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Protecting Power: How Western States Retain The Dominant Voice in The World Bank’s Governance


  • Vestergaard, Jakob
  • Wade, Robert H.


The global economic crisis raised the urgency of reforming the Bretton Woods organizations in order to get more “buy in” from developing countries. But the “voice” reforms announced in 2010, heralded as a major shift in favor of developing countries, left them severely under-represented relative to their weight in the world economy, both collectively and many individually. This paper reveals how the World Bank and representatives of western states manipulated the process to make voting power changes appear substantial. The paper then discusses alternative voting power systems for the Bank, in light of the generally accepted need to enhance the legitimacy of the organization.

Suggested Citation

  • Vestergaard, Jakob & Wade, Robert H., 2013. "Protecting Power: How Western States Retain The Dominant Voice in The World Bank’s Governance," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 153-164.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:46:y:2013:i:c:p:153-164
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2013.01.031

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Woods, Ngaire, 2000. "The Challenge of Good Governance for the IMF and the World Bank Themselves," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 823-841, May.
    2. David WOODWARD, 2007. "IMF Voting Reform: Need, Opportunity and Options," G-24 Discussion Papers 49, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    3. Phillips,David A., 2009. "Reforming the World Bank," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521883054, August.
    4. Jakob Vestergaard & Robert H. Wade, 2012. "Establishing a new Global Economic Council: governance reform at the G20, the IMF and the World Bank," Global Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 3(3), pages 257-269, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:glopol:v:8:y:2017:i:3:p:275-284 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. David P. Rapkin & Jonathan R. Strand & Michael W. Trevathan, 2016. "Representation and Governance in International Organizations," Politics and Governance, Cogitatio Press, vol. 4(3), pages 77-89.
    3. repec:zbw:espost:170752 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Yanguas, Pablo & Hulme, David, 2015. "Barriers to Political Analysis in Aid Bureaucracies: From Principle to Practice in DFID and the World Bank," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 209-219.
    5. repec:pal:develp:v:59:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1057_s41301-017-0072-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Strand, Jonathan R. & Zappile, Tina M., 2015. "Always Vote for Principle, Though You May Vote Alone: Explaining United States Political Support for Multilateral Development Loans," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 224-239.
    7. Jonathan R. Strand & Kenneth J. Retzl, 2016. "Did Recent Voice Reforms Improve Good Governance within the World Bank?," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 47(3), pages 415-445, May.


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