Handbook of the International Political Economy of Governance
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of Governance

Edited by Anthony Payne and Nicola Phillips

Since the 1990s many of the assumptions that anchored the study of governance in international political economy (IPE) have been shaken loose. Reflecting on the intriguing and important processes of change that have occurred, and are occurring, Professors Anthony Payne and Nicola Phillips bring together the best research currently being undertaken in the field. They explore the complex ways that the global political economy is presently being governed, and indeed misgoverned.
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Chapter 14: The governance of the World Bank

Liam Clegg


The World Bank remains a high-profile and controversial arena of global economic governance. Given the volume of resources circulating around the organisation, it is perhaps unsurprising that the organisation attracts such a degree of critical attention (e.g. Clegg 2013; Park 2010; Park and Vetterlein 2010; Griffin 2009; Phillips 2009; Weaver 2008; Stone and Wright 2007). In 2010 the Bank reached the peak of its post-Global Financial Crisis lending, with total new commitments amounting to over US$44 billion. While through 2011 new lending dropped back to around US$30 billion, this volume remains far above the organisation's recent historic average of around US$13.5 billion (World Bank 2011b: 2). Beyond the impressive scale of these figures, the precarious state of public finances in many of the middle-and low-income states with which the Bank does business further serves to enhance the structural power of the organisation. With this operational context, it is of first-order importance that analysts look inside the Bank, and enhance our understanding of the governance processes through which key actors attempt to shape and reshape how the organisation approaches its mission. By offering a review of broad contemporary trends with a detailed analysis of the dynamics surrounding the World Bank's shifting engagement with domestic institutional reform, this chapter sheds new light on the inner workings of this important governance institution.

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