Full Text

International Monetary Fund

Susan Hagood Lee


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a multilateral financial organization that provides short-term lending to governments, promotes free trade and fiscal austerity policies, and collects financial data on the world economy. Its 186 member states agree to follow fiscal and monetary policies conducive to international financial stability and to allow IMF supervision of their national policy regimes. IMF membership is a precondition for membership in its sister organization, the World Bank, the world's leading source of development funding, and IMF loans typically open access to bilateral and commercial loans. The IMF thus serves as gatekeeper to the international financial system. IMF loans typically carry policy conditions such as reductions in government spending, lower trade barriers, elimination of subsidies, and higher interest rates. Critics have charged that these policies hurt the poor, precipitate financial crises, and protect the interests of western financial institutions at the expense of impoverished nations. The IMF originated in the 1944 conference at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire convened to stabilize the world's economy following the end of World War II. The western allies wanted to avoid the catastrophic financial turmoil following World War I when nations engaged in competitive currency devaluations to gain export advantages. The strategy backfired and world ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top