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‘Knowledge’ or Knowledgeable Banks? International Financial Institutions' Generation of Knowledge in Times of Crisis

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The food-price crisis is testing the capacity of so-called ‘knowledge institutions’ to generate relevant knowledge with which to serve their clients better. This article analyses the voluminous knowledge generated by such banks and other international institutions in the context of the food-price crisis: in particular, its technical features; the depth and merits of the subsequent policy discussion; and the connection between the knowledge generated and specific policy advocacy. It also provides an explanation for the inability of these institutions to anticipate the dire consequences of the crisis, other than the widely accepted ‘perfect storm’ storyline.

Keywords: Food-price crisis; international financial institutions; knowledge generation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Inter-American Development Bank, 1300 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20577, USA and Georgetown University ( )., Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2010


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