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The politics of accountability at the World Bank and IMF: reforming engagements with low-income countries

By Liam S Clegg


The accountability relationships that surround the operations of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are a key feature of global politics. These institutions continue to face criticism from both state and non-state actors over perceived ‘democratic deficit’, and yet the frameworks that we use to investigate the politics of accountability in international organisations (IOs) remain underdeveloped. By integrating the insights of rationalist and constructivist approaches to the study of IOs, this thesis provides clarifications to the conceptual tools available to analysts working in this field. In addition, through a dual focus on the politics of shareholder and stakeholder accountability at the Bank and Fund, important empirical advances are made over previous works. By placing contemporary developments in their historical context, a detailed picture is drawn of the dynamics surrounding shareholder states’ attempts to control these IOs, and of the processes through which relationships between IO staff and in-country stakeholders are reformed. The thesis closes by exploring the fruitful cross-pollination between the analysis of the politics of accountability and broader works on cosmopolitan global governance, concluding that through such a combination the former can be better ‘put to work’, and the real- world tractability of the latter can be enhanced

Topics: JZ International relations
Year: 2010
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