The politics of accountability at the World Bank and IMF

Project: Research project (funded)Research

Project Details


Through this research into the politics of accountability surrounding the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s concessional lending activities, Dr Liam Clegg seeks to clarify our understanding of the ‘shareholder’ and ‘stakeholder’ relationships within these arenas of global economic governance.

Working within an economic constructivist framework, Dr Clegg shows how both ideas and incentives shape the way in which the Bank and Fund operationalise their mandates. These findings contribute to contemporary debates in academic International Relations and International Political Economy, and are of relevance to both policy-makers and non-governmental organisations interested in the work of the World Bank and IMF.

Layman's description

Staff within the World Bank and IMF often talk of their need to be responsive to directions received from 'shareholders' and 'stakeholders' when going about their work. Through this project, Dr Liam Clegg explores the detail of how the institutions' operations are shaped by major donor states and the on-the-ground populations directly affected by Bank and Fund interventions.

Key findings

Core findings from the project have identified and explained the following important contemporary dynamics at the World Bank and IMF:

i) The increasing use of Trust Funds as a mechanism of shareholder influence at the World Bank, by the UK government and other major donors;

ii) The dramatic expansion in the use of 'social spending targets' in IMF concessional lending operations in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, and;

iii) The G20-led drive to expand the IMF's data-collection capacity, as a means of enhancing global financial stability.

These core findings are explored in the outputs listed below.
Effective start/end date1/01/1131/12/11




  • JZ International relations
  • JF Political institutions (General)