The Response Speed of the International Monetary Fund


  • *We are grateful to Carlos Alvarado, Quianru Song and Dante Poblete for superb research assistance and to Graham Bird, Jim Boughton, Russell Kincaid, Franziska Ohnsorge, Hui Tong, Dennis Quinn, and Felipe Zurita for valuable feedback. Two anonymous referees and the editor provided constructive comments. Saravia also acknowledges financial support from DIPUC No. 282150781. The views expressed here are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the IMF's management or Board of Directors.


The more severe a financial crisis, the greater has been the likelihood of its management under an IMF-supported programme and shorter the time from crisis onset to programme initiation. Political links to the United States have raised programme likelihood but have prompted faster response mainly for ‘major’ crises. Over time, the IMF's response has not been robustly faster, but the time sensitivity to the more severe crises and those related to fixed exchange rate regimes did increase from the mid-1980s. Similarly, democracies had earlier tended to stall programme initiation but have turned supportive of financial markets' demands for quicker action.