Whose recovery? IFI prescriptions for post-war states

Carol Cohn, Claire Duncanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In this article we argue that a feminist political economy (FPE) approach is critical in understanding why standard policy prescriptions for postwar economic recovery fail to support the building of sustainably peaceful countries and secure lives for their citizens. Whilst many scholars criticize the IFIs’ policies in war-affected countries, our FPE approach provides two overlooked but crucial insights. First, it reveals the disjunction (indeed, chasm) between a country’s economic recovery from war and the IFIs’ focus on the recovery of the economic system. Second, it locates the conceptual underpinnings of this chasm in the profoundly gendered assumptions of neoclassical economics. That is, we find the IFIs’ failure to prioritize financing the social infrastructure that could repair war’s damages, enhance human security, and support the ecosystems on which human security depends has its roots in the fundamental misconception of human reproductive, caring and subsistence labor, and of nature, as external to the economy rather than as central to the ability of the formal economy to function. We illustrate these points with a focus on one pervasive example of the IFIs’ approach to postwar recovery, their encouragement of the large-scale extraction and export of natural resources. Finally, we show how adopting the work of feminist economists who emphasize care, social reproduction and the value of nature, though not without its challenges, can offer radically new visions for postwar economies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalReview of International Political Economy
Early online date8 Apr 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Apr 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • feminist economics
  • feminist political economy
  • IFIs
  • peacebuilding
  • postwar economic recovery
  • security
  • sustaining peace
  • women
  • natural resources
  • extractivism
  • gender
  • World Bank
  • IMF


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