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date: 28 June 2022

Debt and International Organizationslocked

Debt and International Organizationslocked

  • Pablo NemiñaPablo NemiñaCONICET; Department of International Relations, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales Argentina
  •  and María Emilia ValMaría Emilia ValCONICET; School of Interdisciplinary High Social Studies, Universidad Nacional de San Martin

Summary

International financial organizations that lend to developing countries are the subject of controversy. Their functions, structures and effectiveness have generated important debates across disciplines, analysts and positions on the ideological-political spectrum. What interests and logic motivate the international financial institutions’ (IFIs) loans? Following an international political economy perspective and mainly based on the literature produced in the early 21st century, we analyze the role played by three variables: the geopolitical and financial interests of powerful global actors, institutional and bureaucratic logic, and the borrower’s interest and domestic policy. These three variables interact and influence the financial decisions made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the major regional development banks (the Inter-American Development Bank [IADB], Asian Development Bank [AsDB], and African Development Bank [AfDB]). On the other hand, what are the main economic and political effects in the recipient countries? The IMF’s credit tackles balance-of-payments crises mainly through adjusting domestic output and consumption, which usually has negative social costs. Development bank lending has diverse effects. Although it tends to boost growth and strengthen domestic accountability, it does not always guarantee the attainment of development goals. In this sense, the literature has found negative impacts on labor rights and forestry, while improvements in health and education cannot always be sustained in the long run.

Subjects

  • Development
  • Organization
  • Political Economy

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