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IMF studies 'lack quality and relevance'

Review of research products should be strengthened to improve quality, evaluation body says

Gulf News

Dubai: An evaluation body of the International Monetary Fund has found that a large chunk of its research is of ‘low quality', ‘lacks relevance' and hampers its credibility.

"Many [IMF] staff indicated that they often felt pressure to align their conclusions with IMF views. To enhance their quality, reputation and utilisation, working papers should reflect the results of technical analysis even if these are not well aligned with messages in surveillance activities documents," said a report by the IMF's Independent Evaluation Office (IEO), released Tuesday. "The review of research products should be strengthened to improve quality and to prevent the publication of low quality products."

The IMF produces a large body of research, about 650 publications annually, many of which are currently under scrutiny.

"Many of these products are widely read and highly appreciated in member countries, and they play a significant role in policymaking and in discussions with IMF staff," the report said.

Main aim

IEO Director Moises Schwartz explained that the evaluation's main aim is to improve the relevance and quality of the research it conducts, which should lead to greater credibility and utilisation.

While acknowledging that the IMF has made some changes in the last couple of years, Schwartz urged that it take some additional critical steps to improve the relevance and quality of research. Among these, he suggested that the IMF conduct a periodic strategic review of the functions and uses of its product lines.

"No wonder the IMF often gets things wrong, when it comes to global economic issues," said an economist, requesting anonymity.

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