Austerity Versus Stimulus? Understanding Fiscal Policy Change at the International Monetary Fund since the Great Recession
GEGI Working Paper Series
By Cornel Ban
Since 2008 the IMF has become more open to the use of discretionary fiscal stimulus packages to deal with recessions, while changing its doctrine on the timing and content of fiscal consolidation. Rather than constitute a paradigm shift, these changes amounted only to a careful recalibration of its pre-crisis fiscal orthodoxy. The paper traces this evolution of the Fund’s doctrine to staff politics, more diverse thinking in mainstream economics and a careful framing of the message through the use of mainstream macroeconomic models. The findings contribute to the emerging debate on the internal sources of intellectual and policy change in international economic organizations.
Keywords: IMF, fiscal policy, austerity, stimulus, Keynesian, epistemic networks