Disequilibrium in development finance: the contested politics of institutional accountability and transparency at The World Bank inspection panel

Sovacool, Benjamin, Naudé-Fourie, Andria and Tan-Mullins, May (2018) Disequilibrium in development finance: the contested politics of institutional accountability and transparency at The World Bank inspection panel. Development and Change. ISSN 0012-155X

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Abstract

This paper examines the dynamic nature in which independent accountability mechanisms operate. Focusing on the World Bank, the paper argues that its Inspection Panel evolves according to internal and external pressures. In seeking to achieve equilibrium, and protect its authority and independence, the Panel has gone through several distinct phases: negotiation, emergence, protracted resistance, assertion of independence and authority, renewed tension and contestation. The core novelty of the paper is its application of concepts from outside of development studies—notably that of institutional accountability from the governance literature, and judicialization from the legal studies literature—to the topic of the Panel. Examining the Panel in this way reminds us that accountability mechanisms represent a hybrid of transnational governance influenced by requestors and project affected peoples, national governments, Bank managers, and other development donors. In such a complex and multi-scalar system, the IP is not only about delivering seemingly careful, well-researched investigation reports, it is also an entity seeking to ensure its own survival, an arbiter of its own brand of legitimacy and accountability. Effectiveness itself is a subjective, dynamic, and contested concept. Development finance becomes about both competing interests as well as competing conceptions and expectations of accountability.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Ellie Leftley
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2018 08:28
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2018 15:11
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/74653

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