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From Economic Crisis to Reform:
IMF Programs in Latin America and Eastern Europe
Grigore Pop-Eleches

Honorable Mention for the 2010 Ed A. Hewett Book Prize, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES)

Paperback | 2008 | $38.95 | £32.95 | ISBN: 9780691139524
368 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 40 line illus. 11 tables.
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The wave of neoliberal economic reforms in the developing world since the 1980s has been regarded as the result of both severe economic crises and policy pressures from global financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Using comparative evidence from the initiation and implementation of IMF programs in Latin America and Eastern Europe, From Economic Crisis to Reform shows that economic crises do not necessarily persuade governments to adopt IMF-style economic policies. Instead, ideology, interests, and institutions, at both the international and domestic levels, mediate responses to such crises.

Grigore Pop-Eleches explains that the IMF's response to economic crises reflects the changing priorities of large IMF member countries. He argues that the IMF gives greater attention and favorable treatment to economic crises when they occur in economically or politically important countries. The book also shows how during the neoliberal consensus of the 1990s, economic crises triggered IMF-style reforms from governments across the ideological spectrum and how these reforms were broadly compatible with democratic politics. By contrast, during the Latin American debt crisis, the contentious politics of IMF programs reflected the ideological rivalries of the Cold War. Economic crises triggered ideologically divergent domestic policy responses and democracy was often at odds with economic adjustment. The author demonstrates that an economic crisis triggers neoliberal economic reforms only when the government and the IMF agree about the roots and severity of the crisis.


"This is an excellent book which brings a new and interesting perspective to an important issue. With the current global financial crisis heightening demand for IMF resources this book could not be timelier. . . . From Economic Crisis to Reform is an important study and a model of rigorous mixed method research that makes a significant contribution and that should be read widely. As the current global financial crisis prompts a number of former communist countries in Eastern Europe to turn to the IMF for support, scholars interested in understanding how such programs are likely to evolve should start by turning to Pop-Eleches's book."--Jeffrey Chwieroth, Review of International Organizations

"This is a sophisticated and substantively rich book. In addition to making a significant contribution to the burgeoning subfield of International Monetary Fund studies, it serves as a rare example of multimethod research that combines formal modeling, quantitative testing, and qualitative case studies. From Economic Crisis to Reform is informative even for a specialist and accessible even for a newcomer to the field."--Randall Stone, Perspectives on Politics

"From Economic Crisis to Reform is a very rich, carefully researched work that is especially commendable for its ambitious research design, aimed at accounting for the dynamics of international- and domestic-level interactions regarding economic reform. Its comprehensive and illuminating nature should make it an indispensable reading for students of international and comparative political economy, international relations, and comparative politics more broadly. Its nuanced discussion should also make the book of great interest to area specialists and practitioners alike."--Aleksandra Sznajder Lee, Comparative Political Studies

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Table of Contents:

List of Illustrations and Tables ix
List of Abbreviations xiii
Preface xv
Chapter 1: Introduction 1
Chapter 2: A Theoretical Approach to IMF Program 27
Initiation and Implementation
Appendix to Chapter 2--Statistical Indicators and Methods 53
Chapter 3: Changing Crisis "Recipes": The International Drivers of IMF Programs 66
Chapter 4: Navigating External Crises: Case Study Evidence 105
Chapter 5: Domestic Political Responses to Economic Crises 135
Chapter 6: Domestic Crisis Politics: Case Study Evidence 174
Chapter 7: The Great Reconciliation?--Latin America and the IMF in the 1990s 238
Chapter 8: Theoretical Conclusions and Policy Implications 284
Appendix--A Formal Model of IMF Program Initiation and Implementation 307
Bibliography 323
Index 335

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