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Naughton, James (2024) Examining the response of the IMF to crises in Low-Income Countries with a focus on Gender Budgeting: From the Global Financial Crisis to the COVID-19 pandemic. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The thesis examines IMF concessional lending to Low-Income Countries (LICs) in response to crises ranging from the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2007-2009 to the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, it engages with the IMF’s reinvigorated influence in LICs following the GFC. It does this by taking a historic approach, examining the IMF’s influence through political, economic and financial shifts that have shaped the IMF’s evolving mandate. This includes the early years of IMF lending, its move to concessional lending and subsequent expansion, its previous crisis responses including with structural adjustment and the East Asian Crisis, and the way it has sought to accommodate its critiques. The study documents how, at the commencement of the GFC, the IMF redesigned its lending facilities and explores what the implications, in practice, were for the recipients of concessional lending. Despite a rhetoric of reform, persistent imperatives remained across the IMF’s core macroeconomic policy areas of capital flows, monetary and fiscal policy, and exchange rates, notwithstanding minor alterations in programming. Following the GFC and the COVID-19 pandemic, an initial fiscal stimulus was rapidly replaced with planned austerity. At the same time, new IMF policy areas emerged, demonstrating its potential for incorporating new perspectives. This is explored further with a focus on gender. In assessing whether the IMF’s orthodox macroeconomic conditionality would allow fiscal space for gender-equitable development paths, I examine whether the impact of gender budgeting can mitigate against the gendered impact of IMF programming and find that core IMF programming continues to limit the achievement of gender equality, despite more positive rhetoric from the IMF on gender. Future applications of my research could observe whether the IMF’s new gender mainstreaming strategy will provide substantive change in development policy, and whether the IMF’s green recovery to Covid-19 will involve incorporating new perspectives within orthodox macroeconomic conditionality.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Elisa Van Waeyenberge
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2024 10:04

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