Short-Term Pain, Long-Term Gain? The Effects of IMF Economic Reform Programs on Public Health Performance

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Department 1

Political Science


In this study, we evaluate the effects of the International Monetary Fund’s structural adjustment programs (SAPs) on the public health performance of countries. We test the claim made by proponents of SAPs that although these programs may produce short-term hardship for the countries adopting them, they will generate positive developmental effects in the long term. Methods. Our study draws on a global data set and employs a model that takes into account the potential for selection bias in the adoption of SAPs by states. Results. The central finding of the article is that SAPs in the short term raise the exposure of populations to conditions that increase incidences of disability and death. Contrary to the assertions made by the advocates of SAPs, we also find evidence that these programs have attenuated but still harmful effect on public health performance in the long term. Conclusions. This study highlights the negative influences of SAPs on public health and suggests that a need exists to reevaluate the claims that have been made regarding the developmental effects of these programs. [excerpt]


Original version is available from the publisher at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ssqu.12068/abstract



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