Peterson Institute publications
The Peterson Institute for International Economics is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan
research institution devoted to the study of international economic policy. More › ›
RSS News Feed Search

Working Paper 09-16

The International Monetary Fund and Regulatory Challenges

by Edwin M. Truman, Peterson Institute for International Economics

December 2009

View full document [pdf]


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) plays a substantial regulatory role in the international monetary and financial system. It has been assigned a formal regulatory role in a limited number of areas such as obligations covering exchange rate policies. The Fund has a broader informal role derived from the voluntary consent of its members such as in surveillance over members' financial sector policies and international payments imbalances.

Edwin M. TrumanThe IMF's regulatory role is unlike that of its member governments within their own jurisdictions. To be effective, the Fund's formal and informal regulation must be constantly nurtured and renewed via peer-review processes. In this context, there are several broadly defined regulatory challenges for the IMF and its members. The first set stems from the obligations members agree to when they join the IMF. Another set is navigating the informal regulations that members have agreed to although they are not part of any formal obligation from the Articles of Agreement, such as the Fund's financial sector assessment programs. A third set of challenges revolves around past and future IMF regulations in the area of global growth and adjustment.

Edwin Truman explores the question of whether the IMF can effectively rise to these regulatory challenges. While considering that the recent economic and financial crisis increased the value of the IMF, it is also important to keep in mind that the IMF's success following the crisis will depend more on the informal role assigned to it by its members than its formal regulatory role. Regardless of whether derived from formal obligation or mutual, ad hoc agreement from members, the IMF's regulatory role must be continuously renewed and nurtured by active peer-review processes.


RELATED LINKS

Policy Brief 14-9: IMF Reform Is Waiting on the United States March 2014

Policy Brief 13-7: The Congress Should Support IMF Governance Reform to Help Stabilize the World Economy March 2013

Book: A Strategy for IMF Reform February 2006

Working Paper 11-5: Integrating Reform of Financial Regulation with Reform of the International Monetary System February 2011

Policy Brief 10-29: Strengthening IMF Surveillance: A Comprehensive Proposal December 2010

Working Paper 10-14: Reform of the Global Financial Architecture October 2010

Testimony: The Role of the International Monetary Fund and Federal Reserve in the Stabilization of Europe May 20, 2010

Op-ed: How the Fund Can Help Save the World Economy March 5, 2009

Article: Economists Seek IMF Reform January 26, 2009

Policy Brief 07-1: The IMF Quota Formula: Linchpin of Fund Reform February 2007

Op-ed: The IMF Should Heed This Resignation July 25, 2012