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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|17454||2000||37 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Development Economics, Volume 62, Issue 2, August 2000, Pages 385–421
Using a bivariate, dynamic version of the Heckman selection model, we estimate the effect of participation in International Monetary Fund (IMF) programs on economic growth. We find evidence that governments enter into agreements with the IMF under the pressures of a foreign reserves crisis but they also bring in the Fund to shield themselves from the political costs of adjustment policies. Program participation lowers growth rates for as long as countries remain under a program. Once countries leave the program, they grow faster than if they had remained, but not faster than they would have without participation.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) programs are controversial. Governments that enter into agreements with the IMF claim that it is for the better, that opposition to them is uninformed or badly intentioned. Yet general strikes, riots, and ransacking of supermarkets manifest that IMF programs mobilize popular resistance. And scholarly opinion is also divided: statistical findings range all over the spectrum of possible conclusions. Hence, our question: What is the effect of IMF programs on growth? The immediate goals of the IMF concern exchange rate stability and balance of payments, and evaluations of IMF programs tend to concentrate on these objectives. Thus, Reichmann and Stillson (1978) and Connors (1979) found that IMF programs had no effect on balance of payments, while Pastor (1987b), Gylfason (1987), Khan (1990), and Bird (1996) reported improvements. Most studies find that Fund programs have no effect on inflation Bird, 1996, Edwards and Santaella, 1993, Pastor, 1987b, Gylfason, 1987 and Connors, 1979, although Reichmann and Stillson (1978) reported an unclear effect, and Killick (1995) reported reduced inflation. And while Connors (1979), Killick (1995), and Pastor (1987b) found no effect on current account, Khan (1990) and Edwards and Santaella (1993) discover that it improves. Yet whether or not the IMF programs have positive effects on these short-term goals, what ultimately matters is whether they induce economic growth and do not concentrate incomes.2 Indeed, the Articles of Agreement state that the mission of the IMF is to “facilitate the expansion and balanced growth of international trade, and to contribute thereby to the promotion and maintenance of high levels of employment and real income and to the development of the productive resources of all members as primary objectives of economic policy.” As we have seen above, the former managing director of the Fund has placed economic growth as the primary objective. But here again the results are ambivalent: while Reichmann and Stillson (1978), Connors (1979), Pastor (1987b), and Gylfason (1987) reported no effect, Killick (1995) found ambiguous effects, and Conway (1994) argued that while growth declines in the first year of a program, the negative effects diminish thereafter. The standard difficulty in evaluating effects of any policy or program is nonrandom selection (Heckman 1988).3 What we observe in the real world are not experiments, which would match the “treatment” and the “control” groups, thus permitting direct inferences about the experimental effects. Indeed, one would hope that governments do not enter into the IMF programs as an experiment. These treatments are costly: at least in the short run, they limit national sovereignty and inflict economic pain. In fact, governments often claim that they are “going under” only because the situation is dire and no choice is left but to “swallow the bitter pill,” “undergo radical surgery,” “take a horse treatment”: the lexicon is medical and the operation delicate. Going to the IMF is an act of courage, a demonstration of “political will.” But if countries enter and remain under agreements only when governments recognize that the situation so demands and have the courage to swallow the consequences, the conditions of countries participating in IMF programs are not the same as of those which abstain. And if these conditions are not the same, then the effects of the programs may depend in some part on their inherent consequences and in some part on these conditions. To evaluate the consequences of the programs, one must therefore distinguish the two components. The procedure is inextricably counterfactual: the task is to compare the performance if countries had participated and not participated in the programs under the same conditions and, if selection is nonrandom, we cannot always match the observed cases for these conditions. Hence, we must proceed differently. Moreover, while some of these conditions may be observable, as most economic circumstances are, some may not be. “Political will” is one example. A methodology failing to account for this unobservable variable would overstate the value of participation by attributing the positive effects of “political will” to the IMF program. Furthermore, if such selection occurs, merely controlling for observed variables can increase the bias Achen, 1986 and Przeworski and Limongi, 1996. Thus, we need to understand first why countries enter and leave the IMF programs. Once we do, we can use the methods developed by Heckman, 1976 and Heckman, 1988 to estimate their effects independently of selection. In the appendices, we present the statistical model of selection and a method for analyzing the effect of programs on performance. These appendices are lengthy and technical but the issues are complex. The article is organized as follows. The first part provides background information about our data. The second part analyzes why countries enter and stay under IMF programs. The third part provides the results concerning growth. A brief conclusion follows.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Our findings appear robust to the selection mechanism, specification of growth equations, and samples. Governments facing economic difficulties adopt IMF programs either because they are desperate for foreign reserves, or because they want to use the IMF as a foil to reduce budget deficits, or both. These programs reduce growth while countries remain under and do not return benefits that would compensate the losses once they leave. These conclusions are not intended as a blanket indictment of the IMF. Balance of payment crises and exchange instability are facts of life, so the IMF has an important role to play. The question is whether coping with these crises must necessarily reduce growth. This is a broader, and more fundamental, question than the effect of IMF programs. Our results indicate that countries that do not enter into IMF programs grow faster than those that do even when both groups face high domestic deficits or foreign reserves crises. Hence, if soliciting IMF conditionality is just a way to impose domestically unpopular austerity policies, then the culprit is austerity policies per se, rather than the fact that they result from IMF agreements. “Political will” may just lead governments astray. The question whether or not austerity policies are necessary to restore growth is beyond the scope of this paper. We believe to have shown, however, that if growth is the primary objective then IMF programs are badly designed. Indeed, some of the sharpest critiques of these programs are intramural. Tanzi (1989) argued that IMF programs induce governments to save on public investment (see also Tanzi and Davoodi, 1998), with nefarious consequences for growth. Blejer and Cheasty (1989) pointed out that the high real interest rates induce good firms to shut down along with bad ones. These effects seem to be avoidable. However, it appears that programs that stabilize inflation, reduce deficits, improve balance of payments, and at the same time do not hurt growth, are yet to be developed. Since our analysis ends in 1990, one may wonder whether the IMF has modified the designs of its programs since then. We could find no evidence that it has. In the last official statement we discovered, dated October 1993 (IMF Survey: Supplement on the IMF 1993, 13), the Fund reported that “The Executive Board undertakes periodic reviews of conditionality and, on many occasions, it has adjusted the policies and practices relating to the use of the IMF's resources. In its most recent discussion of issues related to conditionality and program design, in July 1991, the Executive Board affirmed that the current guidelines on conditionality, which the Board adopted in 1979, remain broadly appropriate.”