Wednesday, September 03, 2008

If the numbers don't go your way, make up some new ones

Ah the IMF. You remember them, right, policy reforms, Washington consensus, adjustment lending? You know, all that stuff that didn't work? Well not so fast says a new IMF working paper entitled "The Myth of Post Reform Income Stagnation: Evidence from Brazil and Mexico".

Here's the abstract:

Economic policies are often judged by a handful of statistics, some of which may be biased during periods of change. We estimate the income growth implied by the evolution of food demand and durable good ownership in post-reform Brazil and Mexico, and find that changes in consumption patterns are inconsistent with official estimates of near stagnant incomes. That is attributed to biases in the price deflator. The estimated unmeasured income gains are higher for poorer households, implying marked reductions in “real” inequality. These findings challenge the conventional wisdom that post-reform income growth was low and did not benefit the poor.

Ha!! and again I say, Ha!!

"What do you mean our policies don't work? What about the 'estimated unmeasured income gains'? Dude, we RULE! Poor people love us."

Aaargh. Olivier, you got a lot of work to do!

1 comment:

Tom said...

The IMF, like any bureaucracy, has a primary purpose: justify the bureaucracy. Everything else is secondary.