How to Write for Finance & Development

  1. What is Finance & Development?

F&D is the IMF’s most widely read magazine, focusing on issues related to macroeconomics, development, and finance. It is editorially independent and features authors from both within and outside the Fund. Articles are published online throughout the year and a subset of articles appears in our quarterly print edition (March, June, September, and December). In addition to English, F&D appears in Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.

  1. Who reads Finance & Development?

F&D readers are well-educated people interested in economic and development issues—many are decision makers in both the public and the private sectors—but they are not necessarily economists. Over 3 million people read F&D’s digital edition each year, and our weekly e-newsletter has a six-figure audience—so our readership is both broad and deep.

  1. Why should you write for Finance & Development?

Writing for F&D is a great way of reaching a well-educated global audience to float an idea or share a perspective that can contribute to an ongoing debate. F&D is all about accessibility: it provides an opportunity to talk about what you know in a way that will resonate with a broad range of people, from well-educated members of the public to academics and policymakers.

  1. How should you write for nonspecialists?

The tone of your article should be that of a serious consumer magazine—The Economist, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic Monthly, for example—not that of an academic journal. You should pitch your article to a broad audience. Some tips:

First impressions last a lifetime…

  • Engage your readers with a lively opening and immediately establish that your angle is interesting, important, and new.
  • Draw the reader in with concrete, colorful examples.
  • Avoid jargon, overly formal language, and technical analysis that may be challenging for non-expert readers.

Serious topics can also be engaging …

  • Focus on what’s going on in the world around us and how challenges should be addressed; discussion of what is going on within institutions or the economics profession should only be included insofar as it relates to the outside world (avoid inside baseball).
  • Provide analysis that leads to conclusions and recommendations; don’t just describe.
  • Be concise—ask yourself what can be cut without disrupting the article. Less is more. In the same vein, use compelling examples and avoid broad statements and platitudes.
  • Use charts wisely. Ask yourself: What is the key message you want an audience to take away from the data. Many charts fail because they try to communicate too many messages and do not effectively account for how the average reader will interpret the visualization and ultimately come away with something understandable and memorable.
  • Keep references to a maximum of five and avoid footnotes.

Make your parting words memorable…

  • Close the article on a forward-looking note—share a glimpse of what’s next for the topic addressed.
  1. How do you propose an article?

Submit your proposal to COMFDMAG@imf.org. Include a brief outline and a link to any related papers.

We will consider your proposal and be in touch if we wish to pursue it. Our editorial team may seek to discuss it with you further before a final decision is made. If a green light is given, the editor assigned to you will provide a word limit and other guidance.

Once drafted, send us your article via email as a Word document. Charts should be in Excel files, accompanied by data. Create separate files for text, tables, and charts.

Since the goal is to make the article accessible to a general audience, your article will be edited. The amount of editing we do varies. You will be asked to define or explain any technical terms or concepts. We rewrite passages if necessary to eliminate jargon or make the argument clearer; we may also need to shorten articles for print.

After editing, we share the draft with F&D’s advisory board (senior Fund economists) as part of a double-blind peer review process. Advisors often make detailed and substantive comments, which you are encouraged to take into account. Your revised article will then be copyedited. Throughout the process, we will remain in close touch—we will always show you a final version for approval.

We look forward to engaging with you.

Thanks for stopping by … if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at COMFDMAG@imf.org

The F&D Team

Opinions expressed in articles and other materials are those of the authors; they do not necessarily reflect IMF policy.