IMF concedes mistakes in reform drive

The International Monetary Fund argues in a working paper that its mistaken projections regarding the Greek recession were mainly due to “weaker than anticipated program implementation and payoffs from reform, political and social dislocation,” which led it to overestimate the economy’s potential to withstand austerity measures.

In a document titled “Assessing the Impact and Phasing of Multi-year Fiscal Adjustment: A General Framework,” the three authors claim that the IMF’s underestimation of the depth of the Greek recession was not mainly due to an incorrect so-called fiscal multiplier – which in the case of Greece had been assumed to be lower than eventually realized.

They nevertheless admit that in certain economies that follow adjustment programs fiscal multipliers tend to be higher during periods of recession, meaning that this may be proportionately deeper than the size of austerity budget cuts.