Tracking the Global Financial Crisis: An Analysis of the IMF’s World Economic Outlook

Laurence Chandy, Geoffrey Gertz, and Johannes F. Linn


At the end of April 2009, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released the latest edition of its flagship publication, the World Economic Outlook (WEO). This report marks the most extensive effort to measure the health of the global economy since the outbreak of the global financial crisis last fall. The WEO’s centerpiece is its GDP growth projections, given for 182 countries over the next five years. This indicator alone provides a wealth of information, allowing an examination of not only how countries will fare this year, but whether expectations of the crisis’ impact have stabilized, where and when the recovery might come and how much poorer the crisis will eventually leave us. By identifying which countries and regions are being hit worst by the downturn and which appear to be weathering the storm relatively well, we can learn a great deal about the nature of the crisis, including the channels through which it is spreading around the world and the possible paths to recovery.

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