From Designers to Doctrinaires: Staff Research and Fiscal Policy Change at the IMF

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Soon after the Lehman crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) surprised its critics with a reconsideration of its research and advice on fiscal policy. The paper traces the influence that the Fund’s senior management and research elite has had on the recalibration of the IMF’s doctrine on fiscal policy. The findings suggest that overall there has been some selective incorporation of unorthodox ideas in the Fund’s fiscal doctrine, while the strong thesis that austerity has expansionary effects has been rejected. Indeed, the Fund’s new orthodoxy is concerned with the recessionary effects of fiscal consolidation and, more recently, endorses calls for a more progressive adjustment of the costs of fiscal sustainability. These changes notwithstanding, the IMF’s adaptive incremental transformation on fiscal policy issues falls short of a paradigm shift and is best conceived of as an important recalibration of the precrisis status quo.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElites on Trial
EditorsGlenn Morgan, Sigrid Quack, Paul Hirsch
Number of pages33
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
Publication date2015
ISBN (Print)9781784416805
ISBN (Electronic)9781784416799
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
SeriesResearch in the Sociology of Organizations


  • IMF
  • Staff research
  • Keynesian
  • New consensus macroeconomics
  • Austerity

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