The Catalytic Effect and the IMF: The Relationship between Capital Inflows and IMF Program Characteristics
Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Interventions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are believed to impact external capital inflows to recipient countries, which has the potential to amplify the overall effectiveness of IMF programs. However, the true extent of this catalytic effect remains debated. While previous studies have examined the catalytic effect of the IMF at the aggregate level, this research isolates specific types of IMF programs and analyzes their relationship with specific types of financial inflows for a better understanding of the heterogeneity in program effectiveness with respect to the catalytic effect. I find that program type plays a significant role in the strength of the catalytic effect. Longer-term, intense programs directed at crisis management in middle-income countries as well as programs that are directed towards growth generation and poverty alleviation in low-income countries have robust evidence of a catalytic effect while short-term, less intrusive programs do not. Within different capital flow types, there is also differing evidence of a catalytic effect. Aid provides robust evidence of a catalytic effect and foreign direct investment provides some evidence in specific circumstances, but portfolio investment provides weak evidence. Program size seems to weaken the catalytic effect in certain situations but plays a relatively minor role.
Levinson, Matthew, "The Catalytic Effect and the IMF: The Relationship between Capital Inflows and IMF Program Characteristics" (2021). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1724.
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