Four years have passed since the International Monetary Fund adopted a new
Strategy for Engagement on Social Spending that was meant to increase the
support that IMF gives to national policies on social protection, health and
education. The Fund interprets this as instructing its staff to focus on the
adequacy, efficiency and sustainability of social programs when they can affect
macroeconomic conditions (are “macro-critical”) in member countries. The
staff make their judgments during annual assessments of macroeconomic
conditions in individual countries or when devising policy adjustment
programs with countries that need to work toward recovery from
macroeconomic crises. One way to assess how the new strategy is being
implemented is to look for changes in IMF advice and the policy requirements
for IMF loans. Results so far have not been encouraging, although it is still

Read the article by Barry Herman