Does a country’s abuse of human rights influence its ability to get a loan from the International Monetary Fund? We examine whether human rights conditions matter for the likelihood that a country participates in an International Monetary Fund program. We argue that human rights conditions are unlikely to be enough by themselves to influence International Monetary Fund decision-making; there are simply too many countries with poor human rights conditions that are under economic distress. Instead, it is the publicity and information that human rights organizations provide about countries that reduce the likelihood of International Monetary Fund program participation. We test the implications of this reasoning in a global analysis from 1990 to 2009 using an accepted model of International Monetary Fund program participation. We find much support for our hypothesis. We further demonstrate that it is those countries closer to the United States that are most likely to have human rights organization information reduce their likelihood of International Monetary Fund program participation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
In late 2008 and early 2009, the Sri Lankan government, in a push to end the 20-year civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), orchestrated a massive program of “armed attacks against civilians” and “torture, kidnapping, hostage-taking, and extortion with impunity” (US State Department, 2010). Around the same time as the heightened abuse, the Sri Lankan government approached the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial assistance (Gunadasa, 2009). The country’s economy, hit by world-wide financial crisis, was in shambles, and it wanted 1.9 billion US dollars from the IMF quickly in order to remain solvent (IMF, 2009; Silva and Gunadasa, 2009).
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Byungwon Woo’s research was supported by a faculty research grant from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science