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An empirical assessment of informal influence in the World Bank

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Recent scholarship has uncovered convincing evidence of systematic donor influence in international financial institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank. Less clear is how donors influence IFI decisions. Possible avenues are formal and informal: formal influence through official decisions of the board of executive directors and informal influence over decisions not made at the board level. This paper explores the role of informal influence at the World Bank by examining the flow of funds after loans are approved. Controlling for commitments (loan approvals), are subsequent disbursements linked to the geopolitical interests of important donors? Since the board of executive directors is formally involved in loan approval but not in disbursement decisions, this provides an interesting case to identify the avenues of influence. The results indicate the scope of reforms needed to bolster the independence of the World Bank.

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Paper provided by Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics in its series Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series with number 9.

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Date of creation: Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:vil:papers:9

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Web page: http://www.villanova.edu/business/facultyareas/economics/
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Keywords: World Bank; Donor Influence; United States; UN voting; Informal Influence;

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  1. Odedokun, Matthew, 2003. "Analysis of Deviations and Delays in Aid Disbursements," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  2. Thomas Barnebeck Andersen & Henrik Hansen & Thomas Markussen, 2004. "US Politics and World Bank IDA-Lending," Discussion Papers 05-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised May 2005.
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  4. Robert K. Fleck & Christopher Kilby, 2006. "World Bank Independence: A Model and Statistical Analysis of US Influence," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(2), pages 224-240, 05.
  5. Thomas Barnebeck Andersen & Thomas Harr & Finn Tarp, 2004. "On US politics and IMF Lending," Discussion Papers 04-11, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  6. Aleš Bulíř & A Javier Hamann, 2007. "Volatility of Development Aid: An Update," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 54(4), pages 727-739, November.
  7. Axel Dreher & Nathan Jensen, 2005. "Independent Actor or Agent? An Empirical Analysis of the impact of US interests on IMF Conditions," KOF Working papers 05-118, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  8. Ale Bulir & A. Javier Hamann, 2003. "Aid Volatility: An Empirical Assessment," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 50(1), pages 4.
  9. Kilby, Christopher, 2009. "The political economy of conditionality: An empirical analysis of World Bank loan disbursements," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 51-61, May.
  10. Gilbert,Christopher L. & Vines,David (ed.), 2006. "The World Bank," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521029018, April.
  11. Oya Celasun & Jan Walliser, 2008. "Predictability of aid: Do fickle donors undermine aid effectiveness?," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 23, pages 545-594, 07.
  12. Dreher, Axel & Sturm, Jan-Egbert & Vreeland, James Raymond, 2009. "Development aid and international politics: Does membership on the UN Security Council influence World Bank decisions?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 1-18, January.
  13. Domenico Lombardi, 2008. "The governance of the World Bank: Lessons from the corporate sector," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 287-323, September.
  14. Christopher Kilby, 2009. "Donor influence in international financial institutions: Deciphering what alignment measures measure," Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series 8, Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics.
  15. Dreher, Axel & Sturm, Jan-Egbert & Vreeland, James Raymond, 2009. "Global horse trading: IMF loans for votes in the United Nations Security Council," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 742-757, October.
  16. Christopher Kilby, 2006. "Donor influence in multilateral development banks: The case of the Asian Development Bank," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 173-195, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Arthur Foch, 2013. "Explaining the G7 and G10's influence on World Bank decisions: The role of formal and informal rules of governance," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 13035, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  2. Christopher Kilby, 2011. "The Political Economy of Project Preparation: An Empirical Analysis of World Bank Projects," Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series 14, Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics.
  3. Axel Dreher & Matthew Gould & Matthew Rablen & James Raymond Vreeland, 2012. "The Determinants of Election to the United Nations Security Council," CESifo Working Paper Series 3902, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Christopher Kilby, 2012. "Assessing the contribution of donor agencies to aid effectiveness: The impact of World Bank preparation on project outcomes," Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series 20, Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics.
  5. Axel Dreher & Andreas Fuchs, 2011. "Rogue Aid? The Determinants of China’s Aid Allocation," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 93, Courant Research Centre PEG, revised 29 Feb 2012.
  6. Hernandez, Diego, 2013. "Does Inclusion Guarantee Institutional Autonomy? The Case of the Inter-American Development Bank," Working Papers 0541, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  7. Elizabeth Bland & Christopher Kilby, 2012. "Informal influence in the Inter-American Development Bank," Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series 22, Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics.
  8. Breßlein, Martin & Schmaljohann, Maya, 2013. "Surrender your market! Do the G5 countries use World Bank Trade Conditionality to promote Trade?," Working Papers 0550, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  9. Arthur Foch, 2013. "Explaining the G7 and G10's influence on World Bank decisions: The role of formal and informal rules of governance," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00824678, HAL.
  10. Christopher Kilby, 2010. "Informal influence in the Asian Development Bank," Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series 13, Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics.
  11. Arthur Foch, 2013. "Déterminants et perspectives de la privatisation des infrastructures à Djibouti : Leçons tirées de trois études de cas," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 13036, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.

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