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IMF Survey: New Journal to Showcase IMF’s Role in Crisis

October 5, 2009

  • IMF to begin publishing new research journal
  • Journal will present research exploring questions raised by global crisis
  • Contributors include both IMF staff and outside experts

The IMF has announced that its official research journal, IMF Staff Papers, which publishes quarterly articles on a variety of macroeconomic and financial issues, will be replaced in mid-2010 by a new journal called the IMF Economic Review.

New Journal to Showcase IMF’s Role in Crisis

Gourinchas: “There is a growing perception that the Fund has a major role to play in warning policymakers about fault lines in the global financial system” (photo: IMF)


Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, the editor of the new journal and professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley, recently sat down with the IMF’s Archana Kumar to discuss the IMF Economic Review.

IMF Survey online: First, a question on many people’s mind, why the new journal and why now?

Gourinchas: There is a growing perception that the Fund has a major role to play in warning policymakers about fault lines in the global financial system and also helping countries deal with current and future crises. Many of the questions raised by the current crisis don’t yet have definite answers. So there’s a great need for rigorous academic research on these issues, and, through a new journal, the Fund sends a powerful signal that it’s serious about these questions.

IMF Survey online: In terms of the research agenda and content, what do you plan on emphasizing in the IMF Economic Review?

Gourinchas: The list is long. Perhaps I would start with macrofinancial linkages, and the role of financial frictions in the current crisis and its impact on macroeconomic adjustment. One could also mention channels of transmission of the current crisis and how the U.S. financial crisis of 2007 morphed into a global economic downturn. There are a number of issues associated with the reform of the international monetary system that are very relevant for the Fund and for policymakers in general. I would also mention the global implications of rising public debt.

IMF Survey online: So it seems like you have a pretty broad agenda.

Gourinchas: Yes, it’s a very broad agenda. Anything that is related to global macro and finance is within our purview.

IMF Survey online: Is the new journal also going to be closely associated with various conferences organized by the Fund, such as the Annual Research Conference?

Gourinchas: Absolutely. In fact, this year’s Annual Research Conference in November will provide papers for the inaugural issue of the IMF Economic Review. We expect to work closely with the Annual Research Conference in years to come as well. The theme of this year’s conference on Financial Frictions and Macroeconomic Adjustment is very much related to the issues we’re interested in the Review.

IMF Survey online: A question about audience: Most research journals appeal to an academic audience. Is that the readership you have in mind for the IMF Economic Review?

Gourinchas: Not exclusively. Of course, we expect academic researchers to be interested in what the Review has to offer, but we also aim to make the Review relevant for policymakers and, more generally, to anyone interested in global macro issues.

IMF Survey online: So you’re going for a broader, rather than a narrow, audience.

Gourinchas: Yes.

IMF Survey online: Tell us something about your editorial team. Who are the team members and how were they selected?

Gourinchas: We have an absolutely stellar editorial team with members both from the Fund as well as the outside academic community. In fact, one of the very, very positive things about the Review so far is that we’ve been able to line up a fantastic team: to mention a few names, Maury Obstfeld from University of California--Berkeley, Jaume Ventura from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Giancarlo Corsetti from the European University Institute, Gita Gopinath from Harvard, and Ariel Burstein from UCLA. The list is very long, and I’m omitting a number of names already. It’s a strong, young, very energetic team that we’ve put together, and I’m very thrilled with it.

IMF Survey online: The IMF Economic Review sounds like a really timely and terrific effort. Can you tell us when we can expect to see the first issue andjust maybeyou can give us a sneak preview of the themes of the first two issues?

Gourinchas: The first issue should come out next June. As I mentioned, it’s coordinated with the Annual Research Conference and will feature outstanding pieces of research on issues such as the role of financial intermediation for macroeconomic dynamics, the global effect of deleveraging associated with the behavior of financial institutions during the crisis. In this issue, we also have a detailed study of the role of household leverage for the 2007 U.S. recession.

Next, we have a special issue planned in coordination with the Paris School of Economics and the Banque de France, with a conference coming up in January 2010. The theme of the conference is international linkages. Again, we have a very strong list of contributions that is lining up for this issue as well.

IMF Survey online: Can you give us some names of the contributors? Can we look forward to some exciting names?

Gourinchas: This conference issue will have a piece from Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, who is in the IMF’s Research Department. We have also a piece from the George Alessandria, Joe Kaboski, and Virgiliu Midrigan on the role of trade inventories for trade dynamics. We will also have a piece from Linda Goldberg who is at the New York Fed, on the role of global banks.

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