The Micro-Politics of Economic International Organizations
Edited by David Dolowitz, Magdaléna Hadjiisky and Romuald Normand
Chapter 9: Walking the Washington talk? An analysis of the World Bank's policy-practice disjuncture in education
The World Bank has a reputation as a promoter of pro-market educational reforms inspired by the so-called (post-)Washington Consensus (PWC). However, a mechanic association between the World Bank reform agenda and a broad policy paradigm such as the PWC is problematic in that it neglects the diverging interests that are likely to exist within this organization. As a way to analyse organizational divergence, this chapter explores whether and to what extent there is a tension between the public discourse and the lending practices of the World Bank in the educational realm. The chapter also reflects on the possible factors behind the disjunction between the World Bank discourse and practices. We address these questions on the basis of a content analysis of a large corpus of documents, and by focusing on teacher policy – a key component in the World Bank’s education agenda. Our results suggest that the World Bank’s portrait as an advocate of market-oriented reforms is accurate mainly at the discursive level, but that this policy discourse does not consistently translate into its lending practices.
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