You may be surprised to learn that the IMF is in the business of delivering massive open online courses, also known as MOOCs. In fact, you may not even be aware that it is in the business of teaching at all.
Our lending operations and monitoring of member countries’ economies certainly grab more headlines. But over a quarter of the IMF’s work involves capacity development—that is, helping member countries build strong economic institutions and boost skills to implement sound macroeconomic and financial policies. The IMF provides quite a lot training and technical assistance behind the scenes to help countries better withstand shocks and avert crises—precisely so they won’t be in the news.
My department, the IMF Institute for Capacity Development, runs a training program for country officials on applied macroeconomics, financial issues, and related statistical and legal frameworks. Our courses use the same rigorous analytical approach as macroeconomics and finance courses taught at universities, but they differ in that they are short and policy oriented, drawing lessons from the experiences of our 189 member countries. They try to bridge the gap between economic theory and practical policy implementation using case studies and workshops based on actual country data.