BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Defending supremacy: how the IMF and the World Bank navigate the challenge of rising powers

    Güven, Ali Burak (2017) Defending supremacy: how the IMF and the World Bank navigate the challenge of rising powers. International Affairs 93 (5), pp. 1149-1166. ISSN 0020-5850.

    Guven-IFI-RP (Accepted Version-IA-July 2016).pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

    Download (174kB) | Preview


    It is widely acknowledged today that the rise of new powers in the global economy has failed to produce commensurate adjustments in the architecture of global economic governance. How, then, do established multilaterals navigate the challenges arising from growing multipolarity? The article tackles this question by examining recent IMF and World Bank practice. It argues that, resistant though the Bretton Woods twins are to comprehensive reform, they nonetheless employ mechanisms to cope with the new realities on the ground. However, this adaptation lacks a cohesive strategy, and on balance remains insufficient. The analysis launches from a discussion of the normative, operational and competitive challenges the organizations face. It then discusses three coping mechanisms the Fund and Bank have employed over the past decade: (1) bolstering operations in low-income countries (LICs) and small middle-income countries (MICs); (2) adopting a flexible approach towards large MICs to retain them in the organizations’ client portfolio; and (3) reinforcing and refining non-lending activity to preserve normative authority. The effectiveness of these adaptive efforts in addressing the challenges of multipolarity is variable, comprising a mix of modest gain, abject failure, and untested promise. Implications for the organizations’ efficacy also remain uncertain. Even then, these initiatives highlight the twins’ willingness to defend their institutional supremacy in a fast-changing global system. Crucially, they also harbour important signs of change in how ‘development’ is perceived and practised in the strongholds of Western multilateralism.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication following peer review. The version of record is available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): IMF, international development, multilateralism, multipolarity, rising powers, World Bank
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Ali Burak Guven
    Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2017 10:55
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:34


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item