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Who Runs the IFIs?

  • Faini, Riccardo
  • Grilli, Enzo

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund play a key role in the international economic architecture. Yet, they are also ‘political’ institutions and their activities inevitably respond to the national interest of one or a group of shareholders. Assessing the role of ‘influential’ shareholders is, however, made difficult by the fact that votes in the Boards of either institution are rarely recorded and at any rate are not made public. We take a different route and look at the pattern of lending of both institutions as a function of their institutional mission and the commercial and financial interests of their main shareholders. We find that the Bank and especially the Fund are quick to respond to the borrowing needs of their members, particularly during a balance of payments crisis. Apart from that, however, the lending pattern of the two institutions is influenced by the commercial and the financial interests of the US and, to a lesser extent, of the EU. European countries in particular seem to be much more concerned by their commercial interests. The role of Japan is even smaller and more regional, being largely confined to decisions concerning Asia.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4666.

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Date of creation: Oct 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4666
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  1. Rodrik, Dani, 1995. "Why is there Multilateral Lending?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1207, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Fischer, Stanley, 1999. "Reforming the International Financial System," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(459), pages F557-76, November.
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