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Mr. Marcello Caiola

Abstract

This Manual, addressed mainly to new staff members in the area and functional departments of the IMF, presents different ways to tackle specific problems that desk economists encounter in analyzing country data. This guide presents an approach to analyzing financial developments in a country and to evaluating the quality of data at the disposal of the staff.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

the WEO and GFSR in bilateral surveillance . The evaluation finds that most area department economists do not make much use of the WEO in their country work (other than the WEO’ s quantitative forecasts of major economic variables). Only 14 percent of IMF senior staff surveyed said that WEO topics were discussed with national authorities. Substantial scope thus exists for IMF staff to increase its use of multilateral surveillance outputs in its bilateral surveillance. Similarly, few area department economists (4 percent) use the GFSR on a regular basis in

Mr. Marcello Caiola

the opportunity to see as much as possible of the country, particularly outside the capital. To take full advantage of the mission experience, an area department economist should endeavor to rotate his assignment and gain expertise in the four broad areas of work (real economy, fiscal sector, money and credit, and external sector). This will also increase the economist’s understanding of the links between the sectors as well as of the reliability and shortcomings of the various available statistics. For certain countries, rotation of sector assignments may be

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

developing skills and expertise on macrofinancial issues. Mobility efforts have helped more than double the share of area department economists with MCM experience since FY2012, to over 8 percent ( Figure 7 ). On the other hand, external assignments in the private sector have declined since rules were tightened in 2011. Finally, recruitment efforts yielded a modest flow of new fungible economists with macrofinancial skills—less than 15 per year, half entry-level and half mid-career, representing about one-quarter of new hires. Again, there has been little success in

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

. But experience has shown that an interval of five years between FSSAs is too long, particularly for the largest systemically important financial centers. To address this concern, IMF staff have suggested mainstreaming financial sector work by training area department economists and placing financial sector specialists in area departments. This is a welcome initiative, but it will take a long time to yield results. It is IEO’s view that the membership will be better served by focusing on the top five to seven financial centers, those that are truly systemic. For

Mr. Eduard H. Brau

is then assembled, usually comprising four economists and a secretary. The team is headed by a senior Fund officer, normally from the area department involved; with him are the area department economist assigned to work on the country concerned (the “desk economist”), other economists from the area department and/or (depending on the nature of issues likely to be considered) economists from the Exchange and Trade Relations, Fiscal Affairs, and (on occasion) other Departments. Each economist is assigned primary responsibility for the detailed work in a major subject

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

accountability was frequently highlighted as a serious obstacle to getting the incentives right. 57. Many area department economists felt that there were strong disincentives to “speak truth to power,” particularly in large countries, as there was a perception that staff might not be supported by Management if they disagreed with these authorities. One senior staff member asserted that area departments were “unduly captured by countries” that they worked on. Analytical work was geared to “justify” the authorities’ policy proposals. All this was “driven by the agenda of

International Monetary Fund
This paper is the third to be issued under the Fund's Technical Assistance Evaluation Program, which was launched in FY 2003. It reports on the findings of five completed evaluations, and updates the program of evaluations for FY 2007–2009. The completed evaluations featured in this paper are: (i) an evaluation of technical assistance provided by the Legal Department to Indonesia related to the strengthening of the commercial courts and the implementation of the bankruptcy law; and (ii) evaluations of technical assistance delivered by the Monetary and Financial Systems Department to Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo to strengthen capacity in the financial sector.
International Monetary Fund

ownership, commitment, and implementation of the TA recommendations. The evaluation will be conducted through an examination of documents produced under the project since inception, including terms of reference, back-to-office reports, mission reports associated with TA delivered, and through interviews with representatives of country authorities and with Fund staff. The exercise will be undertaken by IMF staff, including area department economists. Provision may need to be made for an intermediate review of the evaluation prior to its finalization, to be undertaken by an