The IMF and a new global politics of inequality?

Journal article


Nunn, Alex and White, Paul 2017. The IMF and a new global politics of inequality? Journal of Australian Political Economy.
AuthorsNunn, Alex and White, Paul
Abstract

This paper addresses a simple, and largely empirical, research question: is the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) recent high level commitment to reducing inequality translated into concrete action in its dealings with member states? Addressing this research question is significant in several respects. First, the high level rhetorical commitment to reduce inequality might be seen as paradoxical because the IMF, alongside other institutions of global economic management, has long been criticised for its role in promoting economic reform in member countries, partly on the basis that this increases inequality (Peet et al. 2009; Kentikelenis et al. 2016: 550-1). It is therefore important to assess the extent to which recent pronouncements on inequality by the Fund suggest a change in emphasis or a genuine institutional commitment. Second, addressing the question contributes to a contemporary academic literature on more technical aspects of how we should understand and interpret IMF policy advice and conditionality. This literature currently focusses on a range of aspects of IMF policy advice, but does not address the recent interest of the Fund in inequality. The paper addresses this lacuna.

This paper addresses a simple, and largely empirical, research question:
is the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) recent high level
commitment to reducing inequality translated into concrete action in its
dealings with member states? Addressing this research question is
significant in several respects. First, the high level rhetorical commitment
to reduce inequality might be seen as paradoxical because the IMF,
alongside other institutions of global economic management, has long
been criticised for its role in promoting economic reform in member
countries, partly on the basis that this increases inequality (Peet et al.
2009; Kentikelenis et al. 2016: 550-1). It is therefore important to assess
the extent to which recent pronouncements on inequality by the Fund
suggest a change in emphasis or a genuine institutional commitment.
Second, addressing the question contributes to a contemporary academic
literature on more technical aspects of how we should understand and
interpret IMF policy advice and conditionality. This literature currently
focusses on a range of aspects of IMF policy advice, but does not address
the recent interest of the Fund in inequality. The paper addresses this
lacuna.

KeywordsInequality; International Monetary Fund; International organisations; International political economy
Year2017
JournalJournal of Australian Political Economy
PublisherAustralian Political Economy Movement
ISSN1565826
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/621276
hdl:10545/621276
Publication datesJan 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited18 Jan 2017, 14:50
ContributorsUniversity of Derby and Leeds Beckett University
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