The International Monetary Fund’s interventions in food and agriculture: An analysis of loans and conditions

Daoud, A., Reinsberg, B. , Kentikelenis, A. E., Stubbs, T. H. and King, L. P. (2019) The International Monetary Fund’s interventions in food and agriculture: An analysis of loans and conditions. Food Policy, 83, pp. 204-218. (doi: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2019.01.005)

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The mandate and competence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) does not cover food and agriculture policies. While there is anecdotal evidence that the IMF engages in these policies regardless, the state-of-the-art lacks a systematic empirical foundation to identify the extent of its mission creep into these sectors. Based on a combination of machine and human coding, we present a comprehensive database on the IMF’s policy interventions in food and agriculture. Using new data on ‘conditionalities’—policies that governments must implement to access IMF credit—we assess to what extent the IMF has targeted these sectors for the period 1980 to 2014. Our analysis evaluates the agricultural content and ideological orientation of conditions according to whether they promote a developmental state, a night-watchman state, or neither. We find about 2% of all IMF conditions (1105 of 58,406) directly target food and agriculture issues. These are present in 43% of all IMF programs (332 of 781); and affect 100 countries (of the 131 countries that have had an IMF agreement). In addition, our analysis reveals that 59.2% of these conditions embody policy measures in line with night-watchman state policy preferences, 40.1% are model-neutral, and 0.7% developmental. Within the model-neutral category, 23.9% are conditions oriented towards building state capacity; 2.7% have a poverty reduction content; and 2.9% contain pro-environment policies. The IMF’s primary reason for targeting food and agriculture is to enforce fiscal discipline by removing subsidies, yet our analysis identifies that only 8% of these policies abolish subsidies. A more consistent explanation of the IMF’s interest in food and agriculture is its broader mission creep into development policy, and its deep-rooted pro-market ideology.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding by the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET Grant INO13-00020: “The Political Economy of Structural Adjustment”) to support the data collection and from the Cambridge Political Economy Trust/ Centre for Business Research at Judge Business School (“IMF conditionality and socioeconomic development”) is gratefully acknowledged.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Reinsberg, Dr Bernhard
Authors: Daoud, A., Reinsberg, B., Kentikelenis, A. E., Stubbs, T. H., and King, L. P.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Food Policy
ISSN (Online):0306-9192
Published Online:02 February 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd.
First Published:First published in Food Policy 83:204-218
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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