In Search of Legitimacy - The IMF, World Bank and WTO

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In Search of Legitimacy - The IMF, World Bank and WTO

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Publication 1-year master student thesis
Title In Search of Legitimacy - The IMF, World Bank and WTO
Author(s) Widén, Martin
Date 2006
English abstract
In the light of rising criticism and debate over the legitimacy and accountability of the central international economic institutions, the IMF, World Bank, and WTO, some developments can be seen in how these organizations are reacting to such criticism to improve their legitimacy. The study is comparative in character and aims to explain how these organizations are changing and why this change is occurring now as well as why there are differences in how the three organizations are developing. In taking a constructivist approach to the study of international organizations as actors, it is argued that an understanding of international organizations as bureaucracies with varying degrees of autonomy will contribute to a deeper understanding of their behaviour. The role, mission, and organization of the three organizations is discussed, followed by critique relating to representation and influence for share- and stakeholders, as well as problems of transparency and accountability. Relevant changes in the organizations include increased transparency and use of evaluations, and an increased contact with NGOs. It is argued that NGOs have been an important influencing factor on this development, but also important is the fact that central states have begun to argue for similar changes. These issues have now become important questions in the organizations. The differing roles and character of the organizations has meant that they have responded differently to criticism and have been more or less open to NGOs. Their bureaucratic culture is seen to influence how these issues are interpreted in the organizations. The World Bank has developed the most while the IMF and the WTO have been slower to respond to criticism and engage with NGOs. Significantly these changes arguably amount to a change in what legitimacy means for these organizations.
Publisher Malmö högskola/IMER
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) International organization
Global governance
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