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Moisés J. Schwartz and Ray C. Rist

Abstract

The benefits of independent evaluation in international financial institutions have long been recognized. However, independent evaluation in these organizations is of increased relevance during uncertain times that call for more credible and legitimate institutions. While evaluation has long played a function in the IMF, and its role has expanded substantially with the creation of the IEO, independent evaluation has yet to take on a role within the IMF that fully reflects its potential contribution. A strong global economy requires a strong IMF, and a strong IMF requires a strong independent evaluation culture and practice. The establishment of the IEO was only the start of a process that still needs to be fostered and cultivated. Successful independent evaluation is important for the IMF to be perceived as legitimate and credible—and to achieve it, the independent evaluation function needs to be further integrated in the learning process and culture of the Fund. Independent evaluation has played a significant role in contributing to the improvement of the IMF, but the pending challenge is for the IMF and the IEO to create a shared culture that fully embraces the purpose and mission of the IEO, and the learning opportunities offered by independent evaluation. The IMF’s organizational culture has a profound role to play in prompting actions to make learning from independent evaluation a more vibrant element of the Fund’s activities. This book calls on IMF management to take a more active role in instilling the positive value of independent evaluation across the organization and thus enabling independent evaluation to bring the IMF closer to what the literature defines as the ideal of a “learning organization.”

Mr. Andreas Billmeier and Tommaso Nannicini
Studies of the impact of trade openness on growth are based either on cross-country analysis-which lacks transparency-or case studies-which lack statistical rigor. We apply transparent econometric methods drawn from the treatment evaluation literature to make the comparison between treated (i.e., open) and control (i.e., closed) countries explicit while remaining within a unified statistical framework. First, matching estimators highlight the rather far-fetched country comparisons underlying common cross-country results. When appropriately restricting the sample, we confirm a positive and significant effect of openness on growth. Second, we apply synthetic control methods-which account for endogeneity due to unobservable heterogeneity-to countries that liberalized their trade regime and we show that trade liberalization has often had a positive effect on growth.
Mr. Steven A Barnett, Dale Chua, Ms. Nur Calika, Mr. Oussama Kanaan, and Milan Zavadjil

Abstract

The economy of the West Bank and Gaza Strip faces a difficult external environment in 1997. This paper, by Steven Barnett, Nur Calika, Dale Chua, Oussama Kanaan, and Milan Zavadijil, presents an assessment of the recent experience of the Palestinian economy and examines prospects for 1998 and beyond.