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International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

1. The IEO obtained the views of three sets of participants in interactions between the IMF and its member countries. The evaluation team surveyed the authorities and civil society representatives across the membership, and also those IMF staff members who had interacted with authorities and others. The team drafted three separate questionnaires, and engaged Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI)—an independent survey research firm—to help design and administer the surveys.1

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

1. As noted in the main report, the evaluation used three main sources of primary evidence—surveys, interviews, and internal documents. This background paper focuses on the internal documents. It has three sections. The first describes the documents themselves, as well as how they were obtained. The second sets out how the documents were used in the context of the evaluation’s work on the 49 sample countries, which covered the entire evaluation period. The third discusses the evaluation’s cross-country document review of selected issues in interactions, which focused on the last two years of the evaluation period.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

1. This document provides an overview of interview evidence for the evaluation of IMF interactions with member countries. It summarizes the number and type of interviews conducted; sets out the methodological approach to the interviews; and discusses particular issues that arose in the context of the interviews with members, as well as staff working with them, in different country groups.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

1. The IEO obtained the views of three sets of participants in interactions between the IMF and its member countries. The evaluation team surveyed the authorities and civil society representatives across the membership, and also those IMF staff members who had interacted with authorities and others. The team drafted three separate questionnaires, and engaged Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI)—an independent survey research firm—to help design and administer the surveys.1

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

1. This report presents the evidence and findings of an evaluation of the effectiveness of IMF interactions with member countries. It is being issued at a critical juncture for the international monetary system, when the IMF has adopted a more flexible approach to lending, and been given important new responsibilities and a major injection of resources to help members deal with the global financial crisis. Implementation of the new roles will present major challenges, as will maintaining traction when the crisis subsides, and with it the demand for the Fund’s quick response role, in which it has traditionally been effective.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

5. In assessing the effectiveness of interactions between the IMF and the authorities of member countries, the evaluation focused on the perceptions of country officials and individual Fund staff members working on those countries.2 Evidence on these perceptions was gathered through surveys of the whole membership, and interviews focused on 49 countries that explored a number of aspects of effectiveness, which were then considered in tandem with the evaluation’s documentary evidence. This chapter explores what the evaluation’s evidence has to say about the effectiveness of this interface, looking at it from a substantive perspective. The strategic, stylistic, and relationship management issues associated with the management of interactions are taken up in Chapter 4.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

34. For much of its existence, the IMF operated in a bipolar world, with staff interacting almost exclusively with the authorities of member countries, punctuated by fact-finding discussions with donors, creditors, and market participants. This world started to change in the 1990s, and that change accelerated during the evaluation period as the Fund’s new transparency policy took effect, putting a premium on the publication of program documents, Article IV reports, and related papers. Companion efforts to enhance Fund staff communications emphasized outreach to in-country stakeholders beyond the authorities—to parliamentarians, to representatives of civil society as key constituencies, including think tanks and the media as vehicles for getting messages out to particular audiences and the wider public.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

42. This chapter focuses on the management of interactions. It looks at (i) institutional and country strategies for promoting and improving the effectiveness of interactions; (ii) staff-related management issues germane to the achievement of effective interactions; and (iii) of overarching importance, relationship-management issues, including the pulling together of the various strands of interactions into a coherent and consistent interface with the country authorities. It concludes: first, that institutional and country strategies played a limited role in promoting and improving the effectiveness of interactions. Even when there was an operational strategy, the associated staffing and relationship management issues were not always adequately addressed, to the detriment of the overall effectiveness of interactions. Second, that several issues in the management of human resources warrant particular attention—staff style and professional standards, including for candor—as they bear importantly on the effectiveness of interactions through the all-important interpersonal dimension of interactions. And third, that greater attention to the clarity of responsibilities and accountabilities is needed in the Fund’s approach to relationship management, which should embrace the overall effectiveness of interactions as a performance benchmark.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

57. Putting together all the evidence—on substance as well as style—the evaluation concludes that IMF interactions were least effective with advanced and large emerging economies; they were most effective with PRGF-eligible countries, and, to a lesser extent, with other emerging economies. Of great importance is the finding of strategic dissonance between the authorities and staff working on large advanced economies, especially about the role of the Fund in contributing to international policy coordination including through analysis of spillover effects, but also with respect to the development of policy frameworks and outreach aimed at building consensus on policies. Equally troubling is the Fund’s limited effectiveness—and strategic dissonance—with large emerging economies, many of whom saw the surveillance process as lacking value and/or evenhandedness.