1st Edition

The IMF, the WTO & the Politics of Economic Surveillance

By Martin Edwards Copyright 2019
    160 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    160 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) practice periodic surveillance of members to ensure that countries are adopting appropriate economic policies. Despite the importance of these procedures, they remain understudied by scholars. The global economic crisis has tested both organizations and brought surveillance to the forefront of policy debates. Understanding how surveillance works, then, contributes to both theoretical and policy concerns.

    The world is paying increasing attention to issues of transparency and accountability, questioning whether these organizations are in part responsible for the global economic crisis, as well as assessing their responsiveness to the crisis. This comparative analysis of surveillance at the IMF and WTO fills a significant gap in the existing literature, drawing together a large range of empirical data and offering an extended critical analysis of this key issue.

    Examining how and in what contexts surveillance is influential and how variations in institutional design shape the effectiveness of surveillance, Edwards moves on to offer recommendations of how surveillance can be designed differently to make it more effective in the future. This work will be of great interest to students and scholars of international organizations, international political economy and global governance.


    1. Thinking Theoretically and Empirically about Surveillance

    2. A Natural History of Surveillance

    3. Evaluating the Record of IMF Surveillance

    4. Evaluating the Record of WTO Surveillance

    5. Conclusions and Reflections


    Martin S. Edwards is an Associate Professor in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, where he teaches classes on International Organizations and ResearchMethods. His research on the International Monetary Fund has been supported by the National Science Foundation, and he has been a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Global Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. Recent articles have appeared in SAIS Review, International Studies Perspectives, Review of International Organizations, Political Research Quarterly, and Review of International Political Economy. His policy commentary has appeared in the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Open Democracy, the World Policy Journal Blog, The Hill, The Conversation, World Politics Review, and Foreign Policy in Focus. He has been a university nominee for the Carnegie/CASE US Professor of the Year.