Skip to main content


Weitere Artikel dieser Ausgabe durch Wischen aufrufen

02.12.2020 Open Access

The economics of the democratic deficit: The effect of IMF programs on inequality

The Review of International Organizations
Valentin Lang
Wichtige Hinweise

Supplementary Information

The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11558-020-09405-x.

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


Does the International Monetary Fund (IMF) increase inequality? To answer this question, this article introduces a new empirical strategy for determining the effects of IMF programs that exploits the heterogeneous effect of IMF liquidity on loan allocation based on a difference-in-differences logic. The results show that IMF programs increase income inequality. An analysis of decile-specific income data shows that this effect is driven by absolute income losses for the poor and not by income gains for the rich. The effect persists for up to 5 years, and is stronger for IMF programs in democracies, and when policy conditions, particularly those that demand social-spending cuts and labor-market reforms, are more extensive. These results suggest that IMF programs can constrain government responsiveness to domestic distributional preferences.
Über diesen Artikel

Premium Partner