This paper is one of a series of drafts for a study currently under preparation at ODI with the provisional title of The IMF and Developing Countries: Its Role in the 1990s. The completed report will review developments in the1980s; examine the Fund as a source of finance and issues in its lending policies; review the theory and practice of IMF policy conditionality and of heterodox alternatives to it; and explore the future role of the Fund. The present paper is a draft of the introductory chapter of the study, surveying the ways in which the position of the IMF has been changing, particularly in the 1980s, and providing an overview of the key issues concerning its future role, as they appeared in the early 1990s.
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