Conditionality and Ownership in IMF Lending: A Political Economy Approach

Drazen, Allan
December 2002
IMF Staff Papers;2002 Special Issue, Vol. 49, p36
Academic Journal
The relation between IMF conditionality and country ownership of assistance programs is considered from a political economy perspective, focusing on the question of why conditionality is needed if it is in a country's best interests to undertake the reform program. It is argued that heterogeneity of interests must form the basis of any discussion of conditionality and ownership. The paper stresses a conflict between a reformist government and domestic interest groups that oppose reform, leading to a distinction between government and country ownership of a program. After discussing conceptual issues, I present a model of lending and policy reform that illustrates the effects of unconditional and conditional assistance first without and then with political constraints. It is shown that conditionality can play a key role even when the IMF and authorities agree on the goals of an assistance program.


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