International Organizations and Accountability
International organizations (IOs), such as the IMF, the World Bank, the United Nations, and others, have been widely criticized as insufficiently accountable. For example, some argue that states are not able to control IOs whose bureaucracies have grown out of control and run amok, while others argue that the real problem is that communities most impacted by IO activities, such as those receiving World Bank loans or UN peacekeeping operations, are least able to influence their activities. Still others contend that the voting rules by which states control IOs are outdated and should be reformed to remedy these problems.
Through readings, discussions and case studies, students will learn about a range of international organizations in order to better understand what they do and how they are supposed to be controlled. In addition, we will evaluate the critiques of IO accountability that come from the right and the left, as well as the North, South, East and West, and will analyze different mechanisms of accountability, both formal and informal. Students will have the opportunity to research and present on specific international organizations and accountability mechanisms, as well as delve into a comprehensive database of multilateral development bank accountability complaints.