Chapter

Chapter 3. Ongoing Topics and Future Menu of Evaluation Topics

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
Published Date:
July 2010
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The IEO is currently working on two evaluations: Research at the IMF: Relevance and Utilization and IMF Performance in the Run-Up to the Current Financial and Economic Crisis. Final issues papers, describing the scope and main questions to be addressed and outlining the methods to be used to conduct the evaluations, were issued on March 18, 2010. In addition, the new IEO Director has begun consultations on topics for future evaluations and expects to propose a medium-term work program in the first quarter of FY2011. Table 1 shows the status of IEO evaluations completed or in progress.

Table 1.Completed and Ongoing IEO Work Program
EvaluationStatus
Prolonged Use of IMF ResourcesCompleted (August 2002)
The IMF and Recent Capital Account CrisesCompleted (May 2003)
Fiscal Adjustment in IMF-Supported ProgramsCompleted (July 2003)
The IMF and Argentina, 1999–2001Completed (July 2004)
The IMF’s Role in PRSPs and the PRGFCompleted (June 2004)
IMF Technical AssistanceCompleted (January 2005)
The IMF’s Approach to Capital Account LiberalizationCompleted (April 2005)
IMF Support to Jordan, 1989–2004Completed (October 2005)
Financial Sector Assessment ProgramCompleted (November 2005)
Multilateral SurveillanceCompleted (March 2006)
Structural Conditionality in IMF-Supported ProgramsCompleted (October 2007)
The IMF and Aid to Sub-Saharan AfricaCompleted (January 2007)
IMF Exchange Rate Policy AdviceCompleted (March 2007)
Governance of the IMFCompleted (April 2008)
IMF Involvement in International Trade Policy IssuesCompleted (May 2009)
IMF Interactions with Member CountriesCompleted (November 2009)
Research at the IMF: Relevance and UtilizationFinal Issues Paper (March 2010)
IMF Performance in the Run-Up to the Current Financial and Economic CrisisFinal Issues Paper (March 2010)

Research at the IMF: Relevance and Utilization

This evaluation will focus on the relevance and utilization of the IMF’s research program, especially by member countries, in the period 1999–2008. The evaluation will also assess the technical quality of IMF research and examine the management of IMF research activities. For the purposes of the evaluation, research is defined as outputs produced by economists across the IMF, focusing on policy analysis or on basic analytical tools and covering a wide spectrum of topics from more theoretical to more applied.

In carrying out the evaluation, the IEO is compiling an inventory of the vast quantity of research produced in this ten-year period (about 6,500 pieces); conducting surveys of all IMF country authorities and of IMF staff economists; reviewing internal documents; and interviewing staff, country authorities, and representatives of academia and think tanks. A number of background papers are also under preparation, including on regional views, the utilization of research in operational work, the technical quality of IMF research, the management of research, and the follow-up on the recommendations of the 1999 Mishkin report on IMF research.

IMF Performance in the Run-Up to the Current Financial and Economic Crisis

Identifying potential risks and vulnerabilities to international monetary and financial stability, together with alerting the membership and advising them of needed policy adjustments to avoid or mitigate the impact of a potential crisis, are among the key objectives of IMF surveillance. This evaluation will assess IMF performance in identifying the factors that brought about the crisis, examine the policy advice that the IMF provided to the membership on how to avoid or mitigate its consequences, and draw lessons for the future.

The evaluation will seek to answer a number of specific questions, including:

  • whether and how far the IMF probed regarding emerging risks and vulnerabilities during the period prior to the crisis, especially in systemically important countries;

  • to what degree the IMF examined the potential interactions between the real economy and the financial sector (i.e., macro-financial linkages);

  • what type of analyses and warnings were given by the IMF to countries facing crisis as well as to the broader membership;

  • how these messages compared with those conveyed by other multilateral institutions; and

  • how quickly the IMF recognized risks and gave policy recommendations as the crisis began to unfold in mid-2007.

To answer these questions, the evaluation will examine the Fund’s performance in both multilateral surveillance and bilateral surveillance, focusing on systemically important advanced economies, as well as emerging market economies and other advanced member economies most affected by the crisis. The evaluation will draw on the review of internal and external documents, interviews with country authorities and staff, workshops on emerging findings, findings from past IEO evaluations, and background studies prepared by IEO staff and external consultants.

Future Work Program

Expectations are for the two evaluations currently underway to be completed during FY2011. The new Director has begun consultations with country authorities, Executive Directors, IMF management, staff, and outside stakeholders to identify a medium-term work program that would best contribute to learning and accountability at the IMF. It is expected that this work program will be issued early in FY2011.

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