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Watching from the sidelines? The decline of the IMF's crisis management role

Abstract

This article compares the International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s crisis management role during the Asian financial crisis in 1997-98 with the role it has played during the 'credit crunch' which emerged in the wake of the subprime crisis in the United States. With prominent calls for the construction of new forms of global financial governance to prevent a recurrence of the subprime crisis in the future, we explore how the designated guardian of the international financial system has responded to the credit crunch in order to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the existing system. Our comparison of the US subprime crisis and the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s indicates that the IMF has lost credibility with its members, and particularly with its principal sponsor, the United States, which has curbed its capacity to develop multilateral solutions to major financial crises.
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