Saturday, April 22, 2006

Rajan on IMF Reform

With the world economy growing smartly, international financial crises are in short supply, giving the International Monetary Fund less to do. Yesterday's Wall Street Journal contains an intriguing idea:

the IMF's chief economist, Raghuram Rajan, is pushing to have the Fund offer a kind of "insurance" to developing countries. So long as their policies meet IMF standards they would be assured easier access to IMF funds in emergencies.
The idea is to fix the roof when the sun shines, rather than when it is raining.

But would this policy be time consistent? For it to work, the IMF would need to be harder on those nations whose policies did not meet IMF standards.