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Political ideology, quality at entry and the success of economic reform programs

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  • Lodewijk Smets
  • Stephen Knack
  • Nadia Molenaers

Abstract

This study investigates how government ideology matters for the success of World Bank economic policy loans, which typically support market-liberalizing reforms. A simple model predicts that World Bank staff will invest more effort in designing an economic policy loan when faced with a left-wing government. Empirically, estimates from a Heckman selection model show that the quality at entry of an economic policy loan is significantly higher for governments with a left-wing party orientation. This result is robust to changes in the sample, alternative measures of ideology, different estimation techniques and the inclusion of additional control variables. Next, robust findings from estimating a recursive triangular system of equations indicate that leftist governments comply more fully with loan agreements. Results also suggest that World Bank resources are more productive—in terms of reform success—in the design of policy operations than in their supervision. Anecdotal evidence from several country cases is consistent with the finding that left-wing governments receive higher quality loans. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Lodewijk Smets & Stephen Knack & Nadia Molenaers, 2013. "Political ideology, quality at entry and the success of economic reform programs," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 447-476, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:revint:v:8:y:2013:i:4:p:447-476
    DOI: 10.1007/s11558-013-9164-2
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    Cited by:

    1. Axel Dreher & Stephan Klasen & James Raymond Vreeland & Eric Werker, 2013. "The Costs of Favoritism: Is Politically Driven Aid Less Effective?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62(1), pages 157-191.
    2. Dreher, Axel & Minasyan, Anna & Nunnenkamp, Peter, 2013. "Government ideology in donor and recipient countries: Does political proximity matter for the effectiveness of aid?," Kiel Working Papers 1870, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    3. David Bulman & Walter Kolkma & Aart Kraay, 2017. "Good countries or good projects? Comparing macro and micro correlates of World Bank and Asian Development Bank project performance," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 335-363, September.
    4. Mirko Heinzel & Andrea Liese, 2021. "Managing performance and winning trust: how World Bank staff shape recipient performance," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 625-653, July.
    5. Daniel L. Nielson & Bradley Parks & Michael J. Tierney, 2017. "International organizations and development finance: Introduction to the special issue," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 157-169, June.
    6. Kilby, Christopher, 2013. "The political economy of project preparation: An empirical analysis of World Bank projects," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 211-225.
    7. Mitchell Watkins, 2022. "Undermining conditionality? The effect of Chinese development assistance on compliance with World Bank project agreements," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 667-690, October.
    8. Knack,Stephen & Parks,Bradley Christopher & Harutyunyan,Ani & DiLorenzo,Matthew, 2020. "How Does the World Bank Influence the Development Policy Priorities of Low-Income and Lower-Middle Income Countries ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9225, The World Bank.
    9. Philip Keefer & Christopher Kilby, 2021. "Introduction to the special issue: In memoriam Stephen Knack," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 473-493, July.
    10. Lodewijk Smets & Stephen Knack, 2016. "World Bank Lending and the Quality of Economic Policy," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(1), pages 72-91, January.
    11. Romain Duval & Davide Furceri & Jakob Miethe, 2021. "Robust political economy correlates of major product and labor market reforms in advanced economies: Evidence from BAMLE for logit models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(1), pages 98-124, January.
    12. Dreher, Axel & Minasyan, Anna & Nunnenkamp, Peter, 2015. "Government ideology in donor and recipient countries: Does ideological proximity matter for the effectiveness of aid?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 80-92.
    13. Silvia Marchesi & Tania Masi, 2021. "Delegation of implementation in project aid," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 655-687, July.
    14. Christopher Kilby & Katharina Michaelowa, 2016. "What Influences World Bank Project Evaluations?," Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series 26, Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics.
    15. Peter Moll & Lodewijk Smets, 2020. "Is It the Journey That Matters? A Fresh Look at the Impact of World Bank Policy Lending," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(7), pages 1194-1228, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Development policy lending; World Bank; Political ideology; Heckman selection model; Triangular system of equations; C24; C30; O16; O19;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C24 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Truncated and Censored Models; Switching Regression Models; Threshold Regression Models
    • C30 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - General
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations

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