Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

International Monetary Fund

CGD’s work on the International Monetary Fund investigates the effects of IMF policies on developing countries.

Current work centers on issues of development and debt sustainability. For example, in countries hosting large refugee populations, how can fiscal pressures to support refugees be reconciled with the need for debt reduction? What is the IMF’s role in helping countries reconcile these competing priorities? In frontier markets, is recent rapid debt accumulation putting hard-won macroeconomic sustainability and development investment programs in jeopardy? What mechanisms can best be used by the IMF and others to slow debt accumulation while keeping investment going? What are the best practices for debt transparency? If debt crises occur in the future how will they be resolved? CGD’s ongoing work explores these questions and more.

Past work included the IMF’s role in responding to the global financial crisis. CGD president Nancy Birdsall’s note on How to Unlock the $1 Trillion that Developing Countries Urgently Need to Cope with the Crisis outlined concrete steps on how the IMF could help developing countries respond to the crisis; the idea was endorsed by the G-20 and later approved by the United States and other high-income IMF member nations, opening the way for IMF implementation.  

CGD organized the International Monetary Fund Programs and Health Spending Working Group, chaired by David Goldsborough, a CGD visiting fellow and former senior IMF staff member. The group’s final report from 2007 contributed substantially to subsequent policy changes at the IMF.