Grabel

Ilene J. Grabel

Professor; Co-Director of Global Economic Affairs

What I do

Research interests: global financial governance architectures; political economy of international financial policy; multilateral financial institutions; central banks, currency boards, and exchange rate regimes; financial instability and crises; developmental finance; regional, subregional, and transregional financial architectures; macroeconomic policies for development; development banks; global financial safety net; the political economy of international capital flows and capital control policies; Albert Hirschman; American financial orders and "post-American" orders; neoliberalism and the post-neoliberal order. Teaching interests: Int'l Monetary Relations; Finance and Economic Development; Financial Development Policies; Advanced Topics in Int'l Monetary Relations

Specialization(s)

Financial Systems and Economic Development, Political Economy of International Financial Policy, International Financial Institutions and Financial Governance

Professional Biography

Ilene Grabel is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Denver and co-director of the graduate program in Global Economic Affairs (GEA) at the Korbel School. (Note: Grabel will be on sabbatical during the 2021-22 academic year. During that time the Global Economic Affairs degree will be directed by Professor Josiah Hatch.) She is a Faculty Affiliate at the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy and the Scrivner Institute of Public Policy, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. Grabel’s research and teaching interests focus on the political economy of international financial policy, institutions, and financial flows; financial crises; global financial governance; global, regional, and transregional developmental financial architectures; finance and economic development; neoliberalism and post-neoliberalism; and American and “post-American” financial orders. Her recent book, When Things Don’t Fall Apart: Global Financial Governance and Developmental Finance in an Age of Productive Incoherence (The MIT Press, 2017), won the 2019 European Association of Evolutionary Political Economy Joan Robinson Prize, the 2019 International Studies Association International Political Economy Best Book Award, and the 2018 British International Studies Association International Political Economy Book Prize. She served as co-editor of the Review of International Political Economy from 2013-17 and again for several months during 2019. Grabel’s 2004 book (Zed Books, with Ha-Joon Chang), Reclaiming Development, was reissued in 2014, and has been translated into Korean, Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, Tamil, Malayalam and Bahasa/Indonesian. She has published in a wide range of journals, including the Cambridge Journal of Economics, World Development, Journal of Development Studies, Review of Social Economy, Journal of Post-Keynesian Economics, Feminist Economics, Development and Change, Current History, Review of International Political Economy, International Theory, Economía Informa, International Review of Applied Economics, International Journal of Political Economy, Review of Radical Political Economics, Eastern Economics Journal, and the Journal of Economic Issues. Grabel has been a consultant to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on several occasions. She was a member of UNCTAD’s Expert Group on Financing for Development and conducted commissioned research for the Division of Globalization and Development Strategies and UNCTAD/Group of 24. Additional public engagement includes work with the Human Development Report Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); International Poverty Centre for Inclusive Growth of the UNDP; United Nations Women; Independent Evaluation Office of the International Monetary Fund; Progressive Society, a project of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of the European Parliament; United Nations University/World Institute for Development Economics Research; Center for Popular Economics; International Career Advancement Program; and the NGOs Action Aid, Third World Network, and the coalition “New Rules for Global Finance.”

Degree(s)

  • Ph.D., Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1992
  • MA, Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1990
  • BA, Economics, Queens College, City University of New York, 1985

Media Sources

Research

My recent research focuses on changes in global financial governance and developmental finance that have been induced by the global financial crisis. I published a book on this subject, When Things Don’t Fall Apart: Global Financial Governance and Developmental Finance in an Age of Productive Incoherence (MIT Press, 2017). The book won the 2019 European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy, Joan Robinson Prize (formerly the Myrdal Prize), the 2018 British International Studies Association International Political Economy Book Prize and the 2019 International Studies Association International Political Economy Best Book Award. In the book I reject the conventional wisdom that holds that nothing of significance has changed for emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) as a consequence of the global crisis. Against the dominant (and incorrect) narrative I show that the global crisis has had significant, though ad hoc, inconsistent, experimental, and uneven effects on global financial governance and developmental finance. The resulting incoherence is, in my view, productive of development since it expands possibilities for policy and institutional experimentation, policy space for economic and human development, financial stability and resilience, and financial inclusion. I cement my case for what I term “productive incoherence” through case studies that explore the effects of the global crisis (and the earlier East Asian crisis) on informal financial governance networks (such as the G-20 and the Financial Stability Board); the power, governance, and practice of the IMF (with particular emphasis on the institution’s relationships with EMDEs); institutional innovations in liquidity (i.e., crisis) support and project/infrastructure finance on the national, sub-regional, regional, and transregional levels; and the “rebranding” of capital controls as a macroprudential policy instrument. I have examined many of these issues in earlier papers. The book deepens and broadens my analysis, while also reading them through a theoretical and epistemic framework inspired by the work of an intellectual hero of mine, Albert O. Hirschman.

Prior to completing the book, I conducted research on the origins and consequences of the Mexican and East Asian financial crises of the 1990s; policies to mitigate financial instability and reduce the spillover effects of financial crises in EMDEs; on the political economy of capital control policies and international private capital flows (particularly, portfolio investment and remittances); the effects of financial liberalization on macroeconomic and distributional outcomes and on political voice; pro-poor financial policies (with Gerald Epstein); and on the negative developmental effects of independent central banks and currency boards. In addition to this work, I co-authored with Ha-Joon Chang the book, Reclaiming Development: An Alternative Economic Policy Manual (Zed Books/Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, reissued 2014). In Reclaiming Development Chang and I challenge the damaging and incorrect “There is no alternative” narrative, and make a case for a range of policies that can promote economic development that is robust, equitable, and stable. See my CV for further details on my research. Also see my books and selected journal articles and book chapters for details on my work.

My research has also benefitted from the numerous opportunities I’ve had to engage with policy makers working in, with, and on behalf of EMDEs. I’ve worked, for example, as a consultant to the International Poverty Centre for Inclusive Growth of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)/G-24, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies of UNCTAD, United Nations University/World Institute for Development Economics Research, UNDP’s Human Development Report Office, and lectured at policy-oriented events sponsored by UNCTAD, Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Central Banks of Argentina and Costa Rica, and the Technical Commission for the New International Financial Architecture of the Ministry Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador. I have also been a member of the Task Force on Regulating Global Capital Flows for Long-Run Development (an initiative of the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-range Future, Boston University) and was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Progressive Economy (an initiative of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of the European Parliament, 2013-March 2018). I was a member of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Expert Group on Financing for Development (September 2017-Present) and an academic partner of Progressive Society (an initiative of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of the European Parliament, March 2018-Present). I have participated in an Exit Workshop organized by the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of the International Monetary Fund (to provide feedback on the IEO’s draft report on “IMF Advice on Unconventional Monetary Policy).

I have also enjoyed the opportunity to support the work of those in NGO community seeking to make the world a better place. In this connection I have been a consultant to Action Aid, the coalition “New Rules for Global Finance,” and an Expert Advisor to the Third World Network project on capital controls and free trade agreements. I am also connected to several research institutes. For instance, I am a Research Partner at the Centro de Estudios Financieros y Económicos de América del Norte at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (2012-present and a Research Scholar at the Political Economy Research Institute of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (2007-present).

Areas of Research

International Finance and Development
Financial Systems and Economic Development
Political Economy of International Financial Policy
International Financial Institutions and Governance
Currency and Exchange Rate Arrangements
Central Banks
Currency Boards
Capital Controls
Financial Stability
Causes and Consequences of Financial Crises
Bretton Woods Institutions
International Monetary Fund
World Bank
Development Banks
Regional and Transregional Financial Arrangements
Global Financial Architecture
Developmental Financial Architectures
Global Financial Safety Net
Albert O. Hirschman
John Maynard Keynes

Featured Publications

Grabel, Ilene J. “Continuity, Discontinuity, And Incoherence In The Bretton Woods Order: A Hirschmanian Reading.” Special Issue On "Beyond Bretton Woods: Complementarity And Competition In The International Economic Order. Development and Change 50, no. 1, (2019): 46-71.
Grabel, Ilene J. “The Upside Of A Messier Global Financial Architecture.” Special Issue On "The Decade Of Aftershocks Of The Global Financial Crisis" . Current History 117, no. 802, (2018): 321-4.
Grabel, Ilene J. “Capital Controls And The The Global Financial Crisis: Introduction To Symposium.” Review of International Political Economy 22, no. 1, (2015): 1-6.
Chang, Ha-Joon, and Ilene J. Grabel. Reclaiming Development: An Alternative Economic Policy Manual. London, England: Zed Books . 2004.

Presentations

Grabel, Ilene J. ““The Global Economy On The Brink: A Conversation About Key Challenges, Risks, And Opportunities” ” Korbel Faculty Fridays, zoom; on line at https://youtu.be/yqeJ3JjzGv0, Korbel School of International Studies, 2020.
Grabel, Ilene J. “Book Talk, When Things Don't Fall Apart” Macroeconomic Policy In The Shadow Of The Great Financial Crisis: Some Insights From Four Recent Books, LBJ School-Washington, DC Center, Lydon B. Johnson (LBJ) School of Public Affairs and the Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 2019.
Grabel, Ilene J. “Enabling Global Macroeconomic Governance: Pathways For Reforms That Support A Feminist Plan For Sustainability And Social Justice” Expert Group Meeting On Macroeconomic Policies For The Feminist Plan On Sustainability And Social Justice, New York (virtual meeting), United Nations Women, 2020.
Grabel, Ilene J. “Have Central Bankers Learned Their Lesson During The Last Financial Crisis” The Future Of Central Banking, Talloires, France, 2019.
Grabel, Ilene J. “Post-American Moments In Global Financial Governance In The New Millennium” Liberalism’s End? Populism, Authoritarianism, And The End Of The American Order, Virtual, Boston College, Department of Political Science, 2020.
Grabel, Ilene J. “Post-Neoliberalism, Illiberalism, And The Current Economic And Political Conjuncture: An Exploration Through A Hirschmanian Lens” Third Conference On Albert Hirschman’s Legacy: A Passion For The Possible, Berlin, Germany, Berlin School of Economics and Law, 2019.
Grabel, Ilene J. “How A Good Idea Got Its Groove Back: Central Banking, Capital Controls, And The Rediscovery Of Keynes” The Future Of Central Banking, Talloires, France, 2019.
Grabel, Ilene J. “It’s A Mess, And That’s (Mostly) A Good Thing: Global Financial Governance In The Current Hirschmanian Conjuncture” Second Conference On Hirschman’s Legacy: A Bias For Hope, World Bank, Washington, DC, World Bank-Independent Evaluation Group and Colorni-Hirschman Institute, 2018.
Grabel, Ilene J. “The American Financial Order Is Crumbling (And It’s A Good Thing, Too!)” Bilkent University (virtual presentation); Ankara, Turkey; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGRDUG4tcJA  , Department of International Relations, 2021.
Grabel, Ilene J. “Reflections On The Economics Profession, The Neoliberal Conjuncture, And The Emerging Democratic Crisis” The Rise Of Economic Inequality, Department of Political and Social Science, University of Bologna, Italian Association for the History of Economic Thought, 2019.

Awards

  • Joan Robinson (Book) Prize 2019 (formerly the Myrdal Prize), European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy
  • Distinguished University Professor, 2019, University of Denver
  • International Studies Association International Political Economy Section Best Book Award 2019.
  • British International Studies Association International Political Economy Group Book Prize, 2018
  • University Lecturer, 2011-12, University of Denver