Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 01/2009

Ethics and International Debt: A View from Feminist Economics

Julie A. Nelson

August 2006

Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University


Feminist scholars examine not only the gendered impacts of development programs whose design has been influenced by disciplines such as economics, but also the gendered biases that permeate the models and methods of the disciplines themselves. This essay draws on aspects of feminist critiques of economics, philosophy, psychology, law, and finance to analyze the way in which international debt is discussed. Feminist critiques raise serious questions about the rational choice framework that often undergirds scholarly discussions of "agents," "contract," "ethics," and "capital and debt."