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Policy coordination by major Western powers in bargaining with the Third World: debt relief and the Common Fund

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  • Crane, Barbara B.

Abstract

The governments of the five major Western powers—the United States, the United Kingdom, France, West Germany, and Japan—coordinated policy on two key North-South issues from 1974 to 1979: relieving the external debts of developing nations and establishing the Common Fund to help finance international commodity agreements. A prominent feature of the coordination process was the emergence of transgovernmental coalitions among like-minded bureaucrats. Previous studies have suggested that such coalitions may affect national policies by promoting learning and attitude change in their members and by legitimizing the policy changes sought by their members. But these suggestions do not account for the ability of coalitions to translate their policy preferences into national policy commitments, particularly where one or more of their members are relatively weak in their national policy-making systems. On the Common Fund and debt relief, some coalition members held positions in their national systems strong enough to induce their governments as a whole to commit themselves to certain concessions. Weaker members of these coalitions then gained the external support they needed to lead their own governments to make similar commitments, thus preparing the way for agreements with the developing countries and some incremental changes in the international economic order.

Suggested Citation

  • Crane, Barbara B., 1984. "Policy coordination by major Western powers in bargaining with the Third World: debt relief and the Common Fund," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(03), pages 399-428, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:38:y:1984:i:03:p:399-428_02
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    Cited by:

    1. Jérôme Sgard, 2011. "The IMF Meets Commercial Banks: Sovereign Debt Restructuring between 1970 and 1989," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompq, Sciences Po.

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