International Monetary Fund


Jobs & Growth Seminar: The IMF's Advice to Low-Income Countries: Still One Size Fits All?

Jobs & Growth  Seminar

Friday, May 11, 2012
Events Hall, HQ1-01-704

The country-level advice that the IMF offered to its developing country member states in 2010 was still characterized by an ‘one size fits all’ approach.


Iyanatul (“Yan”) Islam
Chief, Country Employment Policy Unit
Employment Policy Department
International Labour Organization


Atish (“Rex”) Ghosh
Assistant Director, Research Department
Chief, Systemic Issues Division
International Monetary Fund

Andy Berg
Assistant Director, Research Department
Chief, Development Macro Division
International Monetary Fund


Caroline Pearce
Head of Policy
Global Campaign for Education

Fiscal adjustment loomed large (48 out of 50 cases), with an implicit preference for low fiscal deficits (usually 2 per cent of GDP) and low public debt to GDP ratios (usually 40 per cent of GDP).

  • There were ample references to poverty reduction, but the discussion was usually rudimentary.
  • In the case of employment, there were no references to MDG 1b or to the social protection floor.
  • Lack of job creation was usually attributed to high public sector wages and labor market rigidities.

What lessons can one draw for the future Article IV consultations?

  • Monitoring of debts, deficits and inflation should be tailored to country-specific circumstances rather than being linked to a formulaic approach.
  • The discussion of fiscal issues needs a more explicit development dimension. This means a more regular and rigorous analysis of the sustainable financing of the MDGs and the social protection floor.
  • More emphasis is needed on the poverty-employment link.

These conclusions are based on a content analysis of 2009-2010 IMF documents for a sample of 30 low income and 20 middle income countries, supplemented by drawing on a separate assessment of IMF Article IV consultations for 25 low and middle income countries.

Workshop Organizers

Prakash Loungani

Please send an e-mail to if you’d like to attend this event.