The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a key pillar of global economic governance. While its mandate stipulates neutrality with respect to the political, economic, and social objectives of its members, powerful states have repeatedly swayed the IMF to further their own interests, often at the expense of developing countries. This chapter reviews the politics of the IMF. First, we trace the evolution of the Fund's activities through its history, highlighting important interventions by powerful actors. Second, we introduce a framework, based on delegation theories, to explain how states and non-state actors impact the activities of the IMF. Third, we examine the practice of decision-making, including the agenda-setting power of the IMF's Managing Director and the ability of bureaucrats to influence operations. Fourth, we review IMF lending activities in borrowing countries vis-à-vis the Fund's stated goal of economic growth, its wider economic impact, and social consequences. Fifth, we discuss how the IMF, and its relationship with China, shapes the future of international development. We conclude by laying out areas for future research and discussing the implications for international cooperation.
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