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The Reagan Revolution

The Reagan Revolution

(p.70) Chapter Three The Reagan Revolution
Behind the Development Banks
University of Chicago Press

This chapter investigates the earliest consequences of Ronald Reagan's revolution for the multilateral development banks (MDBs). The Reagan revolution would have two immediate consequences for the MDBs. The first was the selection of some forms of World Bank economic expertise over others, which contributed to a shift in the Bank's research output. The second was a new framing of U.S. interests in the MDBs, one in which American diplomatic interests in the banks were set aside. The 1982 Treasury assessment argued that the banks responded to U.S. leadership, promoted U.S. interests, and could be used even more effectively. The Reagan administration's program for the MDBs was the basis for a new intragovernment consensus across the executive and the legislative branches, and it also helped bridge differences between Democrats and Republicans. Although the Treasury assessment was immediately successful as a political document, it was less so as a policy document.

Keywords:   Ronald Reagan, Reagan revolution, World Bank, American diplomatic interests, 1982 Treasury assessment

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