Strengthening the Foundations? Alternative Institutions for Finance and Development

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The 21st century has ushered in the emergence of alternative institutions for liquidity provision and development finance, many of which are Southern-led. While this new financing brings real benefits to an architecture that has long been under stress and deemed insufficient, challenges lie ahead. With the addition of Southern-led institutions, there are now more sources of financing available to emerging market and developing countries (EMDs), which in turn may increase their voice in the traditional international financial institutions dominated by advanced economies. However, this new and complex system may also create fresh inequities and fault lines between new and existing institutions, which will be difficult to overcome through the coordination of a fragmented and diverse system.

An article in the Journal of Development and Changes serves as the introduction to a special issue on international economic order . Authors William N. Kring and Kevin P. Gallagher discuss the need for financial institutions for development and the shortcomings of the Bretton Woods order that has been widely critiqued for decades. The article also surveys the new developmental financial landscape, including new institutions for liquidity provisions, as well as institutions for development finance. The authors discuss the risks and benefits of this new architecture and examine the traditional political economy approaches to Western-led international financial institutions. The article offers a discussion of the theoretical contributions of the special issue, as well as a roadmap for the articles that follow.

In the special issue, the authors identify that there are a number of institutions that have emerged and a number of existing institutions that have grown in the wake of the 2007-08 financial crisis. The new system is more complex and fragmented, and there is a level of productive incoherence to what is occurring in the financial order. While this brings opportunities for new levels of voice, possibilities for exit and new possibilities for leverage, it also results in new inequalities and new sets of winners and losers around these institutions. Finally, the authors introduce an unresolved question that will require further academic research: how safe is the system for stability and growth?

Read the Journal Article