Creating crony capitalism: neoliberal globalization and the fueling of corruption

Bernhard Reinsberg, Alexander Kentikelenis, Thomas Stubbs

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This article examines how neoliberal policies mandated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) impact on corruption in developing countries. Combining domestic political analysis with international political economy perspectives, we hypothesize that these reforms concentrate losses on influential social groups such as businesses and civil servants, who then engage in corrupt practices to maintain their privileged positions. Using an original dataset of IMF policy reforms from 1980-2014, we find robust empirical support for our argument. Results of regression-based analysis demonstrate an effect of IMF policy reforms that holds across multiple samples and measures of corruption: 141 countries using a corruption control measure from the International Country Risk Guide; 70 countries on the Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey; and 19 countries from the International Crime Victims Survey. Our findings elucidate the link between neoliberal globalization and political capitalism, while offering important policy lessons regarding the design of policy reforms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-634
Number of pages28
JournalSocio-Economic Review
Issue number2
Early online date9 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

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