and data practices have implied that the Fund has been, at times, not fully equipped to play its critical role of helping to secure global macro-financial stability.96

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

There is hardly any greater service the Fund can do than provide up-to-date barometers of the monetary problems of the world. We hope that the very greatest importance will be given to the statistical branch of the Fund and that they will be encouraged to make reports [for] the instruction and benefit [of] all of us on a scale that has never been possible heretofore.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

118. In today’s interconnected world, where local policies and crises can have almost instantaneous global spillovers, it is critical that the IMF has access to the high-quality and timely data it needs to fulfill its mandate. In fixing inherited data problems, and trying to get ahead of the coming ones, it will be important to take into account the interaction among the Fund’s various data-related activities to sustain the needed transformation.

World Bank, International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, &, and Review Department
Amid rising debt risks in low-income developing countries and emerging markets, the IMF and the WB have been implementing a multipronged approach (MPA) to address debt vulnerabilities. Amplification of debt risks owing to COVID-19 has upped the urgency to implement the MPA and highlights the importance of debt sustainability and transparency for long-term financing for development. At the same time, it should be noted that countries have limited capacities which are further stretched by COVID-19 and that implementation of the MPA by itself may not be sufficient to address debt vulnerabilities and risks from global economic shocks.
World Bank, International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, &, and Review Department

information on countries’ borrowing plans. 13 Two features of the IMF data provision framework are worth noting. First, members have no obligation to provide information “in such detail that the affairs of individuals or corporations are disclosed” (Article VIII, Section 5(b)). Second, while members have to provide the required data to the Fund, they are under no obligation to publish such data. WB data provision requirements. All WB member countries that receive IDA or International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) funding must report volumes and terms of