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Testing and measuring the role of ideas: the case of neoliberalism in the International Monetary Fund

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How much weight should be assigned to a particular factor in explaining an outcome? How should an abstract concept be linked to empirical indicants? These methodological problems—known as the "how much" and "how to" problems, respectively—have raised serious obstacles for ideational researchers. However, they have generally failed to deal with these problems adequately. To offset the limitations of existing studies, this paper provides new methodological guidance to researchers confronting these problems. In particular, quantitative methods are suggested for managing the "how much" problem, and a new indicator based on an individual's organizational background is proposed to deal with the "how to" problem. To develop the argument, this guidance is applied to examine the effect and measurement of the emergence within the International Monetary Fund of neoliberal ideas prescribing liberalization of capital controls.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/24068/

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