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International Financial Institutions

Whose Recovery? IFI Prescriptions for Postwar States

Citation:

Cohn, Carol, and Claire Duncanson. 2020. “Whose Recovery? IFI Prescriptions for Postwar States.” Review of International Political Economy. 27 (6): 1214-34.

Authors: Carol Cohn, Claire Duncanson

Abstract:

In this article we argue that a feminist political economy (FPE) approach is critical in understanding why standard policy prescriptions for postwar economic recovery fail to support the building of sustainably peaceful countries and secure lives for their citizens. Whilst many scholars criticize the IFIs’ policies in war-affected countries, our FPE approach provides two overlooked but crucial insights. First, it reveals the disjunction (indeed, chasm) between a country’s economic recovery from war and the IFIs’ focus on the recovery of the economic system. Second, it locates the conceptual underpinnings of this chasm in the profoundly gendered assumptions of neoclassical economics. That is, we find the IFIs’ failure to prioritize financing the social infrastructure that could repair war’s damages, enhance human security, and support the ecosystems on which human security depends has its roots in the fundamental misconception of human reproductive, caring and subsistence labor, and of nature, as external to the economy rather than as central to the ability of the formal economy to function. We illustrate these points with a focus on one pervasive example of the IFIs’ approach to postwar recovery, their encouragement of the large-scale extraction and export of natural resources. Finally, we show how adopting the work of feminist economists who emphasize care, social reproduction and the value of nature, though not without its challenges, can offer radically new visions for postwar economies.

Keywords: feminist economics, feminist political economy, IFIs, peacebuilding, postwar economic recovery, security, sustaining peace, women, natural resources, extractivism, gender, World Bank, IMF

Topics: Economies, Feminist Economics, Extractive Industries, Feminisms, Feminist Political Economy, Gender, Women, International Financial Institutions, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Security, Human Security

Year: 2020

New Ways or Old Tricks? The World Bank’s Gender Strategy and Its Implications for Health

Citation:

Power, Luke. 2020. “New Ways or Old Tricks? The World Bank’s Gender Strategy and Its Implications for Health.” International Journal of Health Services 50 (1): 21–31.

Author: Luke Power

Abstract:

This paper provides a critical examination of the World Bank’s document, “World Bank Group Gender Strategy: Gender Equality, Poverty Reduction, and Inclusive Growth.” While the World Bank suggests that this paper is a distinction from past practices, others maintain that it is a continuation of previous neoliberal strategies. Thus, the aim of this analysis is to elucidate the implications of the proposed strategies on both gender equality and health equity. The analytical framework derives from both feminist political economy and the political economy of health literature. Within the document there is a direct emphasis on privatization and deregulation. Moreover, there is a clear re-articulation of both the state and female-citizenship: the former is presented as an “enabling agent,” and the latter depoliticized. Accordingly, it is argued that the promotion of macroeconomic strategies leads to the exaggeration of gender inequalities due to the perpetuation and crystallization of social inequalities. This consequently leads to the entrenchment of health inequities. These health inequities are compounded by the promotion of a “reduced state” that focuses on constructing a “workfare” state and a citizen who is resigned to community politics. Thus, instead of promoting gender equality, this report reflects a tendency toward its perpetuation.

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Political Economy, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, International Financial Institutions

Year: 2020

What Has Justice Got to Do with It? Gender and the Political Economy of Post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina

Citation:

Lai, Daniela. 2019. “What Has Justice Got to Do with It? Gender and the Political Economy of Post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina.” Review of International Political Economy: 1-23. doi.org/10.1080/09692290.2019.1679221. 
 

Author: Daniela Lai

Abstract:

While International Financial Institutions (IFIs) play an increasingly relevant role in post-war countries, the interplay between their interventions and other aspects of post-conflict transitions, such as those related to dealing with the consequences of wartime violence, has not received much attention in the literature. This paper tackles this gap and suggests that, in post-conflict contexts, gendered forms of socioeconomic violence and injustice can be perpetuated through economic reforms led by IFIs. Overlooking justice considerations in post-war economic reforms not only reflects and reinforces a limited understanding of wartime violence and justice issues, but also entrenches gendered forms of socioeconomic injustice that had their roots in the war. A feminist approach to the study of political economy encompassing both gender and socioeconomic justice is adopted here to show how complex and overlapping forms of injustice are supported by wartime and post-war political-economic power structures. To illustrate how and why justice considerations are important for post-war economic reforms, the paper looks at the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and analyses the rationale and gendered effects of economic reforms that reorganized welfare and jobs, and promoted privatisations that accelerated deindustrialisation and economic decline.

 

 

Keywords: international financial institutions, post-war justice, feminist IPE, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Political Economy, Gender, International Financial Institutions, Justice, Post-Conflict, Violence Regions: Europe, Balkans Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2019

Don’t Mention the War! International Financial Institutions and the Gendered Circuits of Violence in Post-Conflict

Citation:

True, Jacqui, and Aida A. Hozić. 2020. “Don’t Mention the War! International Financial Institutions and the Gendered Circuits of Violence in Post-Conflict.” Review of International Political Economy, April, 1–21. doi: 10.1080/09692290.2020.1732443.

Authors: Jacqui True, Aida A. Hozić

Abstract:

This paper provides a framework for explicitly linking feminist analysis of global political economy and feminist analysis of war/peace through the concept of ‘gendered circuits of violence.’ The framework connects the gendered economics of peace and war through analyses of standard policy mechanisms promoted by International Financial Institutions and International Organizations—from general debt servicing and lending in post-war recovery to microfinance programmes, extractive resource economics, taxation, budgeting and austerity in the state sector. With gendered circuits of violence as the core concept, feminist political economy analysis transgresses security-IPE-development divides. Gendered circuits of violence are manifest through bodies that are carriers of violence from war zones to areas of alleged peace; through IFIs as distributors of harm and comfort to transnational households; and in the interstitial post-conflict spaces created by remittances, care and debt. Feminist analysis reveals the imbrication of capitalist systems with the intersectional politics of gender and race, and the (re)production and diffusion of violent conflict.

Keywords: critical feminist IPE, post-conflict, international financial institutions, gendered violence, war, households

Topics: Armed Conflict, Economies, Feminist Economics, Feminisms, Feminist Political Economy, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Households, International Financial Institutions, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Race, Violence

Year: 2020

Frontier Finance: The Role of Microfinance in Debt and Violence in Post-Conflict Timor-Leste

Citation:

Johnston, Melissa Frances. 2020. “Frontier Finance: The Role of Microfinance in Debt and Violence in Post-Conflict Timor-Leste.” Review of International Political Economy, April, 1–25. doi: 10.1080/09692290.2020.1733633. 

Author: Melissa Frances Johnston

Abstract:

Microfinance programs targeting poor women are considered a ‘prudent’ first step for international financial institutions seeking to rebuild post conflict economies. IFIs continue to visibly support microfinance despite evidence and growing consensus that microfinance neither reduces poverty nor breaks the cycle of domestic violence. In the case of Timor-Leste, a feminist political economy approach reveals how microfinance engendered debt allows for the control, extraction, and accumulation of profits and resources by an elite class and exacerbates gender-based violence. Timorese elite classes have benefitted from microfinance during the Indonesian occupation and in today’s post-conflict regime. Extractive debt relations between elite classes and ordinary citizens are enabled by a gender order that is regulated by brideprice and characterized by gendered circuits of violence. Brideprice weds the exchange of women to the class system in which the (violent) control of women is paramount to retaining political power. Microfinance adds liquidity and high interest rates to the debt relations of brideprice helping to create the very conditions for poor women’s disempowerment in a fragile state. Thus, the success of microfinance is predicated on systems of gender inequality and gendered circuits of violence, debt, and the exchange of women.

Keywords: microfinance, debt, feminist political economy, peacebuilding, brideprice, gender-based violence

Topics: Class, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Economies, Domestic Violence, Feminisms, Feminist Political Economy, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Financial Institutions, Political Economies, Post-Conflict, Violence Regions: Oceania Countries: Timor-Leste

Year: 2020

Women, War and Austerity: IFIs and the Construction of Gendered Economic Insecurities in Ukraine

Citation:

Mathers, Jennifer G. 2020. “Women, War and Austerity: IFIs and the Construction of Gendered Economic Insecurities in Ukraine.” Review of International Political Economy, April, 1–22. doi: 10.1080/09692290.2020.1725903.

Author: Jennifer G. Mathers

Abstract:

This paper analyses the gendered circuits of violence that create and sustain economic insecurity in Ukraine. Drawing on feminist political economy analysis of the dependence of structural adjustment programmes on women’s labor, and feminist security studies critical analysis of the negative effects of militaries on human security, the paper shows how IFI-imposed austerity measures in Ukraine are inextricable from processes of militarization. While the gendered impacts of each of these distinct processes have been explored, this paper empirically demonstrates how IFI loan conditionalities and militarization intensify and reinforce one another precisely through the burdens they place on households and especially on women in the context of conflict.

Keywords: Ukraine, global financial crisis, international financial institutions, gender, conflict, security, russia

Topics: Economies, Feminist Economics, Conflict, Feminisms, Feminist Political Economy, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Households, International Financial Institutions, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarization, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Security, Violence Regions: Asia, Europe, Eastern Europe Countries: Russian Federation, Ukraine

Year: 2020

Taxing for Inequalities: Gender Budgeting in the Western Balkans

Citation:

Bojičić-Dželilović, Vesna, and Aida A. Hozić. 2020. “Taxing for Inequalities: Gender Budgeting in the Western Balkans.” Review of International Political Economy, April, 1–25. doi: 10.1080/09692290.2019.1702572.

Authors: Vesna Bojičić-Dželilović, Aida A. Hozić

Abstract:

This article seeks to illuminate structural limits of Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) by analysing the interplay between economic and fiscal reforms, promoted by International Financial Institutions (IFIs), and gender budgeting initiatives in the Western Balkans. GRB is the core concept bridging revenue mobilization and gender equality in the work of IFIs. However, as the Western Balkans experience demonstrates, GRB initiatives are best characterized as “empty gestures” towards gender equality as they cannot compensate for the continued adverse effects of IFIs overall policies.

Keywords: VAT, Western Balkans, revenue mobilization, consumption-led growth, financialization, households, gender responsive budget

Topics: Development, Economies, Public Finance, Gender, Gender Budgeting, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, International Financial Institutions, Post-Conflict Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia

Year: 2020

Gender Dimensions of Transport in Developing Countries: Lessons from World Bank Projects

Citation:

Riverson, John, Mika Kunieda, Peter Roberts, Negede Lewi, and Wendy M. Walker. 2006. “Gender Dimensions of Transport in Developing Countries: Lessons from World Bank Projects.” Transportation Research Record 1956 (1): 149-56.

Authors: John Riverson, Mika Kunieda, Peter Roberts, Negede Lewi, Wendy M. Walker

Abstract:

Women in most developing countries have limited access to transport services and technology. This lack of transport imposes severe constraints on their access to health, education, and other social facilities and services, making them and their children more vulnerable to serious injury or death as a result of childbirth or another medical emergency. Understanding and responding to women's transport needs are essential for reducing poverty, as reflected in the United Nations statement of the Millennium Development Goals. Many governments and development agencies have learned much from extensive field research and case studies about women's and men's substantially different patterns of mobility needs. In recent years, the World Bank has integrated these gender concerns and needs into its policies and has encouraged borrowing countries to address the concerns of women in their national, regional, and local projects and programs. The World Bank has developed corresponding guidance for the transport sector and encourages its application as appropriate in all the transport investments that it supports. This paper summarizes examples of good practice and illustrates its application in Ethiopia. However, the World Bank's Transport Sector is concerned that the outcomes for women of the interventions that it supports often continue to fall short of expectations. This paper describes the steps that are being taken to improve the effective meeting of gender needs. The paper also highlights the value of participating in a broad network of development specialist groups to share experience of effective good practices and to strengthen the scope for matching specific cultural and institutional conditions.

Topics: Development, Gender, Infrastructure, Transportation, International Financial Institutions Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Ethiopia

Year: 2006

Revisiting the World Bank’s Land Law Reform Agenda in Africa: The Promise and Perils of Customary Practices

Citation:

Collins, Andrea, and Matthew I. Mitchell. 2018. “Revisiting the World Bank’s Land Law Reform Agenda in Africa: The Promise and Perils of Customary Practices.” Journal of Agrarian Change 18 (1): 112–31.

Authors: Andrea Collins, Matthew I. Mitchell

Abstract:

This paper revisits the World Bank's land law reform agenda in Africa by focusing on two central issues: (1) land law reform as a tool for resolving land conflicts, and (2) the role of land law reform in addressing gender inequalities. While the Bank's recent land report provides insights for improving land governance in Africa, it fails to acknowledge the exploitative and contentious politics that often characterize customary land tenure systems, and the local power dynamics that undermine the ability of marginalized groups to secure land rights. Using insights from recent fieldwork, the paper analyses the links between land law reform and conflict in Ghana, and the gendered dynamics of reforming land governance in Tanzania. These “crucial cases” illustrate how land law reform can provoke conflicts over land and threaten the rights of vulnerable populations (e.g. migrants and women) when customary practices are uncritically endorsed as a means of improving land governance. As such, the paper concludes with a series of recommendations on how to navigate the promise and perils of customary practices in the governance of land.

Keywords: customary practices, Ghana, land law reform, World Bank, tanzania, Africa

Topics: Conflict Prevention, Displacement & Migration, Conflict, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Land Tenure, Governance, International Financial Institutions, International Organizations, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana, Tanzania

Year: 2018

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