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The International Monetary Fund

Distinguishing Reality from Rhetoric Graham Bird, Professor, Claremont McKenna College and Claremont Graduate University, US and Emeritus Professor, University of Surrey, UK and Dane Rowlands, Professor and Director, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Canada
There is no shortage of opinion about the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Some see it as the agent of austerity, being manipulated by wealthy nations and forcing poorer countries to pursue economic policies that suppress growth and development. A sharply contrasting view regards it as bailing out such countries with large amounts of soft finance, allowing them to avoid necessary adjustment. The challenge is to evaluate the alternative arguments and to distinguish reality from rhetoric. In this book, the authors undertake a careful and detailed empirical analysis of the underlying issues, covering participation in IMF programs, their implementation and effects on economic growth, and on the willingness of international capital markets to lend.
Extent: 256 pp
Hardback Price: $120.00 Web: $108.00
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978 0 85793 969 2
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Financial Economics and Regulation
  • International Economics
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • International Relations
There is no shortage of opinion about the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Some see it as the agent of austerity, being manipulated by wealthy nations and forcing poorer countries to pursue economic policies that suppress growth and development. A sharply contrasting view regards it as bailing out such countries with large amounts of soft finance, allowing them to avoid necessary adjustment. The challenge is to evaluate the alternative arguments and to distinguish reality from rhetoric.

In this book, the authors undertake a careful and detailed empirical analysis of the underlying issues, covering participation in IMF programs, their implementation and effects on economic growth, and on the willingness of international capital markets to lend. Blending research methodologies and crossing conventional disciplinary boundaries, what emerges is a balanced and nuanced assessment of the IMF’s operations that confronts many commonly held views.

Unique in its broad scope, this careful examination of the IMF will be of great interest to students and academics in the fields of international economics and international relations. Those involved in international financial institutions and national monetary institutions will also find it to be an impartial and illuminating study.
‘. . .​ the book is a must-read for anyone looking to understand and study​ ​IMF lending. It provides a useful reminder about the nuances and the limitations of the​ ​institution, while also encouraging academic analyses to reflect such complexities.’
– Review of International Organizations​

‘Recent events in advanced and emerging markets have rendered IMF reform more urgent than ever. Graham Bird and Dane Rowlands, two of our most trenchant observers of the Fund, have thus done a singular service by bringing together their collected works on the IMF and its critics. Some of these essays are previously published, while others are new, but all are very much worth reading by anyone concerned to create an International Monetary Fund fit for the 21st century.’
– Barry Eichengreen, University of California, Berkeley, US

‘Students of the IMF take note! This monograph provides a timely and comprehensive account of the functioning of the Fund, ranging from an analysis of what determines access to its loans to the consequences of its programs. Written by leading experts, this will soon become an authoritative source of reference on the IMF.’
– Axel Dreher, Heidelberg University, Germany

‘Bird and Rowlands argue the importance of a debate supported by empirical evidence. The richness of their study will certainly provide a benchmark for debate and future research in this area. Through the book, the authors have managed to maintain an unbiased approach to the IMF, which offers priceless material for reviewing the IMF mission.'
– International Affairs
Contents: 1. Introduction and Overview: The Purposes and Operations of the IMF 2. IMF Quotas 3. The IMF's Lending Facilities 4. Aggregate IMF Lending 5. Participation in IMF Programs 6. The Implementation of IMF Programs 7. The Effects of IMF Programs on Economic Growth 8. IMF Programs and Private Capital Flows 9. Conclusions