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Grey matter in shadow banking: international organizations and expert strategies in global financial governance


  • Cornel Ban
  • Leonard Seabrooke
  • Sarah Freitas


Who controls global policy debates on shadow banking regulation? We show how experts secured control over how issues in shadow banking regulation are treated by examining the policy recommendations of the Bank of International Settlements, the International Monetary Fund and the Financial Stability Board. The evidence suggests that IO experts embedded a bland reformism opposed to both strong and ‘light touch’ regulation at the core of the emerging regulatory regime. Technocrats reinforced each other's expertise, excluded some potential competitors (legal scholars), co-opted others (select Fed and elite academic economists), and deployed measurement, mandate, and status strategies to assert issue control. In the field of shadow banking regulation, academic economists’ influence came from their credibility as arbitrageurs between several professional fields rather than their intellectual output. The findings have important implications for how we study the relationship between IO technocrats and experts from other professional fields.

Suggested Citation

  • Cornel Ban & Leonard Seabrooke & Sarah Freitas, 2016. "Grey matter in shadow banking: international organizations and expert strategies in global financial governance," Review of International Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(6), pages 1001-1033, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rripxx:v:23:y:2016:i:6:p:1001-1033
    DOI: 10.1080/09692290.2016.1235599

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Blyth, Mark, 2013. "Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199828302.
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    Cited by:

    1. Niamh Hardiman & Saliha Metinsoy, 2017. "How do ideas shape national preferences? The Financial Transaction Tax in Ireland," Working Papers 201710, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    2. Wolf, Marcus, 2018. "Ain't misbehaving: Behavioral economics and the making of financial literacy," economic sociology_the european electronic newsletter, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, vol. 19(2), pages 10-18.
    3. Bernhard Reinsberg & Alexander Kentikelenis & Thomas Stubbs & Lawrence King & Centre for Business Research, 2018. "The World System & the Hollowing-out of State Capacity: How Structural Adjustment Programs Impact Bureaucratic Quality in Developing Countries," Working Papers wp503, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    4. William N. Kring & Kevin P. Gallagher, 2019. "Strengthening the Foundations? Alternative Institutions for Finance and Development," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 50(1), pages 3-23, January.

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