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Civil society and IMF accountability

By Jan Aart Scholte


This paper examines in what ways and to what extent civil society activities have made the International Monetary Fund answerable to those whom it affects. It is argued that various types of civil society associations have used multiple kinds of tactics to advance IMF accountability on a number of occasions, particularly in relation to certain matters such as transparency, debt relief and social concerns. However, the overall scale of these contributions has remained modest to date, so that civil society has only partly closed the significant accountability gaps that are found at the Fund. Moreover, civil society relations with the IMF have often been rather hegemonic, in the sense that the accountability secured through these citizen channels has, on the whole, flowed disproportionately to dominant countries and social circles, rather than to subordinate countries and social strata who generally experience the greatest accountability deficits vis-à-vis the Fund. The need for future improvements in IMF accountability is therefore not only to nurture more civil society activities in respect of the institution, but also more civil society initiatives that directly engage, and are themselves more accountable to, marginalised countries and social groups

Topics: HB, JZ
Publisher: University of Warwick. Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation
Year: 2008
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