Maxwell School

Daniel McDowell

Assistant Professor, Political Science

Daniel McDowell

Contact Information

334 Eggers Hall
(315) 443-9804


Ph.D., University of Virginia, 2012


International political economy, international finance, International Monetary Fund

Personal Website


International Relations
International Political Economy


“The U.S. as Sovereign International Last-Resort Lender: The Fed’s Currency Swap Program during the Great Panic of 2007-2009”, New Political Economy, April 2012, 17(2), 157-178.

“Redback Rising: China’s Bilateral Swap Agreements and RMB Internationalization,” (with Steven Liao) Forthcoming, International Studies Quarterly.

Research Projects

Brother, Can you Spare a Billion? 

During financial crises it has long been accepted that in order to reinstate market confidence, national economies need a lender of last resort. In a global economy, such crises are rarely confined to one country. Indeed, they often go global. Yet, there is no formal international lender of last resort (ILLR). Conventional wisdom says that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is the world’s de facto ILLR. My book project explores how the United States has, over a fifty year period, regularly complemented and even substituted the Fund’s ILLR role by providing billions of dollars in direct emergency loans to crisis-hit countries. Why would U.S. economic policymakers ever put American financial resources at risk to “bailout” foreign governments and citizens to whom they are not beholden? I argue the U.S. is compelled to provide such rescues unilaterally when it believes a multilateral response via the IMF is either too slow or too limited to protect vital American interests. Through a combination of historical case studies and statistical analysis, I uncover the American interests that drove U.S. ILLR actions during international financial crises spanning from the 1960s through 2008.

“No Reservations: Unpacking Demand for the RMB as a Reserve Currency” (with Steven Liao)

We identify 28 central banks that have made investments in China’s currency, the renminbi (RMB), between 2010 and 2013. Drawing from extant economic and political economic theories of reserve currency preferences, we develop and test several hypotheses in order to identify the factors associated with cross-national variation in RMB reserve diversification.

“Waiting is the Hardest Part: IMF Lending Responsiveness, 1984-2009”

I introduce new data measuring the duration of IMF loan approval periods. These data reveal considerable variation in the number of days between loan requests and approvals across borrowers. Drawing on case analysis and existing research, I develop and test several hypotheses in order to identify the factors associated with variation in IMF lending responsiveness.   

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