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Celebrating our 2023 Rudolf Wildenmann Prize winner

We are pleased to announce that our 2023 Rudolf Wildenmann Prize has been awarded to Kathleen Brown, for her Paper IMF survival instincts: risk exposure and the design of loan programs, which she presented at our 2023 Joint Sessions of Workshops.

Our Rudolf Wildenmann Prize has been awarded since 2001 for an outstanding Paper presented by an early career scholar at our renowned, longstanding annual event, the Joint Sessions of Workshops.

We have created this short video to celebrate Kathleen's achievement and to share her work with our community. Congratulations!

About the author

Kathleen Brown is a PhD candidate at the Departments of Political Science and Public Administration at Leiden University. She studies the politics of public debt and focuses on financial statecraft in emerging market governments. Her doctoral research investigates how transparency, corruption, and domestic and international political constraints shape government decisions of how much money to borrow, and from whom. 

Kathleen holds an MSc in Economics from the University of Antwerp and a BSc in Economics from Northeastern University. Some of her work has been published in the Review of International Political Economy and the European Journal of Political Research. Her most recent paper, entitled Why Hide? Africa’s Hidden Debt to China is forthcoming at the Review of International Organizations.

She tweets @K_J_Brown_.

About the Paper

Kathleen’s Paper was presented during the Workshop Resourcing International Organisations. The Paper investigates how the International Monetary Fund (IMF) adjusts its lending decisions to governments in financial distress. It suggests that the IMF's risk exposure influences loan generosity and conditions. When more loans are at risk, the IMF offers smaller loans with stricter conditions to protect itself. 

The study introduces a new risk exposure index and demonstrates how the IMF adapts its lending behaviour to maintain financial stability and safeguard its balance sheet. These findings reveal the impact of IMF self-preservation goals on sovereign lending and international organisation policies.


In her own words

I’m very honoured that my paper has been awarded this year’s Rudolf Wildenmann Prize. Presenting this work at the ECPR Joint Sessions was such a valuable experience and the in-depth feedback I received there has undoubtedly made the paper better. 

Kathleen Brown, Universiteit Leiden

From our jury

The jury particularly appreciated the historical breadth and the methodological rigor in this Paper, as well as the systematic presentation of the results.

Kathleen challenges the traditional literature by testing the attribution of IMF loans to 123 countries across 30 years. She shows the causal relationship between rising risk exposure of the IMF and the impact on countries and global governance. It is, as one of the jury members underlined a 'timeless and timely article at the same time'.

Read the full laudation.

Our jury

Sabine Saurugger Sciences Po Grenoble
Jury Chair, Executive Committee Member

Simona Guerra University of Surrey
Editor, Political Research Exchange

Marina Costa Lobo University of Lisbon
Editor, European Political Science Review

Emiliano Grossman Sciences Po Paris
Editor, European Journal of Political Research

Halvard Leira Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
Associate Editor, European Journal of International Relations

30 November 2023
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