How can governments convince voters to support an unpopular policy in times of crisis? One solution may be to turn towards an external actor, such as the IMF, in order to make crisis resolution more effective. At the same time, the involvement of the IMF undermines national sovereignty, which is seen critically by many voters. Evelyne Hübscher and Thomas Sattler's analysis uses an experimental approach to assess how voters evaluate the costs and benefits of such external interventions. The results from Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain show that -- with the exception of Greece -- approval of fiscal adjustment is higher with than without an IMF intervention. According to a causal mediation analysis, this is the case because voters expect that the crisis is more likely to be solved when the IMF intervenes. At the same time, voters are critical of the loss of democratic control if the IMF intervenes. Taken together, however, the hope that the crisis can be resolved with the IMF dominates the dissatisfaction over the lack of democratic accountability. Nonetheless, cross-country differences suggest that support for interventions critically hinges the ability of the IMF to deliver on the promise to resolve the crisis.
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