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May 2021

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2021 Comprehensive Surveillance Review—Background Paper on Main Findings from the Stakeholder Surveys

March 19, 2021


This note presents key results from the surveys of country authorities, IMF Executive Directors (EDs), and mission chiefs (MCs) to inform the Comprehensive Surveillance Review (CSR). The main survey was conducted in May / June 2019. A short survey update was conducted in August 2020 to determine how the ongoing global COVID-19 crisis impacted the original survey’s findings. Key takeaways and cross-cutting themes that emerge are:

Trends. Country authorities, EDs, and MCs universally view subdued productivity growth, demographic trends, and fintech as important.

Policy challenges. Achieving sustainable growth, devising and implementing structural policies, and finding fiscal policy space to respond to shocks and address policy trade-offs are top policy challenges across income groups and regions.

Surveillance priorities. There is strong support for the four identified priority areas, across income groups and regions: (i) confronting risks and uncertainties; (ii) pre-empting and mitigating spillovers; (iii) fostering economic sustainability; and (iv) a more unified approach to policy advice for a more effective policy mix.

Surveillance modalities. On enhancing the approach to surveillance, the surveys reveal broad support for increasing selectivity, flexibility, and for taking deeper dives with regards to issues to be covered in Article IV consultations. In addition, there are strong calls for more discussion of cross-cutting issues at the Board.

Traction. Traction of Fund policy advice is stronger in EMs and LICs, The influence on national policymaking and implementation varies across policy areas and is stronger on fiscal, structural and financial sector policies. with extra efforts needed for monetary and external sector advice.

COVID-19. The COVID-19 survey update results are in line with the results from the original survey, while providing some nuance. Fintech developments stand out as becoming an even more important trend, while fiscal policy room, sustainable growth, and structural policies have become even more critical policy challenges. The relevance of the identified surveillance priorities is confirmed with the relevance of confronting risks and uncertainties and fostering economic sustainability increasing the most. Use of remote communication technology is identified as especially useful for enhancing the Fund’s surveillance engagement.

Approved By

Ceyla Pazarbasioglu

Prepared by Erik Lundback and Jelle Barkema under the guidance of Rupa Duttagupta and Sanjaya Panth (all SPR), in collaboration with other departments.



  • A. Introduction

  • B. Coverage, Design, and Interpretation

  • C. Key Trends Over the Next 10 years

  • D. Policy Challenges Over the Next 10 Years

  • E. Surveillance priorities

  • F. Surveillance Modalities

  • G. Macro-Financial Surveillance

  • H. Traction


  • 1a. Trends by Income Group

  • 1b. Trends by Respondent Group

  • 2a. Policy Challenges by Income Group

  • 2b. Policy Challenges by Respondent Group

  • 3. Intersection of Fiscal and Structural

  • 4. Relative Importance of Priorities

  • 5a. Confronting Risks and Uncertainty by Income Group

  • 5b. Confronting Risks and Uncertainty by Respondent Group

  • 6a. Mitigating Spillovers by Income Group

  • 6b. Mitigating Spillovers by Respondent Group

  • 7a. Unified Policy Advice by Income Group

  • 7b. Unified Policy Advice by Respondent Group

  • 7c. Policy Combinations

  • 8a. Fostering Sustainability by Income Group

  • 8b. Fostering Sustainability by Respondent Group

  • 9a. Surveillance Modalities by Income Group

  • 9b. Surveillance Modalities by Respondent Group

  • 10a. Macro-Financial Surveillance by Income Group

  • 10b. Macro-Financial Surveillance by Respondent Group

  • 11. Traction by Income Group


  • 1. Response Rates and Breakdown Within Respondent Groups


  • I. COVID-19 Survey Update

2021 Comprehensive Surveillance Review— Background Paper on Main Findings from The Stakeholder Surveys
Author: International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department