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IMF quotas: Constructing an international organization using inferior building blocks

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  • Graham Bird

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  • Dane Rowlands

Abstract

The International Monetary Fund’s structure and rules are based on the quota system that was constructed when the Fund was set up in 1946. Quotas affect contributions and resource availability at the Fund, access to resources, the distribution of Special Drawing Rights, and voting rights. Despite periodic reviews and modifications, the quota system has gradually been eroded and undermined. The fundamental problem is that a single system is attempting to serve four separate and incompatible functions. We illustrate how this erosion has taken place, and how an unreformed quota system will compromise the future operations of the IMF and the international monetary and financial system. Although the difficulties associated with reforming quotas are myriad and complex, the legacy of an unreformed quota system may be profoundly undesirable. We argue that a refined IMF structure must accommodate a clearer separation of a member’s contributions to the IMF, its access to IMF resources, and its voting rights at the institution.
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Suggested Citation

  • Graham Bird & Dane Rowlands, 2006. "IMF quotas: Constructing an international organization using inferior building blocks," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 153-171, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:revint:v:1:y:2006:i:2:p:153-171
    DOI: 10.1007/s11558-006-8342-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Vijay Kelkar & Vikash Yadav & Praveen Chaudhry, 2004. "Reforming the Governance of the International Monetary Fund," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(5), pages 727-743, May.
    2. Graham Bird & Dane Rowlands, 2001. "Catalysis or Direct Borrowing: The Role of the IMF in Mobilising Private Capital," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(1), pages 81-98, January.
    3. Graham Bird & Dane Rowlands, 2002. "Do IMF Programmes Have a Catalytic Effect on Other International Capital Flows?," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(3), pages 229-249.
    4. Roland Vaubel, 1996. "Bureaucracy at the IMF and the World Bank: A Comparison of the Evidence," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(2), pages 195-210, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. ., 2016. "Introduction and overview: the purposes and operations of the IMF," Chapters,in: The International Monetary Fund, chapter 1, pages 1-18 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    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. Axel Dreher & Jan-Egbert Sturm & James Raymond Vreeland, 2006. "Does Membership on the UN Security Council Influence IMF Decisions? Evidence from Panel Data," CESifo Working Paper Series 1808, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. repec:eee:jcecon:v:45:y:2017:i:4:p:910-929 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Joseph Joyce & Raul Razo-Garcia, 2011. "Reserves, quotas and the demand for international liquidity," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 393-413, September.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Martín Gonzalez-Eiras, 2009. "Quotas and Voting Shares in the IMF: Theory and Evidence," Ensayos Económicos, Central Bank of Argentina, Economic Research Department, vol. 1(55), pages 57-91, July - Se.
    9. 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.
    10. Hernandez , Diego & Vadlamannati , Krishna Chaitanya, 2014. "Politics of Religiously Motivated Lending: An Empirical Analysis of Aid Allocation by the Islamic Development Bank," Working Papers 0570, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    IMF; Reform; Quota system;

    JEL classification:

    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission
    • H79 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Other
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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