International Institutions and Political Liberalization: Evidence from the World Bank Loans Program

92 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2017

See all articles by Allison Carnegie

Allison Carnegie

Columbia University - Department of Political Science

Cyrus Samii

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics

Date Written: December 1, 2016

Abstract

How do international institutions affect political liberalization in member states? Motivated by an examination of the World Bank loans program, we show that institutions can incentivize liberalization by offering opportunities for countries to become associated with advanced, wealthy members. In the World Bank, when a loan recipient reaches a specified level of economic development, it becomes eligible to graduate from borrower status to lender status. Using a regression discontinuity design, we demonstrate that this graduation eligibility causes states to improve their domestic behavior with respect to human rights and democracy. Wedding qualitative and quantitative evidence, our results suggest that the desire to become a member of this elite group is responsible for motivating member states to reform due to states’ beliefs that this membership brings diffuse international and domestic benefits.

Keywords: Aid, Democracy, Human Rights, International Institution, Regression Discontinuity

Suggested Citation

Carnegie, Allison and Samii, Cyrus, International Institutions and Political Liberalization: Evidence from the World Bank Loans Program (December 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2896204 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2896204

Allison Carnegie (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

1331 International Affairs Bldg.
420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Cyrus Samii

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics ( email )

715 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
United States

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