Consultation on Designing an IMF Strategic Framework on Social Spending

May 2018

The IMF thanks the organizations and individuals who provided comments for the online consultation on Designing an IMF Strategic Framework on Social Spending .The online consultation ended on July 13, 2018. If you have any questions, please send an e-mail to

The Independent Evaluation Office of the IMF published in June 2017 a report “The IMF and Social Protection”. While the report recognizes that the Fund has made progress in advancing its engagement on social protection issues, it also notes that there is room to do better. One of the key IEO recommendations was for the IMF to establish a new strategic framework on its engagement on social protection issues. This recommendation was endorsed by the Board in July 2017 and the IMF Management proposed (see Management Implementation Plan) that a paper be prepared for Board discussion by February 2019.

The framework will focus on the broader concept of social spending, which includes social protection (social insurance and social assistance programs) but also expenditure on basic education and health services given the significant role these services play in promoting inclusive growth, reducing inequality and achieving the SDGs. It will review current IMF engagement on social spending and clarify the expected scope, objectives, and boundaries of the Fund’s engagement on this issue in its surveillance, program, and capacity development activities. It will also clarify the modalities of engagement with other International Development Institutions with greater expertise in this area.

Questions for consultation

The IMF is seeking your views as valuable inputs in designing this new framework. While we welcome comments on any aspect of the Fund’s work on social spending, we are specifically interested in receiving feedback on the following:

  • Do you agree that a broader focus on social spending is warranted given the importance of education and health for inclusive growth?

  • When do you think IMF should engage on social spending issues? When should it rely on other international organizations, and how can it better leverage their expertise and resources?

  • How should the Fund engage on social spending issue? (e.g. by helping countries sustainably finance increased social spending; support countries in understanding the trade-off involved in choosing between different policy options; enhancing coordination with other international organizations).

  • Are social protection floors and other measures currently implemented in IMF programs effective at protecting or even increasing social spending? What are the key factors that affect their effectiveness? How could the design and implementation of these measures be enhanced?

  • What are the key challenges faced in targeting transfers to lower-income households or in moving towards greater universality (e.g., universal child benefits, universal social pensions, universal basic income)?

  • Please provide examples of countries where you believe IMF engagement on social spending: (i) helped to support this spending, or (ii) undermined this spending? Please provide a description of why this was the case.

  • How should social spending be financed, especially in countries with limited resources or high budget deficits?

How to participate

Interested stakeholders are encouraged to email their responses to the questions above and any other comments to by July 13, 2018.

Please include the following information when responding via email so that the comments can be registered. Senders may request for their responses and comments to be private.

  • Name of the sender
  • Organization you represent (if any)
  • Country (headquarters)
  • Phone number
  • E-mail address

A summary of the responses will be posted on our website and included in the final board paper.