IMF programs and technical assistance in the Balkans-what has been achieved?

IMF programs and technical assistance in the Balkans-what has been achieved?

Monday, 30 November 2015 - 5:00pm
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HR
Adam Bennett (St. Antony’s College)
Robin McConnachie (Oxford Analytica; former senior Bank of England official)
Stewart Fleming (St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Adam Bennett (St Antony’s College, Oxford); David Vines (Balliol College, Oxford)
Political Economy of Financial Markets (PEFM)

The first part of this presentation reviews the record, in a quantitative manner, of IMF programs in Southeastern Europe (not including Greece) over the past ten years. It also examines the evolving nature of IMF access (scale of financing) and conditionality in the region over this period. The second part of the presentation will attempt to answer the question why technical assistance often fails. An attempt will be made to extrapolate some general principles from the author's experience of working in Southeastern Europe. What does and does not work, and why?

Adam Bennett is Deputy Director of the Political Economy of Financial Markets (PEFM) program and an Associate of SEESOX at the European Studies Centre. He also lectures (on a part-time external basis) at Cardiff University. Prior to joining St. Antony’s College, Bennett worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), from which he retired in 2011. He was Senior Advisor (aka Deputy Director of Department) in the IMF’s European Department during 2009-11, with responsibility (inter alia) for the Western Balkans, as well as mission chief for Italy. In his early career, Bennett worked for the UK Treasury (specializing in monetary policy and forecasting), and for two investment banks.  Bennett’s published work has ranged over macroeconomics, monetary economics and post-conflict economics. He is a past member of the Editorial Board of the journal of Economic Modelling. Bennett was educated at Cambridge University and the London School of Economics.

After declining a post  as an academic lawyer Robin McConnachie spent 20 years as a senior UK civil servant  mainly in financial ministries and including three years on secondment as Director of Eurobond Sales at an investment bank. His core  expertise was on fiscal policy and the economic effects of taxation especially of companies, reorganising corporation tax policy under the then Conservative UK Government. In 1985 he joined the Bank of England as an adviser in the Markets area to assist with the Big Bang, specialising in monetary policy and UK debt management. With the collapse of Communist regimes in Central and South East Europe in the early 90s the Bank of England decided to set up an Institute to provide technical assistance and training to the new market based regimes. With the collapse of the Soviet Union this expanded into what became the CCBS with external funding and some private sector involvement. Robin combined running the Institute with giving advice on debt management and monetary policy in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria Romania and Croatia and was an adviser to successive Hungarian Governments pre and post EU entry over 20 years. During the next ten years Robin gave short term technical assistance in around 50 countries, whether as part of an IMF TA mission or as an externally funded Bank of England adviser. He continued this work, often in the region, after his retirement from the Bank. He has been honoured by several countires for this work.

In association with SEESOX