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International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This report updates the 2009 IEO evaluation of IMF Involvement in International Trade Policy Issues. Since then, the composition and structure of international trade have evolved, but trade has not regained its former dynamism. With increasing concern about potential winners and losers from trade, there has been a loss of political support for globalization, increasing trade tensions and protectionism, and the institutional framework supporting multilateral trade has come under heavy strain. The report concludes that overall the IMF deserves considerable credit for its active and timely response, playing a prominent role in championing commitment to an open, rules-based multilateral trading system. The Fund has largely implemented the recommendations of the 2009 evaluation and has strengthened and consolidated its trade policy analysis and advice, appropriately focusing on the key macroeconomic effects and associated risks of trade policy developments at the national and international levels. IMF advocacy on trade has been underpinned by a major expansion in the attention to trade policy issues in multilateral surveillance—and to some extent in bilateral surveillance—supported by high-quality research and analysis, building on the Fund’s well-established modeling capacity. Looking forward, the Fund will need to sustain its current high level of advocacy and analysis on trade policy issues and consider how to increase the overall impact of this work. Key challenges include: contributing to foster a recommitment to trade policy cooperation; further attention to translating multilateral surveillance into bilateral policy advice; consolidating relations with partner institutions; and increased attention to rapidly developing trade policy issues. Across all these dimensions, care will be needed to ensure appropriate evenhandedness in trade policy surveillance across countries. A holistic review of the IMF’s “trade strategy” would help to guide trade policy work and the allocation of scarce resources among competing priorities.

Louellen Stedman, Mr. John Hicklin, and Roxana Pedraglio

Abstract

This report is the seventh in a series of evaluation updates by the Independent Evaluation Office of the IMF (IEO) that return to past IEO evaluations and assess the continuing relevance of their main conclusions. The report revisits the 2007 evaluation of IMF Exchange Rate Policy Advice, which found that the IMF was “not as effective as it needed to be” in fulfilling its responsibilities for exchange rate surveillance in the period 1999–2005. While acknowledging the inherent complexity of providing exchange rate policy advice, including the lack of professional consensus on many of the key issues, the evaluation observed serious weaknesses in the IMF’s work on key analytical issues and in its engagement with members. The update finds that the IMF has substantially overhauled its approach to exchange rate policy advice since 2007. Key steps taken include: adoption of a more comprehensive approach to exchange rate surveillance under the 2012 Integrated Surveillance Decision; development of enhanced analytical tools; a new institutional view on capital flows; and introduction of the annual External Sector Report that provides an integrated picture of the external balances of major economies. The IMF continues to work on further enhancements of its approach. Nonetheless, the update concludes that challenges remain that impact the effectiveness of the IMF’s work in an area central to its mandate. The approach for assessing external balances and exchange rates continues to be contentious, in part reflecting differing views across the membership about the process of external adjustment. There are also ongoing questions in other areas, including considerations for exchange rate regime choice, attention to policy spillovers, the institutional view on capital flows, and data availability. The update suggests that the persistence of key issues identified in 2007 merits a full evaluation by the IEO.

Moisés J. Schwartz and Shinji Takagi

Abstract

This volume book brings together nine background papers prepared for an evaluation by the IMF Independent Evaluation Office of “the IMF and the crises in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal.” It presents an authoritative work on the evolving relationship between the IMF and the euro area, a common currency area founded in 1999 consisting of advanced, highly integrated economies in Europe. The euro area, or any common currency area for that matter, has posed challenges to the IMF’s operational activities as its Articles of Agreement contain no provision for joint membership. The challenges became intense when a series of crises erupted in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal from 2009 to 2011, and the Fund was called upon to help intervene by offering its financing and crisis management expertise. The IMF found itself in uncharted territory where there was no precedent or established procedure. The chapters, many of which are prepared by prominent academics and former senior IMF officials who are thoroughly familiar with internal procedures, discuss various aspects of the IMF’s engagement with the euro area, including precrisis surveillance, how key decisions were made, how the IMF collaborated with European institutions, and how it designed and implemented its lending programs with the three crisis countries. The book gives prominence to governance-related issues, given the large voting share (of more than 20 percent) within the IMF of euro area members and the subsequent public perception that the IMF treated the euro area more favorably than it does developing and emerging market members. The approaches are both cross-cutting and country-based. Some chapters deal with issues related to the euro area as a whole, while others focus on how the Fund engaged with individual euro area countries. The book contains a statement on the IEO evaluation by the IMF Managing Director and a Summing Up of the Executive Board discussion held in July 2016.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office and International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Abstract

This volume book brings together nine background papers prepared for an evaluation by the IMF Independent Evaluation Office of “the IMF and the crises in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal.” It presents an authoritative work on the evolving relationship between the IMF and the euro area, a common currency area founded in 1999 consisting of advanced, highly integrated economies in Europe. The euro area, or any common currency area for that matter, has posed challenges to the IMF’s operational activities as its Articles of Agreement contain no provision for joint membership. The challenges became intense when a series of crises erupted in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal from 2009 to 2011, and the Fund was called upon to help intervene by offering its financing and crisis management expertise. The IMF found itself in uncharted territory where there was no precedent or established procedure. The chapters, many of which are prepared by prominent academics and former senior IMF officials who are thoroughly familiar with internal procedures, discuss various aspects of the IMF’s engagement with the euro area, including precrisis surveillance, how key decisions were made, how the IMF collaborated with European institutions, and how it designed and implemented its lending programs with the three crisis countries. The book gives prominence to governance-related issues, given the large voting share (of more than 20 percent) within the IMF of euro area members and the subsequent public perception that the IMF treated the euro area more favorably than it does developing and emerging market members. The approaches are both cross-cutting and country-based. Some chapters deal with issues related to the euro area as a whole, while others focus on how the Fund engaged with individual euro area countries. The book contains a statement on the IEO evaluation by the IMF Managing Director and a Summing Up of the Executive Board discussion held in July 2016.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The twelfth Annual Report of the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) describes activities during financial year 2015 (May 1, 2014–April 30, 2015). During the financial year, the IEO completed an evaluation of the IMF response to the global financial and economic crisis. It also issued two reports updating three past evaluations: The IMF’s Approach to Capital Account Liberalization: Revisiting the 2005 IEO Evaluation; and Revisiting the IEO Evaluations of the IMF’s Role in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) and the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) (2004) and the IEO Evaluation of IMF and Aid to Sub-Saharan Africa (2007). In addition, the Executive Board discussed the IEO evaluation of Recurring Issues from a Decade of Evaluation: Lessons for the IMF, which was issued to the Board in FY2014. The paper reports on the IEO budget and outreach efforts in the financial year. This paper also summarizes the evaluations on Recurring Issues and the IMF Response to the Financial and Economic Crisis, the Board discussions of these evaluations, and the two updates of past evaluations. It also discusses follow-up on IEO evaluations and addresses ongoing evaluations and the IEO work program going forward. A table lists the IEO evaluations and evaluation updates completed or in progress.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This report seeks to help the IMF enhance its effectiveness by identifying major recurring issues from the IEO’s first 20 evaluations and assessing where they stand. The IMF’s core areas of responsibility are surveillance, lending, and capacity development. The aim of this report is to strengthen the follow-up process by focusing on key issues that recurred in IEO evaluations, rather than on specific recommendations on their implementation. The IEO believes that a framework of reviewing and monitoring recurring issues would be useful in establishing incentives for progress, strengthening the Board’s oversight, and providing learning opportunities for the IMF.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The 2014 Annual Report of the Independent Evaluation Office of the International Monetary Fund.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) was established by the IMF’s Executive Board in 2001. It provides objective and independent evaluation of issues related to the IMF. The IEO operates independently of IMF management and at arm’s length from the IMF Executive Board. For more information on the IEO’s activities, visit the IEO website: www.ieo-imf.org.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) evaluation on International Reserves: IMF Concerns and Country Perspectives was discussed by the Board in December 2012. This evaluation examined the IMF’s analysis of the effect of reserves on the stability of the international monetary system and its advice on reserve adequacy assessments in the context of bilateral surveillance. In the multilateral context, the evaluation acknowledged the IMF’s broader work stream on the international monetary system but noted that this work had not sufficiently informed the analysis and recommendations regarding reserves. The IEO evaluation of The Role of the IMF as Trusted Advisor was discussed by the Board in February 2013. This evaluation found that perceptions of the IMF had improved, but that they varied markedly by region and country type. Recognizing that there will always be an inherent tension between the IMF’s roles as a global watchdog and as a trusted advisor to member country authorities, the evaluation report explored how the IMF could sustain the more positive image it had achieved in the aftermath of the recent global crisis. The evaluation found that among key challenges facing the IMF were improving the value added and relevance of IMF advice and overcoming the perception of a lack of even-handedness.

Abstract

This volume examines how independent evaluation contributes to the legitimacy and effectiveness of the IMF. It describes the evolution and impact of the Independent Evaluation Office ten years after its creation as well as the challenges it has faced. It also incorporates feedback from a wide range of internal and external actors and offers useful insights for international organizations, academics, and other global stakeholders.