SOAS University of London

Department of Economics

International Financial Institutions, Neoliberalism and Knowledge

Research Aims

The International Financial Institutions, Neoliberalism and Knowledge cluster draws together expertise across the Economics and Development Studies Departments, and from other individuals across the School where appropriate, bearing on critical engagement with the International Financial Institutions (IFIs). In particular, the Cluster explores the implications of the role the IFIs play for the way we address specific aspects of development, both within development economics and across the field of development studies more broadly, and how this affects conceptualisations of the policy realm, the implementation of policy in practice, and how impact of such policies is assessed. Ranging over a vast array of topics, the Cluster tracks transformations in the roles and postures of the IFIs, including, for instance, the shift from Washington to post Washington Consensus and, in its wake, the increased prevalence of the World Bank Group’s private sector affiliate, the International Finance Corporation. Attention is also focused upon more specific issues, and the scholarship, ideologies and lending and policy practices attached to them, ranging over housing, water, transport, health, agriculture as well as industrial, macroeconomic and social policy more broadly conceived. Further, the changing role of the International Monetary Fund since the global financial and economic crisis is subject to critical assessment, again with an interest in how its scholarship and policies in practice have evolved in relation to one another.  

The Cluster will raise the profile of existing work across departments, and extend this, in part through identifying outlets for special issues in journals, the organisation of workshops, panel submissions for conferences, and formulating suitable topics for grant applications and sources of funding. Broader impact and presence will be strengthened and promoted through active collaboration with organisations involved in engaging with the IFIs.