Corrupting international organizations

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As the world turns against international institutions, this article reviews evidence of the corrupting of global organizations. The review focuses on three international organizations that emerged from World War II: The Bretton Woods institutions the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank and the United Nations (UN). The article explores evidence of major shareholders (mainly the United States) using the Bretton Woods institutions to funnel money and other favors to strategically preferred countries. Then the review discusses vote buying across a range of issues debated at the UN and finally turns to dark scholarship on the use of UN human rights institutions by autocratic states as a veil to violate those very rights. The article concludes that government pursuit of strategic objectives may be a necessary part of global cooperation, but scholarship should continue to delve into the micro foundations underlying the macro evidence presented here to better inform reformers on how to limit corrupting influences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-222
Number of pages18
JournalAnnual Review of Political Science
StatePublished - May 11 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • IMF,World Bank
  • International Monetary Fund
  • United Nations
  • human rights
  • vote buying


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