A commonly-held view is that lending by the multilaterals (the IMF and the World Bank) catalyses others to lend, including private capital markets and official bilateral aid donors. To the extent that this view influences reform of the multilaterals, it is important to know whether it is right or wrong. While there is a growing amount of aggregate econometric evidence that calls into question the existence of the catalytic effect, there is always the possibility that more disaggregated and country-specific research could reveal nuances that are concealed by large-scale empirical work. This paper attempts to fill this gap by systematically examining the case study evidence relating to 17 developing countries and countries in transition. The overall conclusion is that it is difficult to find support for positive catalysis. Combined with other evidence, this raises fundamental doubts about the current direction of international financial reform.

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Journal Third World Quarterly
Citation
Bird, G. (Graham), Mori, A. (Antonella), & Rowlands, D. (2000). Do the multilaterals catalyse other capital flows? A case study analysis. Third World Quarterly, 21(3), 483–503.