Structural Reforms and Economic Performance in Advanced and Developing Countries

Prepared by the Research Department
Approved by Simon Johnson
June 10, 2008

This paper was prepared under the direction of Jonathan D. Ostry by a team led by Alessandro Prati and Antonio Spilimbergo and comprising Lone Christiansen, Prachi Mishra, Chris Papageorgiou, Rodney Ramcharan, Martin Schindler, Nikola Spatafora, Stephen Tokarick, and Thierry Tressel.

This paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.

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Executive Summary

Economic policy agendas in member countries—even as they have been dominated over the past year by the response to the global financial crisis—will, going forward, increasingly need to refocus on core issues related to strengthening medium-run economic performance, including both average growth and resilience to shocks. This paper examines the contribution of structural policies—that is, policies that increase the role of market forces and competition in the economy, while maintaining appropriate regulatory frameworks to deal with market failures—to economic performance. The results are based on a new dataset covering reforms of domestic product markets, international trade, the domestic financial sector, and the external capital account, in 91 developed and developing countries.