Talk: “Development Policy for a Multipolar Age: How the World Bank Re-Imagines Governance” by
Dr Ali Burak Güven
Department of Politics
Birkbeck, University of London
Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 12:30 p.m.
FEASS Building, A-130
Governance became a key topic of interest for the World Bank in the 1990s, quickly translating into a comprehensive agenda of reform to be pursued with conviction in its developing members. Yet ambiguity surrounds the current status of this agenda. While the Bank continues to devote significant bureaucratic resources to governance, associated loan commitments have declined and many large borrowers avoid projects that directly target governance themes. Building on field research, this paper finds that the state of play reflects a profound shift in the way the Bank envisages governance. What was once a confident programme of reform is now recast in a nuanced, supporting role and implemented with discretion on the ground. The paper argues that the Bank’s re-imagining of governance can be explained mainly via emergent operational preferences and constraints. It constitutes an internally-driven norm revision that fits, though imperfectly, the wider patterns in the ongoing transformation of North-South development cooperation.
Dr Ali Burak Güven is Lecturer in International Relations and International Political Economy at Birkbeck, University of London, where he directs the MSc Global Governance and Emerging Powers. His work lies at the intersection of comparative and international political economy, focusing primarily on development policy and practice. Much of his recent research examines how an increasingly multipolar global economy impacts the parameters of development cooperation, with particular reference to international organisations such as the IMF and the World Bank. Policy and institutional trajectories in emerging countries constitute another substantive research interest. Dr Güven has published in journals including Development and Change, Development Policy Review, Global Governance, International Affairs, New Political Economy, Review of International Political Economy, and Studies in Comparative International Development. He is the co-editor of Civilizing Globalization (SUNY, 2014) and has been working on a monograph on the evolution of agricultural and financial institutions of market governance in neoliberal Turkey.