• Jacqueline Best, School of Political Studies


  • This project examines the role of expert authority—its decline, rise and transformation—in recent changes in the governance of the financing of development. Tracing the erosion of the structural adjustment era and the emergence of new governance strategies at the IMF and World Bank, the project seeks to understand why this erosion in expert authority occurred, how the new emerging practices seek to re-establish that authority, and what the implications of this shift are—for the international financial institutions and for global governance more generally.
  • The project examines four broad trends in policy that most key development financing organizations have participated in over the past decade and a half: strategies of standardization, ownership, risk management and results measurement. The actors driving these new governance strategies not only seek to re-establish the grounds of expert authority, but also appeal increasingly to a different kind of authority: a more popular form, based on the inclusion of more stakeholders, the participation of more actors, and the consent of a wider public.
  • Yet there exist serious tensions between the pursuit of expert and popular authority, producing resistance within the organizations themselves. These tensions in turn have helped foster the creation of new, more provisional forms of expertise and types of governance practice—acting on a more complex set of objects, anticipating an uncertain future, all the while hedging their bets against the unknown. Thus, expertise itself has become more contested and fragile—a change that is having profound effects on how things are governed globally.
  • For more information on this project and the publications that it is supporting, visit this website.