The IMF and Economic Development

Why do governments turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and with what effects? In this book, James Vreeland examines this question by analyzing cross-national time-series data from throughout the world. Vreeland argues that governments enter into IMF programs for economic and political reasons, and he finds that the programs hurt economic growth and redistribute income upward. By bringing in the IMF, governments gain political leverage - via conditionality - to push through unpopular policies. For certain constituencies, these policies dampen the effects of bad economic performance by redistributing income. But IMF programs doubly hurt others who are less well off: They lower growth and exacerbate income inequality.


"The most important book on the effects of programs on the economic growth experiences of developing countries." Perspective on Political Science

"This monograph by political scientist Vreeland should be of great interest to political scientists, international relations specialists, and economists. The book makes important contributions in its content and accessibility.... Highly recommended." Choice

'Vreeland's The IMF and Economic Development contains novel and important findings regarding the impact of IMF programmes upon participant countries … engaging …' Cambridge Review of International Affairs

'… this is a valuable contribution to the debate on development policies both in its specific findings and its welcome reminder that the challenges of development are still best viewed through a political economy lens.' Development and Change

'After applying rigorous statistical and analytical methods, Vreeland arrives at some significant, and for the IMF, sobering conclusions … Vreeland raises new questions that have important policy implications. He lays out new avenues of research and concludes with some suggestions for IMF reform.' Development Policy Review

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