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Reforming IMF and World Bank governance : in search of simplicity, transparency and democratic legitimacy in the voting rules

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  • Leech, Dennis

    (University of Warwick)

  • Leech, Robert

    (Imperial College London)

Abstract

We discuss the reform of the voting rules at the heart of the governance of the IMF and World Bank (the BWIs) in terms of three principles that we suggest ought to be fundamental: simplicity, transparency and democratic legitimacy. By simplicity we mean that the rules should make sense in terms of the purposes of the BWI and be easy to understand. By transparency we mean that the rules mean what they appear to mean in the sense of leading to the same distribution of voting power as the institution's designers intended. We show using voting power analysis that the inequality in the distribution of voting power among countries is greater than that of their voting weight. By democratic legitimacy, we consider whether we can reconcile weighted voting with democracy. Our conclusion is that the voting rules as they currently exist are far from satisfying any of these criteria and that recent reform proposals do not lead us to change this conclusion.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 914.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:914

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References

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  1. Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, 2004. "A Single EU Seat in the IMF?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 229-248, 06.
  2. Leech, Dennis, 2002. " Designing the Voting System for the Council of the European Union," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(3-4), pages 437-64, December.
  3. Leech, D., 2000. "Members' Voting Power in the Governance of the International Monetary Fund," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 583, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  4. Leech, Dennis & Leech, Robert, 2004. "Voting Power in the Bretton Woods Institutions," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 718, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  5. Moshé Machover & Dan S. Felsenthal, 2001. "The Treaty of Nice and qualified majority voting," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 431-464.
  6. Gilbert,Christopher L. & Vines,David (ed.), 2006. "The World Bank," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521029018, October.
  7. Leech, Dennis & Aziz, Haris, 2007. "The Double Majority Voting Rule of the EU Reform Treaty as a Democratic Ideal for an Enlarging Union : an Appraisal Using Voting Power Analysis," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 824, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  8. Dan S Felsenthal & Moshé Machover, 2004. "Analysis of QM rules in the draft constitution for Europe proposed by the European Convention, 2003," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 1-20, 08.
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