This review examines experience in implementing the lessons drawn in the 2011 Board paper on the Fund’s engagement with countries in post-conflict and fragile situations (more commonly referred to as fragile states (FS)) and the ensuing 2012 Guidance Note. The focus is on capacity building, Fund facilities and program design, and policy support. The review identifies scope to improve the Fund’s engagement in selected areas.
We analyze the relationship between international trade and the quality of economic institutions, such as contract enforcement, rule of law, and property rights. In our model, firms differ in their preferences for institutional quality, which is determined endogenously in a political economy framework. We show that trade opening can worsen institutions when it increases the political power of a small elite of large exporters who prefer to maintain bad institutions. The detrimental effect of trade on institutions is most likely to occur when a small country captures a sufficiently large share of world exports in sectors characterized by economic profits.
The paper focuses on distributional consequences of macroeconomic adjustment. The preferences of economic agents over the level of the real exchange rate derived from standard models are monotonic, with agents favoring either an infinitely appreciated or depreciated rate. To generate less extreme preferences, a model is presented where appreciation would depress economic activity, while a large depreciation would hit the tradable sector by limiting the availability of labor, offsetting the favorable price effect. The model is in the spirit of the dependent economy model, but built on explicit microfoundations. The results can be used to analyze political economy aspects of macroeconomic adjustment.
IMF lending is generally conditional on specified policies and outcomes. These conditions usually are negotiated compromises between policies initially favored by the Fund and by the country's authorities. In some cases the authorities might be satisfied enough with the outcome to take responsibility for it ("own" it) even though it was not their original preference. In other cases, they might accept the outcome only to obtain financing, in which case weak commitment might lead to poor implementation. This paper reviews the theoretical basis for the importance of ownership, summarizes what is known about its empirical effects, and suggests a strategy for strengthening it.