Listening to Voices: The IMF’s Dialogue with Civil Society


By Caroline Atkinson

The IMF has made a concerted effort to engage more actively with civil society organizations in recent years. This is part of a broader effort to be more transparent and accountable to the broader public in our member countries.

So, an emphasis on change at the 2010 IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings provided the perfect opportunity to break new ground in our relationship with civil society. Continue reading

Exploring Economic Policy Frontiers After the Crisis: 2010 IMF Research Conference


By Olivier Blanchard

The crisis has forced economists and policymakers to go back to their drawing boards. Where did they go wrong, and what implications does the crisis have for both macroeconomic theory and macroeconomic policy making?

This was the topic of this year’s IMF Jacques Polak Research Conference. The conference was the first since the passing of Jacques Polak, after whom the conference has been named, and to which he came every year until last year. Present at the Fund’s creation and a long time Fund economist, Jacques had been described by the Managing Director as “a leader of critical thought during the post-war evolution of the global economy.” As such, this conference, and its focus on the post-crisis evolution of the global economy, was fitting a fitting tribute to Jacques. We shall miss him.

Post-crisis policymaking

The twelve papers presented at the conference provided rich fodder for discussion. For two days, researchers and policymakers explored the contours of policy making in the post-crisis world. I want to share with you some of the major themes: Continue reading

Breaking the Buck—Reducing Systemic Risks Posed by Money Market Mutual Funds


By Jeanne Gobat

The breakdown of the short-term funding markets was one of the most striking features of the global financial crisis. Equally astonishing, and unexpected, was the central role that U.S. money market mutual funds played in contributing to this wholesale shut-down.

In our chapter on systemic liquidity risk in the October 2010 Global Financial Stability Report, we describe this aspect of the financial crisis and propose some concrete recommendations on how to fix it. Continue reading

How to Bake a (Cr)edible Medium-term Fiscal Pie


By Olivier Blanchard and Carlo Cottarelli

(Version in عربي | 中文 | Español | Français | Русский )

How can governments have their cake and eat it too? How can fiscal policy provide sufficient support to economic activity, and reassure markets that fiscal solvency is not at risk? The poor state of fiscal accounts of most advanced countries calls for austere fiscal policies, before the confidence crisis that is now hitting a few small advanced economies spreads to the larger ones. But not right now: a frontloaded adjustment—that is a tightening that is not gradual but falls disproportionately early in the adjustment phase—could destabilize the recovery.

But can countries limit frontloading and still achieve credibility? Yes, but baking the right fiscal pie is likely to require a number of ingredients. While the exact recipe depends on country circumstances, here are our suggested ingredients. Continue reading

West Africa: Economic Recovery and Beyond


By Mark Plant

(Version in Français)

My IMF colleagues and I have spent the past week or so traveling through Africa for the launch of our October 2010 Regional Economic Outlook on sub-Saharan Africa. Both the outlook for Africa, and reactions to it, have been very positive.

The groups we met with were encouraged by our central message—Africa’s resilience to the global economic crisis has owed much to good policy management here, both before and during the crisis. They also welcomed our optimism about the prospects for growth in the region, tempered of course with concern about the continued risks to the global recovery. But policy-makers and others have also taken to heart our view that now is the time to start rebuilding some of the savings that were used to weather the crisis.

While I’m still here in Dakar, Senegal for the final leg of our trip, I wanted to share some of our thoughts on the ‘growth challenge’ in West Africa. Continue reading

What Drives Inflation in Asia and Why it Matters


By Anoop Singh

(Version in 日本語)

Of all the things policymakers have had to worry about in the past couple of years, inflation wasn’t one of them. Some even heralded the end of inflation.

Today, inflation still isn’t a ‘problem’ in Asia. For the most part, it remains relatively modest, but it is on the rise in some countries in the region. And understanding what is driving that inflation matters. Policymakers need to consider the sources of inflation in making the right policy choices. What policy tools to choose. Continue reading

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