IMF replies to TB post

I wouldn’t normally write posts just to tell readers about new comments, since I figure you can find them for yourself if you’re interested, but this one is just too interesting.

A couple days ago I posted about a recent study linking IMF loans with increased rates of TB in Eastern Europe (IMF funding linked to high TB rates).  My source was an online article from BBC News.  Well, who should reply but the IMF Public Affairs Office!

The IMF is — prepare to be shocked — disputing the findings of the study, conducted by researchers at Cambridge University.  Economists from within the IMF argue that the study used “dubious methodology” and drew invalid assumptions about cause-and-effect.

Now, I’m no expert on any of this, but I’ve got to say that I’d find criticism of the report more convincing if it came from a third party — that is, someone other than the IMF itself.  The effect of IMF loans on healthcare in the developing world is notoriously controversial.  The IMF obviously doesn’t think it’s doing damage, but a lot of other people and organizations disagree.  (The Center for Global Development, an independent non-profit think tank, conducted a study on the impact of IMF loans on healthcare: you can find it on their website.)

I’ll keep my eyes open for further discussion of the Cambridge study.  In the meantime, I leave it to you, dear readers, to investigate further if you’re interested.  I will say one thing for sure though: I’m impressed with the IMF’s PR people.  It’s kind of amazing that they apparently went out of their way to track down and respond to obscure blog posts discussing the study.  I feel almost honored that they felt the need to get their press release out on my blog.  Then again, this does kind of make me wonder about time and resource management over at the IMF.  Oh well, for the moment I guess I’ll settle for feeling bizarrely honored. :)

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~ by h.e.g. on July 24, 2008.

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