GIR Seminar Series 2023 | Hierarchy and Hypocrisy in the Inter-American Development Bank: US Efforts to Socialize the Accountability Norm | Susan Park
Government & International Relations Seminar Series:
Hierarchy and Hypocrisy in the Inter-American Development Bank: US Efforts to Socialize the Accountability Norm
Presenter: Professor Susan Park, University of Sydney
Hybrid: A02, Room 441 and Zoom
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is the largest Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) serving Latin America and the Caribbean; indeed, the global pandemic reinforced its role as counter-cyclical lender critical for international development. This article examines, through interviews and document analysis, how the United States’ (US) efforts to socialize an accountability norm within the IDB led to norm institutionalization but not norm compliance. I argue that hierarchy between the Bank’s primary shareholder, the US, and Borrower Member Countries (BMCs) in the IDB has entrenched norm non-compliance and thus organized hypocrisy. The IDB has one of the most hierarchical governance arrangements of any Multilateral Development Bank with the US as the dominant shareholder. This hierarchy enables the US to direct policy but collectively BMCs can mediate how it is enacted. This is evident in US efforts from the 1990s to socialize an accountability norm to provide recourse for people negatively affected by the IDB’s development projects. Examining the operation and reviews of its accountability mechanism provides ongoing evidence of the IDB’s organized hypocrisy or the gap between its accountability processes, actions, and decisions. Further examination of how hierarchy in IOs shapes organizational behaviour is therefore warranted.
Susan Park is Professor of Global Governance in Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. She focuses on how international organisations and global governance can become greener and more accountable, particularly in the transition to renewable energy. Her most recent books are: The Good Hegemon (2022, OUP) and Environmental Recourse at the Multilateral Development Banks (2020, CUP). She is co-lead Editor of the journal Global Environmental Politics. She is a Senior Hans Fischer Fellow at the Technical University of Munich (2019-2023) and a Research Lead of the Earth Systems Governance project.