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An Empirical Assessment of Informal Influence in the World Bank

  • Christopher Kilby

Recent scholarship has uncovered convincing evidence of systematic donor influence in international financial institutions such as the World Bank. Less clear is how donors influence international financial institutions' 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 article 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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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Volume (Year): 61 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 431 - 464

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/668278
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  1. Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck & Harr, Thomas & Tarp, Finn, 2006. "On US politics and IMF lending," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1843-1862, October.
  2. 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.
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  7. Axel Dreher & Jan-Egbert Sturm & James Raymond Vreeland, 2007. "Development Aid and International Politics: Does membership on the UN Security Council influence World Bank decisions?," KOF Working papers 07-171, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  8. 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.
  9. Axel Dreher & Nathan Jensen, 2003. "Independent Actor or Agent? An Empirical Analysis of the impact of US interests on IMF Conditions," International Finance 0310004, EconWPA, revised 08 Jan 2004.
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  11. Aleš Bulíř & A Javier Hamann, 2007. "Volatility of Development Aid: An Update," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 54(4), pages 727-739, November.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
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