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Why Culture Matters in International Institutions: The Marginality of Human Rights at the World Bank

  • Galit A. Sarfaty (a1)


Why do international institutions behave as they do? International organizations (IOs) have emerged as significant actors in global governance, whether they are overseeing monetary policy, setting trade or labor standards, or resolving a humanitarian crisis. They often execute international agreements between states and markedly influence domestic law, which makes it important to analyze how international institutions behave and make policy. Conducting an ethnographic analysis of the internal dynamics of IOs, including their formal and informal norms, incentive systems, and decision-making processes, can usefully aid in understanding institutional behavior and change. This article analyzes the organizational culture of one particularly powerful international institution—the World Bank (the Bank)—and explores why the Bank has not adopted a human rights policy or agenda.

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1 While the Bank has no operational policies on human rights per se, its policy on indigenous peoples addresses the rights of those peoples. World Bank, The World Bank Operational Manual, OP 4.10, para. 1 (July 2005) (Indigenous Peoples), available at (aiming at “ensuring that the development process fully respects the dignity, human rights, economies, and cultures of Indigenous Peoples”).

2 The World Bank Group, one of the United Nations specialized agencies, consists of five closely associated institutions owned by member countries, which carry ultimate decision–making power on all matters, including policy, financial, and membership issues. The term “World Bank Group” encompasses all five institutions, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. “World Bank,” as I use it in this article, refers specifically to two of the five, the IBRD and the IDA.

3 Out of the ten thousand Bank employees, about seven thousand are based at headquarters in Washington, D.C., and three thousand work in the field offices.

4 There are some minor exceptions. For instance, some Bank documents have referred to human rights, and certain employees work indirectly on human rights, particularly economic, social, and cultural rights. See Mac, Darrow & Louise, Arbour, The Pillar of Glass: Human Rights in the Development Operations of the United Nations, 103 AJIL 446, 487 & n. 188 (2009).

5 See, e.g., Human Rights and Development: Towards Mutual Reinforcement (Philip, Alston & Mary, Robinson eds., 2005) (with contributions by senior World Bank officials, including former president James Wolfensohn); World Bank, Development and Human Rights: The Role of the World Bank, Report No. 23,188 (Sept. 30, 1998) [hereinafter World Bank, Report No. 23,188]; Human Rights and Development, Dev. Outreach (World Bank Inst.), Oct. 2006 [hereinafter Dev. Outreach].

6 The World Bank normally develops a Country Assistance Strategy every one to three years in consultation with the borrower country’s government and civil society organizations. This strategy addresses the country’s top development priorities, creditworthiness, and past portfolio performance, as well as the level of financial and technical assistance that the Bank seeks to give the country.

7 United Nations Development Programme [UNDP], Human Rights in UNDP: Practice Note (Apr. 2005); Laure–Hélène, Piron & Francis, Watkins, DFID Human Rights Review: A Review of How DFID Has Integrated Human Rights into Its Work (July 2004), available at Review07.04.pdf; UNICEF, Guidelinesfor Human Rights–Based Programming Approach, CF/EXD/1998–04 (Apr. 21, 1998), available at A rights–based approach typically requires institutional change and the creation of accountability mechanisms so that human rights are treated as constitutive of the goal of development. Yet scholars have challenged its effectiveness in achieving practical, on–the–ground changes in development work. See Peter, Uvin, Human Rights and Development (2004); Philip, Alston, Ships Passing in the Night: The Current State of the Human Rights and Development Debate Seen Through the Lens of the Millennium Development Goals, 27 Hum. Rts. Q. 755 (2005); Mac, Darrow & Amparo, Tomas, Power, Capture and Conflict: A Call for Human Rights Accountability in Development Cooperation, 27 Hum. Rts. Q. 471, 537 (2005); Celestine, Nyamu–Musemi & Andrea, Cornwall, What Is the “Rights–Based” Approach All About? Perspectives from International Development Agencies (Inst, for Dev. Stud. Working Paper No. 234, 2004).

8 See, for example, the Equator Principles for private banks, which are modeled after the International Finance Corporation’s social and environmental policies. The Equator Principles (July 2006), available at http://www.equator–

9 See, e.g., Steve, Herz et al., The International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards and the Equator Principles: Respecting Human Rights and Remedying Violations? (Aug. 2008) (representing views from several NGOs, including the Center for International Environmental Law, Bank Information Center, Oxfam Australia, and World Resources Institute), at

10 Recent books devoted to this topic include Mac, Darrow, Between Light and Shadow: The WorldBank, the International Monetary Fund, and International Human Rights Law 126 (2003); Bahram, Ghazi, The Imf, The World Bank Group, and the Question of Human Rights (2005); Sigrun, I. Skogly, The Human Rights Obligations of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (2001).

11 “Adoption” refers to an institution’s acceptance of a norm and its manifestation as a formal or informal rule. “Internalization” refers to the acceptance of a norm by actors within the organization who are persuaded of its merits and validity through such processes as social learning, framing, and deliberation. Ryan Goodman and Derek Jinks refer to these mechanisms as persuasion. They distinguish persuasion from coercion and acculturation, which entail the adoption of norms without belief in their content, and as a result of social and cognitive pressures. Ryan, Goodman & Derek, Jinks, How to Influence States: Socialization and International Human Rights Law, 54 Duke L.J. 621 (2004).

12 Merry, Sally Engle, Transnational Human Rights and Local Activism: Mapping the Middle, 108 Am. Anthropologist 38, 39 (2006); see also Merry, Sally Engle, Human Rights and Gender Violence: Translating International Law into Local Justice 21922 (2006).

13 See note 187 infra and corresponding text.

14 David, Kennedy, Challenging Expert Rule: The Politics of Global Governance, 27 Sydney L. Rev. 5, 15 (2005).

15 See, e.g., Robert, O. Keohane, After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy (1984); Neoliberalism and its Critics (Robert, O. Keohane ed., 1986); Kenneth, N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics (1979).

16 See, e.g., Ruggie, John Gerard, What Makes the World Hang Together? Neo–Utilitarianism and the Social Constructivist Challenge, 52 Int’l Org. 855 (1998); Alexander, Wendt, Anarchy Is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics, 46 Int’l Org. 391 (1992).

17 Michael, Barnett & Martha, Finnemore, Rules For The World: International Organizations in Global Politics 6 (2004); Michael, N. Barnett & Martha, Finnemore, The Politics, Power, and Pathologies of International Organizations, 53 Int’l Org. 699 (1999) [hereinafter Barnett, & Finnemore, , Politics, Power ].

18 See, e.g., Jack, L. Goldsmith & Eric, A. Posner, The Limits of International Law (2005).

19 See Abram, Chayes & Chayes, Antonia Handler, The New Sovereignty: Compliance With International Regulatory Agreements (1995); Harold, HongjuKoh, Why Do Nations Obey International Law? 106 Yale L.J. 2599 (1997).

20 See Engaging Countries: Strengthening Compliance With International Environmental Accords (Weiss, Edith Brown & Harold, K. Jacobson eds., 1998).

21 See, e.g., Goodman & Jinks, supra note 11.

22 Kennedy, supra note 14, at 7.

23 John Van, Maanen, Tales of The Field: on Writing Ethnography 2 (1988).

24 John Comaroff argues that “anthropology always rests on a dialectic between the deductive and the inductive, between the concept and the concrete, between its objectives and its subjects, whose intensions and inventions frequently set its agendas.” John, Comaroff, Notes on Anthropological Method—Mainly in the Key of E , in Michéle Lamont & Patricia White, Workshop on Interdisciplinary Standards for Systematic Qualitative Research 36, 37 ( Report on National Science Foundation Supported Workshop, May 1920, 2005), available at

25 Michael, H. Agar, The Professional Stranger: an Informal Introduction to Ethnography 62 (2d ed. 1996).

26 Helen, B. Schwartzman, Ethnography in Organizations 54 (1993).

27 For those interviewees who gave their consent, I have attached their full names or exact titles to their quotations. Otherwise, I have provided general descriptions of each interviewee’s position and department.

28 Jeffrey, T. Checkel, Norms, Institutions, and National Identity in Contemporary Europe, 43 Int’l Stud. Q. 83, 86 (1999).

29 Kenneth, W. Abbott, Robert, O. Keohane, Andrew, Moravcsik, Anne–Marie, Slaughter, & Duncan, Snidal, The Concept of Legalization, 54 Int’lorg. 401, 401 (2000); see also Judith, Goldstein Et al., Legalization and World Politics (2001).

30 Abbott, Keohane, Moravcsik, Slaughter, & Snidal, supra note 29.

31 Martha, Finnemore, Are Legal Norms Distinctive? 32 N.Y.U. J. Int’l L. & Pol. 699, 701 (2000).

32 Amartya, Sen, Human Rights and the Limits of Law, 27 Cardozo L. Rev. 2913, 2916 (2006).

33 Id. at 2921. Sen further elaborates on this argument in Amartya, Sen, Elements of a Theory of Human Rights, 32 Phil. & Pub. Aff. 315 (2004).

34 See Jack, Donnelly, The Virtues of Legalization, in The Legalization of Human Rights: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Human Rights and Human Rights Law 67 (Saladin, Meckled–Garda & Basak, Cali eds., 2006).

35 Derek, P. Jinks, The Legalization of World Politics and the Future of U.S. Human Rights Policy, 46 St. Louis U. L.J. 357, 360 (2002).

36 Id. at 361–62 (footnotes omitted).

37 See Wilson, Richard Ashby, Is the Legalization of Human Rights Really the Problem? Genocide in the Guatemalan Historical Clarification Commission , in The Legalization of Human Rights, supra note 34, at 81, 84 .

38 Laurence, R. Heifer, Overlegalizing Human Rights: International Relations Theory and the Commonwealth Caribbean Backlash Against Human Rights Regimes, 102 Colum. L. Rev. 1832 (2002).

39 Id.

40 Finnemore, supra note 31, at 704.

41 Amitav, Acharya, How Ideas Spread: Whose Norms Matter? Norm Localization and Institutional Change in Asian Regionalism, 58 Int’l Org. 239, 243 (2004).

42 Richard, W. Waterman & Kenneth, J. Meier, Principal–Agent Models: An Expansion? &]. Pub. Admin. Res. & Theory 173, 181 (1998).

43 See id.; Gary, J. Miller, The Political Evolution of Principal–Agent Models, 8 Ann. Rev. Pol. Sci. 203, 21112 (2005).

44 See, e.g., Murray, J. Horn & Kenneth, A. Shepsle, Commentary on “Administrative Arrangements and the Political Control of Agencies”: Administrative Process and Organizational Form as Legislative Responses to Agency Costs, 75 Va L. Rev. 499 (1989); Mathew, D. McCubbins, Roger, G. Noll, & Barry, R. Weingast, Structure and Process, Politics and Policy: Administrative Arrangements and the Political Control of Agencies, 75 Va. L. Rev. 431 (1989); Mathew, D. McCubbins, Roger, G. Noll, & Barry, R. Weingast, Administrative Procedures as Instruments of Political Control, 3 J. L. Econ. & Org. 243 (1987).

45 Horn & Shepsle, supra note 44, at 502.

46 Daniel, L. Nielson & Michael, J. Tierney, Delegation to International Organizations: Agency Theory and World Bank Environmental Reforms, 57 Int’l Org. 241, 242 (2003).

47 Five executive directors are appointed from the five donor countries that contribute the largest number of shares— currently, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The other nineteen directors are elected by regional groups of the other member countries. The Bank links voting power to members’ capital subscriptions, which are based on a country’s relative economic strength.

48 The board meets once or twice a week to vote on loan and credit proposals and to make decisions on strategic and policy items, including the administrative budget.

49 Interview with James Wolfensohn, former president, World Bank, New York, N.Y. (June 14, 2007).

50 Catherine, Caufield, Masters of Illusion: The World Bank and The Poverty of Nations 238 (Macmillan 1997) (1996). Naím, a former Venezuelan trade and industry minister, was an executive director at the Bank representing a bloc of countries including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Spain, and Venezuela.

51 Id. at 239.

52 Interview with Wolfensohn, supra note 49.

53 Id.

54 There are other reasons for their opposition, including their view that a human rights agenda would encroach on their sovereignty and turn the institution into a human rights enforcer. Some countries fear that human rights would become a conditionality on lending, which might adversely affect borrower countries with poor human rights records while not punishing donor countries with similar records. Finally, certain countries view human rights as a political consideration that is restricted under the Bank’s Articles of Agreement.

55 Roberto, Dañino, Legal Opinion on Human Rights and the Work of the World Bank (Jan. 27, 2006), at [hereinafter Dañino Opinion].

56 Darrow, supra note 10, at 126.

57 See, e.g., Daniel, D. Bradlow, The World Bank, the IMF, and Human Rights, 6 Transnat’l L. & Contemp. Probs. 47, 63 (1996); Ibrahim, F. I. Shihata, The World Bank and Human Rights: An Analysis of the Legal Issues and the Record of Achievements, 17 Denv. J. Int’l L. & Pol’y 39, 47 (1988). See generally Darrow, supra note 10; Skogly, supra note 10; Fergus, MacKay, Universal Rights or a Universe unto Itself? Indigenous Peoples ‘Human Rights andthe World Bank’s Draft Operational Policy 4.10 on Indigenous Peoples, 17 Am. U. Int’l L. Rev. 527 (2002).

58 See Interpretation of the Agreement of 25 March 1951 Between the WHO and Egypt, Advisory Opinion, 1980 ICJ Rep. 73, 89–90 (Dec. 20).

59 See Reparation for Injuries Suffered in the Service of the United Nations, Advisory Opinion, 1949 ICJ Rep. 174 (Apr. 11).

60 Schermers, H. G., The Legal Bases of International Organization Action , in A Handbook on International Organizations 401, 402 (Rene–Jean, Dupuy ed., 2d ed. 1998).

61 See Agreement Between the United Nations and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Art. IV(2), Sept. 16 & Nov. 15, 1947, 16 UNTS 346, 348.

62 Darrow, supra note 10, at 128.

63 See Skogly, supra note 10, at 99–102; Bradlow, supra note 57, at 63.

64 Daniel, D. Bradlow, Should the International Financial Institutions Play a Role in the Implementation and Enforcement of International Humanitarian Law? 50 U. Kan. L. Rev. 695 (2002).

65 At the 1993 Vienna World Conference, a consensus affirmed, “Democracy, development and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. . .. The international community should support the strengthening and promoting of democracy, development and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the entire world.” United Nations World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, para. 8 (June 25, 1993), UN Doc. A/CONF. 157/24, at 20 (Part I) (Oct. 13, 1993), reprinted in 32 ILM 1661 (1993).

66 See sources cited supra note 10.

67 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Articles of Agreement, Art. IV, §10, & Art. III, §5(b), July 22, 1944, 60 Stat. 1440, 2 UNTS 134 [hereinafter Articles of Agreement].

68 Darrow, supra note 10, at 152.

69 Ibrahim, F.I. Shihata, The World Bank in a Changing World: Selected Essays 133 (Franziska, Tschofen & Antonio, R. Parra eds., 1991).

70 See World Bank, Sub–Saharan Africa: From Crisis to Sustainable Growth 6061 (1989) (“Underlying the litany of Africa’s development problems is a crisis of governance. . .. [What is required is] a systematic effort to build a pluralistic institutional structure, a determination to respect the rule of law, and vigorous protection of the freedom of the press and human rights.”).

71 Interview with Wolfensohn, supra note 49.

72 World Bank, Report No. 23,188, supra note 5.

73 See United Kingdom Department For International Development, Human Rights: Core Text, para. 3.39 (DFID/SDD Human Rights Policy Paper), available at (concluding that” [t] he reluctance of some of [the Bank’s] shareholders . . . to incorporate human rights into its development work could constrain its poverty reduction strategies”).

74 Human Rights & Sustainable Development: What Role for the Bank? Summary of Proceedings 12 (May 2, 2002) (Ko–Yung, Tung, citing James, Wolfensohn).

75 Id. at 11.

76 Interview with former official, Social Development Department, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Feb. 16, 2006).

77 The task force did not bring the issue to the full Board of Executive Directors but only to its Committee on Development Effectiveness, since it did not want to sharpen the divisions on the board. Members of the task force now regret that they did not at least prepare a public statement based on their work.

78 Interview with former official, Social Development Department, supra note 76.

79 The Bank’s managing directors rank directly below the president.

80 Interview with official, Bank Information Center, Washington, D.C. (Jan. 31, 2006).

81 See Human Rights and Development: Towards Mutual Reinforcement, supra note 5

82 Interview with Wolfensohn, supra note 49.

83 Interview with official, Human Rights Watch, Washington, D.C. (July 20, 2006).

84 One employee described her as being “pitchforked” into her position from outside the Bank, rather than rising from within the ranks. As a result, she did not understand the Bank’s language well and had trouble effectively carrying out her mandate. Interview with official, Development Research Group, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Feb. 14, 2006). In comparison, another managing director, Shengman Zhang, commanded more respect at the Bank because he had worked at the institution for a long time, and all of the operational vice presidents reported to him. Interview with official, External Affairs Department, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Mar. 15, 2006).

85 See infra pp. 677–78.

86 Interview with official, Human Development Network, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Jan. 24, 2006).

87 Interview with official, Legal Department, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Jan. 4, 2006).

88 Dañino had submitted his resignation from the Bank on January 13, 2006, because of disagreements with then–president Paul Wolfowitz.

89 Dañino Opinion, supra note 55. The document was officially dated January 27,2006. Dañino concurrently released a second legal note and related discussion note, “Bank Activities in the Criminal Justice Sector.”

90 Dañino Opinion, supra note 55, at 9.

91 A selection of Shihata’s legal opinions and memorandums during his tenure from 1983 to 1998 was published in the book Ibrahim, F. I. Shihata, The World Bank Legal Papers (2000).

92 See note 67 supra and corresponding text. The provisions in question are quoted in the text following note 67.

93 Shihata, supra note 69, at 109.

94 Bradlow, supra note 57, at 60 (quoting then–unpublished Legal Opinion on Governance, in SHIHATA, supra note 91, at 271). According to some legal scholars, Shihata’s economic test is ambiguous and does not contain clear criteria. It “does not stipulate the time period over which the directness and the obviousness of the economic impact of the particular factor should be determined. If the time period for analysis is short, then relatively few nonobvious economic issues will have a direct and obvious effect.” Id.

95 Dañino Opinion, supra note 55, at 3.

96 Id. at 7.

97 Id.

98 Id.

99 Id. at 8.

100 Id. at 5–6.

101 Id. at 5.

102 Id. at 6.

103 Id. at 6–7.

104 Id. at 7.

105 Id. at 4–5.

106 Roberto, Dañino, The Legal Aspects of the World Bank’s Work on Human Rights: Some Preliminary Thoughts , in Human Rights and Development: Towards Mutual Reinforcement, supra note 5, at 509, 515 .

107 Roberto, Dañino, Welcoming Remarks, Gender–Based Violence and Equitable Development: The Role of the International Community, seminar at World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Oct. 24, 2005). Yet Dañino also notes that given the Bank’s mandate and role as a public institution, it would be more difficult for it to forgo a particular investment because of political factors than it would be for a private company. Id. (based on author’s notes).

108 The board conventionally operates by consensus, so any disagreements between countries over human rights would be enough for the Bank not to approve the opinion.

109 Interview with Roberto Dañino, former general counsel, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (May 26, 2006).

110 See infra text at notes 192–99.1 should briefly note that the Legal Department’s decision not to present the opinion formally to the board did not mean that board members did not know of its existence. A member country representative supportive of a human rights agenda at the Bank told me that he was familiar with the opinion and supported the under–the–radar strategy, since he was well aware of the unlikelihood of gaining the board’s approval of the opinion. Interview with a senior adviser to an executive director, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (May 11, 2006).

111 Articles of Agreement, supra note 67, Art. IX.

112 Interview with official, Legal Department, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (May 25, 2006).

113 Interview with official, Social Development Department, Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development Network, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Feb. 1, 2006).

114 Interview with official, Legal Department, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Feb. 21, 2006).

115 Personal communication with Bank official (Feb. 1, 2006).

116 E.g., Oxfam International, at

117 World Bank, The World Bank Policy on Disclosure of Information, para. 75 (2002).

118 Shihata, supra note 91.

119 XLI.

120 World Bank, supra note 117.

121 James, Q. Wilson, Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies do and Why They do IT 91 (1989).

122 Id. at 27.

123 Susan, Wright, ‘Culture’ in Anthropology and Organization Studies, in Anthropology of Organizations 1, 17 (Susan, Wright ed., 1994).

124 Wilson, supra note 121, at 95.

125 Id. at 101.

126 Jessica, Einhorn, The World Bank’s Mission Creep, Foreign Aff., Sept./Oct. 2001 , at 22.

127 Richard, Pascale, The Paradox of “Corporate Culture”: Reconciling Ourselves to Socialization, Cal. Mgmt. Rev., Winter 1985, at 26, 27 .

128 Jeffrey, Pfeffer, New Directions for Organization Theory: Problems and Prospects 111 (1997).

129 Interview with official, World Bank Institute, Washington, D.C. (Nov. 10, 2005).

130 Interview with official, East Asia and the Pacific Region, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Nov. 9, 2005).

131 Wilson, supra note 121, at 164.

132 See Operational Manual, supra note 1, Table Al, OP 4.0 (July 2005) (Environmental and Social Policies— Policy Objectives and Operational Principles).

133 For an analysis of inconsistent application of the Bank’s safeguard policy on indigenous peoples, see Galit, A. Sarfaty, Note, The World Bank and the Internalization of Indigenous Rights Norms, 114 Yale L.J. 1791 (2005).

134 Interview with official, Environment Department, Latin America and the Caribbean Region, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Nov. 15, 2005).

135 See Operational Manual, supra note l, OP, paras. 6, 10.

136 Interview with official, Environment Department, Latin America and the Caribbean Region, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Dec. 27, 2005).

137 Interview with official, supra note 129.

138 Interview with official, Legal Department, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Mar. 9, 2006).

139 Interview with official, Operations Evaluation Department, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Nov. 16, 2005).

140 There are many critics of the Bank’s research, including those who feel that the Bank is too tied to its own paradigms. An independent evaluation of the Bank’s research by top academic economists criticized it for being “used to proselytize on behalf of Bank policy, often without taking a balanced view of the evidence, and without expressing appropriate skepticism.” Abhijit, Banerjee et al., An Evaluation of World Bank Research, 1998–2005, at 6 (Sept. 24, 2006), available at the Bank’s Web site,

141 See James, Wolfensohn, Annual Meetings Address (Oct. 1, 1996), available at the Bank’s Web site, supra note 140.

142 Thomas, H. Davenport & Laurence, Prusak, Working Knowledge: How Organizations Manage What They Know at x (paperback 2000) (1998).

143 See Joseph, E. Stiglitz, The World Bank at the Millennium, 109 Econ. J. F577, F590 (1999).

144 See Christopher, Gilbert et al., Positioning the World Bank, 109 Econ. J. F598, F610 (1999).

145 As of July 1, 2006, the Bank merged some of the thematic areas, resulting in a reduction of network units from seven to five. The current network units are Financial and Private Sector Development, Human Development, Operations Policy and Country Services, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, and Sustainable Development.

146 Christopher, A. Burden &c Sumantra, Ghosha. 1, Matrix Management: Not a Structure, a Frame of Mind, Harv. Bus. Rev., July–Aug. 1990, at 138, 139 .

147 My account is based on a 2004 new staff orientation slide presentation, “The Matrix Environment and the World Bank.”

148 Bartlett & Ghoshal, supra note 146, at 139.

149 Id.

150 Interview with official, Legal Department, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Dec. 8, 2005).

151 Interview with official, supra note 134.

152 Wilson, supra note 121, at 55.

153 Peter, M . Haas, Introduction: Epistemic Communities and International Policy Coordination, 46 Int’l Org. 1, 3 (1992); see also Karin, Knorr–Cetina, Epistemic Cultures: How The Sciences Make Knowledge (1999).

154 Gloria, Davis, A History of The Social Development Network In The World Bank, 1973–2002, at 18 (World Bank Paper No. 56, Mar. 2004); World Bank, An Oed Review of Social Development In Bank Activities 8 (Feb. 2004). The 2002 estimate takes into account both staff and short–term consultants. It includes 175 social development specialists, 22 gender specialists, and 249 additional Bank staff members who hold graduate degrees in the noneconomic social sciences.

155 Anthony, Bebbington et al., Exploring Social Capital Debates at the World Bank, J. Dev. Stud., June 2004, at 33, 44 .

156 One exception is the Young Professionals Program, which annually recruits twenty to forty talented young people from a variety of professional backgrounds, including economics.

157 On the rare occasions that operations staff do have time to write, their audience is usually development practitioners rather than academics.

158 Interview with official, supra note 84.

159 Andrew, Abbott, The System of Professions: an Essay on The Division of Expert Labor 65 (1988).

160 Marion, Fourcade, The Construction of a Global Profession: The Transnationalization of Economics, 112 Am. J. Soc. 145, 151 (2006).

161 Interview with official, supra note 137.

162 See Joseph, J. Norton, International Financial Institutions and the Movement Toward Greater Accountability and Transparency: The Case of Legal Reform Programmes and the Problem of Evaluation, 35 Int’l law. 1443, 1457 (2001).

163 In 2004 then–general counsel Dañino tried to raise the prestige of the Legal Department and inspire a new generation of lawyers to join the Bank. To that end, he established the Legal Associates Program, which recruits talented young lawyers from around the world for a two–year stint in the department and possible permanent employment thereafter.

164 The shifting status of the Bank’s Legal Department is not unusual among international organizations. For instance, the Legal Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) played an influential role in the institution under General Counsel Joseph Gold from I960 to 1979. Following Gold’s retirement, however, the position of “General Counsel and Director of the Legal Department” was downgraded to just “Director of the Legal Department,” which reflected “a denigration of law within the IMF.” Legal considerations played a less significant role in IMF decision making after Gold’s tenure, although they returned to prominence in the late 1980s when the title of “General Counsel” was again added to the “Director of the Legal Department” position. The changing title of the head of the Legal Department indicates the shifting status of lawyers within the organization. Richard, W. Edwards Jr., The Role of the General Counsel of an International Financial Institution, 17 Kan. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 254, 27071 (2008).

165 The Bank’s Articles of Agreement state: “Subject to the general control of the Executive Directors, [the president] shall be responsible for the organization, appointment and dismissal of the officers and staff.” Articles of Agreement, supra note 67, Art. V, §5.

166 William, E. Holder, The International Monetary Fund: A Legal Perspective, 91 ASIL Proc. 201, 207 (1997). Former general counsel Shihata further notes that” [t] he role of the [general counsel], and that of Bank lawyers generally, has evolved with the evolution of the role of the Bank itself.” Ibrahim, F. I. Shihata, Role of the World Bank’s General Counsel, id. at 214, 221 .

167 Edwards, supra note 164, at 257.

168 Id. at 261.

169 Shihata, supra note 166, at 221.

170 Roundtable of International Financial Institutions General Counsels, 91 ASIL Proc. 199, 200 (1997) (remarks by Andrés Rigo).

171 Even lawyers who work in units outside the Legal Department have limited access. If a Bank employee who is not in the Legal Department entered its intranet Web site, she would have access to all documents except the section on legal opinions. If she tried to access one, she would immediately be prompted to provide a password, which is given only to members of the department.

172 Interview with official, Legal Department, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (July 26, 2006).

173 Personal communication with Bank official (Feb. 2, 2006).

174 See Barnett, & Finnemore, , Politics, Power, supra note 17, at 719 .

175 See Jennifer, A. Howard–Grenville, Inside the ‘Black Box’: How Organizational Culture and Subcultures Inform Interpretations and Actions on Environmental Issues, 19 Org. & Env’t 46, 51 (2006).

176 John Van, Maanen & Stephen, R. Barley, Cultural Organization: Fragments of a Theory , in Organizational Culture 31, 38 (Peter, J. Frost et al. eds., 1985).

177 Adherents of each interpretive frame are not restricted to professionals of that discipline. For instance, while most lawyers adhere to the intrinsic frame and most economists adhere to the instrumental frame, there are certainly exceptions. But for the sake of simplicity, I present a general typology. Moreover, in my comparison of staff interpretations, I exclude employees that completely oppose the integration of human rights into the Bank’s work.

178 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, GA Res. 217A, UN GAOR, 3d Sess., Resolutions, at 71, UN Doc. A/810 (1948).

179 Interviews with officials, Legal Department, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Jan. 4, 2006, Jan. 17, 2006).

180 Klaus, Decker et al., Human Rights and Equitable Development: “Ideals”, Issues and Implications 49 (2005) (background paper for World Bank, World Development Report 2006).

181 World Bank, Principles and Good Practice In Social Policy: Issues and Areas For Public Action (Apr. 1999).

182 Then–president Wolfensohn had approached the Nordic countries in 2004 and asked for their assistance in advancing a human rights agenda at the Bank. It took about two years to make the arrangements to bring in the senior lawyer from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is not uncommon for countries to fund the appointment of a Bank staff member to pursue a particular policy agenda.

183 The World Bank and Human Rights—Nordic–Baltic Working Paper (rev. Oct. 20, 2005).

184 Id.

185 Justice and Human Rights Trust Fund (JHRTF), Concept Note 1 (July 12, 2006).

186 See World Bank, The Nordic Trust Fund, at .

187 See Bronwen, Morgan, The Economisation of Politics: Metaregulation as a Form of Nonjudicial Legality, 12 Soc. & Legal Stud. 489 (2003).

188 Daniel, Kaufmann, Statement, in Conference on the Establishment of a Justice and Human Rights Trust Fund (JHRTF) in the World Bank, Proceedings 11 (Copenhagen, June 26–27, 2006) [hereinafter JHRTF Conference] (on file with author).

189 Interview with official, Development Research Group, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Mar. 14, 2006).

190 World Bank Legal Department, The Proposed Nordic Trust Fund & Emerging Human Rights Practice in the Bank (Mar. 2006) (emphasis omitted).

191 There were about thirty participants in the workshop, including representatives from the World Bank, officials in the Nordic and Baltic Foreign Ministries, and academic experts in human rights from four continents.

192 Interview with official, supra note 84.

193 Interview with official, Operations Evaluation Department, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Apr. 5, 2006).

194 Stockholm Seminar on Human Rights Dialogues and Rights Principles in Development Cooperation at the Country–Level, Summary of Discussions (June 19–20, 2006) (on file with author).

195 Joseph, K. Ingram [then–World Bank special representative to the United Nations and the World Trade Organization], Statement, First Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland (June 21, 2006) (on file with author).

196 Interview with official, Social Development Department, Latin America and the Caribbean Region, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (Mar. 15, 2006).

197 Operational Manual, supra note 1, OP 4.01 (Jan. 1999) (Environmental Assessment).

198 Interview with official, Board of Executive Directors, World Bank, Washington, D.C. (July 24, 2006).

199 Sveinn, Aass, Introductory Remarks, in JHRTF Conference, supra note 188, at 8 .

200 Merry, supra note 12, at 39.

201 See Dev. Outreach, supra note 5; FAQ, “Human Rights,” at the Bank’s Web site, supra note 140.

202 Merry, supra note 12, at 135–36.

203 Id. at 136, 222.

204 Id at 137, 222.

* I thank Alfred Aman, Arthur Applbaum, Daniel Bradlow, Rachel Brewster, John Comaroff, Cosette Creamer, Adrian Di Giovanni, Oona Hathaway, Laurence Heifer, Jacob Levy, Joseph Masco, Paul McDonald, Sally Engle Merry, Mindy Roseman, Adam Saunders, Henry Steiner, and Cora True–Frost for comments, as well as the World Bank employees who graciously agreed to be interviewed. This research was generously supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council–Mellon Mays Program, and the University of Chicago’s Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture. Earlier versions were presented at the American Society of International Law Annual Meeting’s “New Voices” Panel, the Law and Society Association Annual Meeting, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University’s International Law–International Relations Seminar, the Human Rights Program Fellows Lunch and Program on the Legal Profession Workshop at Harvard Law School, and the Leadership and Corporate Accountability Workshop at Harvard Business School. I am grateful to participants for their feedback.


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