Reykjavík, Iceland, October 27, 2011

Iceland´s Recovery—Lessons and Challenges

Distilling Iceland’s Lessons

Iceland was the first advanced economy to experience the full force of the 2008 global financial crisis, and the first to subsequently seek financial support from the IMF. Three years later, with the country on the road to recovery, the Icelandic authorities and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are co-hosting this high-level conference to review Iceland’s achievements and examine the challenges that still lie ahead.

During three thematic sessions, participants will assess the policies implemented to address the crisis, such as the use of capital controls and the handling of the banking sector. Iceland’s focus on preserving its social welfare system while undertaking a strong fiscal adjustment will also be reviewed, together with the way in which these policies were integrated into the IMF-supported program, which ended in August.

The Prime Minister of Iceland will open the conference; the Minister of Economic Affairs and the Minister of Finance will also offer remarks. Speakers will include international and Icelandic academics, Icelandic policy makers and IMF staff involved in designing or implementing the program, as well as representatives of civil society.

For more information please email

Harpa Conference Center (Reykjavík), October 27, 2011

8:00 a.m. Registration


Welcoming Remarks

Webcast webcast

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland

Jóhanna Sigurđardóttir SpeechICELAND’S RECOVERY

Árni Páll Árnason, Minister of Economy
Árni Páll Árnason SpeechICELAND'S RECOVERY

9.00-10.30 a.m.

Session I: Crisis Management

Webcast webcast

Examine decisions taken at the height of the crisis. Which policies were most successful? Topics to include capital controls, fiscal automatic stabilizers, and the handling of the banking system.

Session Chair: Arnór Sighvatsson (Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Iceland)

Friðrik Már Baldursson (Reykjavík University)
Friđrik Már Baldursson PresentationIceland’s Program with the IMF 2008-2011

Willem Buiter (Citicorp)
Vilhjálmur Egilsson (Confederation of Icelandic Employers)
Vilhjálmur Egilsson PresentationIceland‘s Recovery Lessons and Challenges

Franek Rozwadowski (IMF)
Franek Rozwadowski PresentationIceland: Crisis Management

and taped remarks by Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia University).


Session II: The Road to Recovery

Webcast webcast

The session will assess the stabilization of the economy and the exchange rate, fiscal consolidation, household and corporate debt restructuring, the rehabilitation of the banking system. Also, the impact on social indicators and Iceland’s social welfare system.

Session Chair: Katrin Ólafsdóttir (Reykjavík University)

Stefán Ólafsson(University of Iceland)
Stefán Ólafsson PresentationLevel of Living Consequences of Iceland’s financial crisis

Jón Daníelsson (London School of Economics)
Jón Daníelsson PresentationThe good, the bad and the ugly

Gylfi Arnbjörnsson (Confederation of Trades Unions)
Gylfi Arnbjörnsson PresentationWhere do we go from here?

Paul Krugman (Princeton University)
Paul Krugman PresentationA Song of Ice and Ire: Iceland in context

12.30-14.00 Lunch

Keynote Speech by Minister of Finance Steingrímur Sigfússon

Webcast webcast


Session III: Challenges Ahead

Webcast webcast

What needs to be done to secure Iceland’s full emergence from the crisis? For example, reducing unemployment, unwinding capital controls, securing access to financial markets. What further action is needed to address outstanding challenges.

Session Chair: Þorvaldur Gylfason (University of Iceland)

Gylfi Magnússon (University of Iceland)
Gylfi Magnússon PresentationChallenges Ahead

Simon Johnson (MIT)
Finnur Oddsson (Chamber of Commerce)
Finnur Oddsson PresentationIncentives and disincentives

Finnur Oddsson PresentationSpeech

Julie Kozack (IMF)
Julie Kozak PresentationIceland: Challenges Ahead


Panel Discussion

Webcast webcast

Moderator: Martin Wolf (Financial Times)

Gylfi Zoëga (University of Iceland and MPC)
Paul Krugman (Princeton University)
Nemat Shafik (IMF Deputy Managing Director)
Már Guðmundsson (Governor, Central Bank of Iceland)
Simon Johnson (MIT)