Paper prepared for the annual conference of the International Studies Association, March 15-19, 2000, Los Angeles. I gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Existing explanations of the effectiveness of the G7 as an international institution, based on realist and liberal-institutionalist premises, largely emphasize the role of United States leadership and of established international organizations such as the International
Monetary Fund in serving as a lender of last resort and performing other hegemonic functions to stave off systemic crises, and in exercising intellectual, policy and structural leadership to reform and construct international regimes.
Yet an analysis of G7 and IMF behavior during the global financial crisis of 1997-9 reveals that a now vulnerable America and a rules and resource constrained IMF both depended upon the G7 to mount an effective crisis response and regime reconstruction effort. Here the G7
operated as an effective international concert, in which lesser member such as Canada and Britain were able to play leadership roles and assemble fluid coalitions to importantly determine G7 outcomes and thus the shape of the new international financial architecture.