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Power structures and regional development banks


  • Krasner, Stephen D.


This paper examines the experience of developing countries in the three major regional financial institutions, the Inter-American, Asian, and African Development Banks. In the Inter-American Development Bank, members from developing countries have secured both influence and resources; in the Asian Development Bank they have secured resources but little influence; in the African Development Bank they have influence but limited resources. This variation can be explained by the different issue area power structures within which the banks function. The Inter-American Development Bank has functioned within a hegemonic structure. The dominant power, the United States, pursued long-term political objectives and accepted considerable autonomy for developing countries within the Bank. The Asian Development Bank has functioned within a bipolar structure with Japan playing an increasingly important role. As a normal power, Japan has pursued tangible economic interests and has constrained the behavior of the Asian Development Bank. Until the late 1970s the African Development Bank functioned in a multipolar structure that largely excluded nonregional countries. This exclusion made it impossible to generate substantial resources. Experience in the regional development banks suggests that a hegemonic structure can offer weaker states both resources and influence provided that the milieu goals of the dominant power are not violated.

Suggested Citation

  • Krasner, Stephen D., 1981. "Power structures and regional development banks," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(02), pages 303-328, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:35:y:1981:i:02:p:303-328_03

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    Cited by:

    1. 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, May.
    2. Christopher Kilby, 2011. "Informal influence in the Asian Development Bank," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 223-257, September.
    3. Michaelowa, Katharina & Humphrey, Chris, 2011. "The Business of Development: Trends in Lending by Multilateral Development Banks to Latin America, 1980-2009," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 57, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    4. 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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