Education International
Education International

IMF: Neoliberal agenda proven wrong by crisis

published 15 November 2011 updated 18 November 2011

A new International Monetary Fund (IMF) research paper finds that "good governance" – as defined by the World Bank market friendliness indicators – and financial market liberalisation both have had a strongly negative effect on countries' performance in the crisis.

The study by researchers Donato Masciandaro, Rosaria Vega Pansini, and Marc Quinty, entitled " The Economic Crisis: Did Financial Supervision Matter?" looked at the effect of public sector regulation - as measured by the World Bank. They found that countries which followed the World Bank model of market-friendly regulation did worse than others: “This variable is negative and highly significant,” the report states.

Banking sector liberalisation showed the same results, the researchers found: "The significantly negative coefficients indicate that the countries that liberalised their financial systems the most, were most affected by the banking and economic crisis."

The paper summarises these findings in simple terms: "The countries with the best ratings in terms of a public sector regulatory framework, as well as those countries with the most far reaching financial deregulation, were hit the hardest economically."

The paper also refers to similar findings of another study by European Central Bank economists (" Market freedom and the global recession" by Domenico Giannone, Michele Lenza, and Lucrezia Reichlin), whose authors concluded: "For the recent crisis, countries which scored the highest in terms of quality of regulation have also been the least resilient to the global recession. In direct relation to this, the degree of banking regulation seems to be particularly significant: more banking deregulation is negatively correlated with countries’ economic resilience."

The indications of these findings are distinct: More restrictions on bank activities seem to have reduced the likelihood of suffering the recent financial crisis. "With the publishing of these research papers, the conclusions that have to be drawn are clear: It is time to save the jobs of workers all over the world, struggling to earn their living, not bankers' wealth!" said Fred van Leeuwen, EI General Secretary.