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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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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/668278
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/668278
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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. Thomas Barnebeck Andersen & Henrik Hansen & Thomas Markussen, 2006. "US politics and World Bank IDA-lending," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(5), pages 772-794.
  2. Thomas Barnebeck Andersen & Thomas Harr & Finn Tarp, 2004. "On US politics and IMF Lending," Discussion Papers 04-11, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  3. 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.
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  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Fleck, Robert K. & Kilby, Christopher & Fleck, Robert K., 2001. "World Bank Independence: A Model and Statistical Analysis of U.S. Influence," Vassar College Department of Economics Working Paper Series 53, Vassar College Department of Economics.
  13. 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.
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  16. 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.
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