This being the tenth-year anniversary of the Asian financial crisis, we are seeing a spate of retrospectives. The latest comes from Taka Ito, a highly respected Japanese economist. Ito comes down as hard on the IMF as a polite and diplomatic Japanese can allow himself. He leans towards the view that the Asian crises were essentially liquidity crises--requiring large infusions of external resources rather than extensive structural reforms. The IMF failed to provide the former, but had plenty of requirements of the latter kind. By contrast, Ito notes, the IMF condoned different approaches in post-Asian crisis cases--but those may have been precisely wrong as well:
The key element of the IMF programs for Russia, Brazil, Turkey, and Argentina,the fixed exchange rate (nominal or real), collapsed within several months after their respective first program in 1998 to 2001. Russia and Argentina fell into effective default on their external liabilities. An irony is that the IMF imposed tight fiscal policy and long lists of conditionality to countries [in East Asia] that probably did not need these conditions, while it allowed the post-Asian-crisis countries to continue a fixed exchange rate, which failed only a few months later.
The picture below shows the remarkable recovery in Asian growth rates after the crisis.