Power, ideas, and world bank conditionality

Ben Cormier, Mark Manger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
150 Downloads (Pure)


How and why do the policy areas covered in World Bank loan conditions change over time and across borrowers? We hypothesize that shifts in the Bank's economic research and policy priorities influence Bank loan conditions, even after controlling for country characteristics and international political aspects. To test this claim we apply keyword-assisted topic models to the analysis of over 13,000 World Bank policy loan conditions and close to 35,000 World Bank research papers published between 1985 and 2014. Contrary to the criticism levelled against the Bank that changes in research and policy priorities are mostly rhetorical and have little substantive effect on Bank lending, we find that internal research and policy priority shifts explain the conditions in a Bank loan at least as well as more traditional donor or borrower-specific measures central to IPE models of Bank lending.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-425
Number of pages29
JournalReview of International Organizations
Issue number3
Early online date31 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2022


  • loan conditions
  • policy ideas
  • quantitative text analysis


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