by Kevin P. Gallagher, guest blogger
The G-20 issued a November 2008 call for a coordinated set of national responses to the global financial crisis and pledged that such responses would not be pro-cyclical in nature. With my graduate students at Boston University I conducted a survey of national stimulus packages and IMF rescue plans to examine whether these promises have been fulfilled. It seems they have not.
Our central findings:
· There have been a relatively small number of stimulus packages thus far and they don’t amount to much. The sum of these packages is a very small fraction of global GDP. Just over 20 countries have earmarked approximately $3 trillion (USD) or
0.5 5.5 percent of global GDP.
· The composition within the plans is fairly varied. Some focus infrastructure spending and tax cuts, others include attempts to save a currency or auto bailouts.
· Stimulus packages, with a few exceptions, have mostly occurred in the developed world or in larger developing countries.
· Every stimulus package identified is clearly expansionary, yet IMF packages are starkly contractionary and have a high degree of conditionality.
We link here to a spreadsheet that lists the various stimuli and IMF rescue plans in whole dollars, in terms of GDP, and provide a short description and link to each plan. We also juxtapose this information with data regarding each nation’s budget and current account deficits/surpluses in terms of GDP.
This effort is far from exhaustive we are sure. In your comments please point out and provide links to other efforts that we have overlooked. We will be updating this spreadsheet as the year goes on.
More importantly this survey raises real questions:
1) Is this an adequate global response to the crisis?
2) What about the poorer nations of the world?
3) Is the IMF prescribing the wrong policies?
(UPDATE: See important update to these numbers here. --DR)