The IMF and Economic Policy

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
10 weeks
Module code
Centre for Financial and Management Studies

Module overview

Welcome to this module looking at The International Monetary Fund and Economic Policy. The module covers an extensive range of issues and, in the next eight weeks, you will study a wide spectrum of topics associated with the relationship between the IMF and macroeconomic stabilisation. Because the subject matter is vast, I have tried to focus on some of the key themes and provide some indications as to where this subject matter can be studied in greater detail if or when you have time to do so.

Learning outcomes

When you have completed this module, you will be able to do the following:

  • identify who pursues stabilisation policies, and why
  • distinguish between countries that seek to stabilise on their own, and those that seek help in doing so
  • outline and discuss the role, function and operations of the IMF and its approach to stabilisation
  • discuss the influence of the financial sector in precipitating instability
  • explain the prevalent stabilisation theories and assess their appropriateness in differing circumstances
  • identify and discuss the major criticisms and controversies that the IMF's approach has elicited
  • explain the particular problems and prescribed remedies for low-income countries seeking to stabilise their economies.

Tuition and assessment

Students are individually assigned an academic tutor for the duration of the module, with whom you can discuss academic queries at regular intervals during the study session.

You are required to complete two Assignments for this module, which will be marked by your tutor. Assignments are each worth 15% of your total mark. You will be expected to submit your first assignment by the Tuesday of Week 6, and the second assignment at the end of the module, on the Tuesday after Week 10. Assignments are submitted and feedback given online. In addition, queries and problems can be answered through the Virtual Learning Environment.

You will also sit a three-hour examination on a specified date in September/October, worth 70% of your total mark. An up-to-date timetable of examinations is published on the website in July each year.

Study resources

  • Study guide: The module study guide is carefully structured to provide the main teaching, defining and exploring the main concepts and issues, locating these within current debate and introducing and linking the assigned readings.
  • Readings: Throughout the module you will be directed to study a selection of readings, including journal articles, book extracts and case studies that are of particular relevance and interest to the topics covered in the module.
  • Virtual learning environment: You will have access to the VLE, which is a web-accessed study centre. Via the VLE, you can communicate with your assigned academic tutor, administrators and other students on the module using discussion forums. The VLE also provides access to the module Study Guide and assignments, as well as a selection of electronic journals available on the University of London Online Library.

Study calendar 2022/23

Core module S1
The IMF and Economic Policy (M413)  Not running Running Running Running

Study calendars are subject to change.

Module overview

Unit 1 Macroeconomic Stabilisation and the Role of the IMF

  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.2 The Character of the International Monetary Fund
  • 1.3 The Articles of Agreement
  • 1.4 Three Key Functions Performed by the IMF
  • 1.5 Organisational Structure of the IMF
  • 1.6 The Executive Board, Constituency System and Advisory Organs
  • 1.7 The Departmental Structure of the IMF
  • 1.8 The Process Followed in Negotiating a Financing Arrangement with the IMF
  • 1.9 Types of IMF Lending
  • 1.10 Types of IMF Conditionality
  • 1.11 Conclusion

Unit 2 The IMF's Approach to Stabilisation

  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Trends in the Use of IMF-Supported Stabilisation Programmes
  • 2.3 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)
  • 2.4 A Model to the Rescue? Mundell-Fleming
  • 2.5 Scenarios Using the IS-LM-BP Schedules
  • 2.6 The Theoretical Framework For IMF Stabilisation Policies
  • 2.7 The Financial Programming Approach – Four Key Identities
  • 2.8 Moving from Identities to Behavioural Assumptions
  • 2.9 Key Questions and Issues – Jamaica 2010
  • 2.10 Conclusion

Unit 3 Alternative Approaches to Stabilisation

  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Key Shortcomings and Criticisms of the IMF Financial Programming Approach
  • 3.3 Further Issues in Evaluating the Financial Programming Approach
  • 3.4 How Can the IMF Programming Approach Be Improved?

Unit 4 Stabilisation and the Financial Sector

  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Capital Flows and Stabilisation Policy
  • 4.3 The Emerging Market Crisis
  • 4.4 The Global Financial and Economic Crisis
  • 4.5 Conclusion

Unit 5 Stabilisation Policy and Financial Sector – Institutional Responses to Recent Crises

  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Financial Sector Crises – the Role and Responses of the IMF
  • 5.3 Developing International Standards and Codes
  • 5.4 The IMF's Role in Crisis Prevention and Resolution
  • 5.5 Financial Crises – Other International Responses
  • 5.6 Conclusion

Unit 6 Stabilisation and the Financial Sector – Some Challenges and Controversies

  • 6.1 Introduction
  • 6.2 Capital Account Liberalisation
  • 6.3 Capital Controls
  • 6.4 Criticisms of IMF Stabilisation Policies
  • 6.5 Criticisms of the IMF's Response During the EME Crisis
  • 6.6 Criticisms of IMF Policy During the Global Financial Crisis
  • 6.7 Conclusion

Unit 7 Stabilisation and Low-Income Countries

  • 7.1 Introduction
  • 7.2 IMF Concessional Lending to Low-Income Countries
  • 7.3 The Economic Development Document
  • 7.4 Debt Relief
  • 7.5 Emergency Lending
  • 7.6 IMF Technical Assistance (TA)

Unit 8 Challenges for Low-Income Countries

  • 8.1 Introduction
  • 8.2 Quotas and Voting Shares of Low-Income Countries
  • 8.3 Access Limits
  • 8.4 Additional Challenges for Developing Countries
  • 8.5 Social Safety Nets
  • 8.6 Conclusion

Module samples


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules