Do International Organizations Really Shape Government Solutions in Developing Countries?

25 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2013

See all articles by Matthew Andrews

Matthew Andrews

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: October 2, 2013


International organizations like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have been supporting reform initiatives in developing country governments since at least the 1980s. Various authors have criticized this support, arguing that international organizations use their influence to impose common models of government on developing countries - infringing on the sovereignty of these nations and frustrating domestic processes of finding and fitting government structures to local contexts. Some suggest that a modern new public management model of government is being imposed on developing countries, whereas others claim that developing countries are being forced to adopt a broad-­brush neoliberal script. Such claims are seldom reinforced by empirical evidence showing the extent or nature of this influence, however. This leaves one asking, “Do international organizations really shape government solutions in developing countries?” This article explores such question and finds that international organizations do have a major (and growing) influence on government structures in developing countries and that this influence does impose a common model on these countries.

Suggested Citation

Andrews, Matthew, Do International Organizations Really Shape Government Solutions in Developing Countries? (October 2, 2013). HKS Working Paper No. RWP13-032, Available at SSRN: or

Matthew Andrews (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

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