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International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

In response to the Global Financial Crisis, the IMF launched many initiatives to strengthen financial surveillance and better advise member countries of vulnerabilities and risks. While these initiatives have not yet been tested by a major crisis, the efforts have delivered a substantial upgrade of the Fund’s financial surveillance, including giving the IMF clearer responsibilities over financial sector stability and cross-country spillovers; making periodic financial stability assessments mandatory for jurisdictions with systemically important financial sectors; invigorating efforts to integrate financial and macroeconomic analysis in bilateral and multilateral surveillance; enhancing cooperation with the Financial Stability Board and standard setting bodies to promote reforms and monitor agreed standards; and taking steps to recruit and train greater financial expertise. While recognizing these achievements, this evaluation finds that the quality and impact of the IMF’s financial surveillance has been uneven. The expansion of products and activities has presented the Fund with difficult trade-offs between bilateral and multilateral surveillance; between countries with systemically important financial sectors and other member countries; and between financial surveillance and other activities. Moreover, resource constraints have slowed the needed build-up of financial and macrofinancial expertise. These are critical issues, given the IMF’s position as the only international financial institution with the mandate and ability to conduct financial and macrofinancial surveillance over the full range of countries as well as the global economy, and given that these issues are at the core of the IMF’s responsibilities. Thus, to further strengthen financial surveillance, the evaluation recommends devoting greater resources to financial surveillance overall; further strengthening financial and macrofinancial analysis in Article IV surveillance; refining resource allocation for FSAPs; enhancing rigor and transparency in multilateral surveillance; intensifying efforts to be a global center of excellence on financial and macrofinancial research; and extending efforts to develop financial expertise among IMF staff.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This evaluation assesses the IMF’s work on countries in fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS), addressing both (i) its engagement through surveillance, lending, and capacity development and (ii) the frameworks and procedures for its engagement. It finds that the IMF has provided unique and essential services to FCS to restore macroeconomic stability and rebuild core macroeconomic institutions as prerequisites for state building, playing a role in which no other institution can take its place. In this critical role, it is broadly acknowledged to have had a high impact. While the IMF has provided relatively little direct financing, it has catalyzed donor support through its assessment of a country’s economic policies and prospects. Notwithstanding this positive assessment, the IMF’s overall approach to its FCS work seems to have been conflicted. Not only has it failed consistently to make hard choices necessary to achieve full impact from its engagement in countries where success requires patient and dedicated attention over the long haul, but past efforts have not been sufficiently bold or adequately sustained, and the staff has tended to revert to treating fragile states using IMF-wide norms, rather than as countries needing special attention. The report proposes six recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the IMF’s FCS work: (i) to issue a statement of high-level commitment to FCS work for IMFC endorsement; (ii) to create an effective institutional mechanism with the mandate and authority to coordinate and champion such work; (iii) to develop comprehensive strategies for individual FCS; (iv) to adapt its lending toolkit to deliver more sustained financial support to FCS; (v) to take practical steps to increase the impact of its capacity development support to FCS; and (vi) to take steps to incentivize high-quality and experienced staff to work on individual FCS and find pragmatic ways of increasing field presence in high risk locations.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This paper analyzes that the IMF has moved beyond its traditional fiscal-centric approach to recognize that social protection can also be macro-critical for broader reasons including social and political stability concerns. Evaluating the IMF’s involvement in social protection is complicated by the fact that there is no standard definition of social protection or of broader/overlapping terms such as social spending and social safeguards in (or outside) the IMF. In this evaluation, social protection is understood to include policies that provide benefits to vulnerable individuals or households. This evaluation found widespread IMF involvement in social protection across countries although the extent of engagement varied. In some cases, engagement was relatively deep, spanning different activities (bilateral surveillance, technical assistance, and/or programs) and involving detailed analysis of distributional impacts, discussion of policy options, active advocacy of social protection, and integration of social protection measures in program design and/or conditionality. This cross-country variation to some degree reflected an appropriate response to country-specific factors, in particular an assessment of whether social protection policy was macrocritical, and the availability of expertise from development partners or in the country itself.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

La Oficina de Evaluación Independiente (OEI) fue creada por el Directorio Ejecutivo del FMI en 2001. Proporciona evaluaciones objetivas e independientes sobre asuntos relacionados con el FMI. La OEI opera con independencia de la Gerencia y sin interferencias del Directorio Ejecutivo del FMI. Véase más información sobre las actividades de la OEl en su sitio web: www.ieo-imf.org.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

Le Bureau indépendant d’évaluation (BIE) a été créé en 2001 par le conseil d'administration du FMI. Il évalue de manière objective et indépendante des questions liées au FMI. Le BIE fonctionne en toute indépendance de la direction et du Conseil d’administration du FMI. Pour en savoir plus sur les activités du BIE, visitez son site web : www.ieo-imf.org.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This evaluation examines factors influencing the effectiveness of the IMF structural conditionality in bringing about structural reform. It assesses the impact of the streamlining initiative launched in 2000 and of the 2002 Conditionality Guidelines. These guidelines aimed at reducing the volume and scope of structural conditionality by requiring “parsimony” in the use of conditions and stipulated that conditions must be “critical” to the achievement of the program goals. The evaluation finds that during the period 1995–2004, there was extensive use of structural conditionality in IMF-supported programs, with an average of 17 conditions per program/year.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This evaluation examines the technical assistance (TA) provided by the IMF to its member countries. The evaluation is based on desk reviews of a broad sample of countries, analyses of cross-country data on TA, six in-depth country case studies, reviews of past evaluations, and interviews with IMF staff and other stakeholders. The objective of the IMF TA is to contribute to the development of the productive resources of member countries by enhancing the effectiveness of economic policy and financial management.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

Technical assistance is one of the key services provided by the IMF to member countries—particularly lower income countries. It covers a wide set of activities, from technical assistance to support IMF policy advice to longer-term assistance to support countries’ institutional development. This evaluation report examines the relevance and effectiveness of IMF technical assistance, and derives recommendations for both IMF management and the Executive Board.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

Using a cross-country sample of 169 IMF-supported programs and detailed studies of 15 programs, this evaluation report examines various aspects of fiscal adjustment in IMF-supported programs. It presents evidence that does not support some critics’ view that IMF-supported programs typically adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to fiscal adjustment, nor the perception that programs always involve austerity by targeting reductions in public spending. The report also proposes a number of recommendations for IMF surveillance and program design in the future.