The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The IMF was established in 1944 in part to “give confidence” to member countries by providing short-term credits. Although the intention was that the availability of the Fund’s resources should prevent countries from experiencing financial crises, in practice the institution often has found itself helping its members cope with crises after they occur. This paper examines how the role of the IMF as crisis manager has evolved over time, from its earliest loans to the exchange crisis that hit Mexico in December 1994. It argues that the defining moment for this role was the international debt crisis of 1982.