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The Scope of IMF Conditionality

  • Randall W. Stone (a1)

International organizations are governed by two parallel sets of rules: formal rules, which embody consensual procedures, and informal rules, which allow exceptional access for powerful countries. A new data set drawn from the IMF's records of conditionality provides an opportunity to study the bargaining process within an important international organization and answer questions about the institution's autonomy. I find evidence of U.S. influence, which operates to constrain conditionality, but only in important countries that are vulnerable enough to be willing to draw on their influence with the United States. In ordinary countries under ordinary circumstances, broad authority is delegated to the IMF, which adjusts conditionality to accommodate local circumstances and domestic political opposition. The IMF has refrained from exploiting the vulnerability of particular countries to maximize the scope of conditionality.

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