Emerging economies in crisis typically request assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). After evaluating the situation, the IMF makes a loan available to the country conditional on certain policy reforms. Governments usually resist many of these measures and negotiation ensues. This paper analyzes the most contentious measures of IMF conditionality in the context of Russia after the August 1998 crisis. The most discussed measures include the budget deficit, structural reforms, and exchange rate policy. Our analysis suggests that to some extent the disagreement arose because the IMF is focused on changing steady states somewhat ignoring the transition path, while the Russian government is preoccupied with transitional dynamics without a clearly defined steady state concept.
Working Paper Number 00-03.