Enforcing liberalism: Political advisory networks and new economic institutions: Case studies of Bulgaria and Ecuador
This dissertation examines two cases of extreme monetary policies (currency boards or dollarization) in response to inflationary and bank crises. The research asks why, after major currency and banking failures, governments struggle to restructure and reform their bank systems—both public and private—to prevent future crises. The dissertation complements traditional institutional, interest-based, and domestic corruption explanations for stalled or incomplete liberal reforms which have overlooked an important agent in the regulation of the financial sector: the interaction of formal and informal rule-making institutions. Informal rule-making institutions, namely political advisory networks in the domestic and international finance sector, can inform the scope, timing, and legitimacy of changes in both monetary and banking policy attempted by formal rule-making institutions--the executive and legislative powers of government. The research seeks to descriptively model advisory networks and their sources of strength. I compare two cases, Bulgaria and Ecuador, using elite ethnographic interviews that study up and study through levels and processes of economic institutional change. The dissertation has two key findings: (1) that informal advisory networks can originate and execute extreme monetary policy changes with little deliberative advice from national political or international financial institutions, and (2) where liberal advisory networks are strong, the network can dominate the monetary and bank reform agenda, which often results in a stubborn persistence of liberal policies which reject protection mechanisms (credit ceilings, credit bureaus, state supervision) even through partisan changes in subsequent governments.
0615: Political science
0616: International law