Assessing the Anti-Globalization Movement: Protest Against the WTO, IMF,and World Bank in Cross-National Perspective

- By Azedi, Arman ; Schofer, Evan


This study examines protests targeting Multilateral Economic Institutions (MEIs), namely the WTO, IMF, and World Bank from 1995 to 2018 across a large sample of countries using data drawn from media reports. We consider conventional social movement arguments regarding domestic and international resources and political opportunities, as well as economic threats, integration into the global economy, and the effects of international lending. Hypotheses are evaluated using negative binomial panel regression models of annual country protest counts. Results are consistent with several arguments. Recessions and high unemployment are associated with the number of anti-MEI protests, and countries that receive large IMF loans also tend to have more protests. Moreover, we observe a globalization of the political landscape itself. International sites, such as the locations of WTO, IMF, and World Bank summits, serve as powerful magnets for protest. Finally, we note a decline in anti-globalization protests in recent years. We suspect that this reflects the weakening of MEIs, which have seen their influence wane amidst diminished enthusiasm for globalization. As the neo-liberal agenda stalls, MEIs lose salience and social movements have shifted their attention elsewhere.