The thesis is about the World Bank and the political dimensions of the new aid architecture. The new aid agenda, which emerged out of the post-Washington Consensus (PWC), has led to debates over its real significance. While Joseph Stiglitz has argued that the new consensus actually marked the end of the era of market fundamentalism, sceptics have rather concluded that it represents nothing more than a discursive shift. The Bank’s own ambiguous narrative on the new aid framework may explain such divergent analysis on the new agenda: On the one hand, the poverty reduction and participatory narrative linked to the model have appeared to be signalling a genuine shift towards a more social policy agenda. On the other hand however, there has been a contradictory move towards a stricter governance model that seems to be specifically designed to insulate policy-makers from vested interests. The overarching objective of this thesis is to shed new light on this apparent paradox inherent in international aid reform. It seeks to untangle the existing confusion between narrative, assumptions and methods entwined with the so-called PWC. Specifically, the crux of this thesis is to address the particular contribution of the World Bank in forging, promoting and implementing the PWC. It focuses both on the theoretical sources that triggered the World Bank, under the leadership of James D. Wolfensohn, to adopt a new model and on the political objectives of this agenda. Within such a research focus, the Bank’s narrative and its new aid allocation mechanisms are seen as one entity under the label ‘Integrated Development Model’ (IDM). The IDM – as a main object of study – allows us to transcend common country-based analyses of the Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS) experience and to re-position the new aid allocation mechanisms within the larger reordering of power on behalf of market-oriented interests.

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R. Robison
Erasmus University Rotterdam
ISS PhD Theses
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Hatcher, P. (2009, November 6). The politics of entrapment : the World Bank, the integrated development model & citizenship at a crossroad. ISS PhD Theses. Retrieved from