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Who runs the IFIs?


  • Riccardo Faini

    (University of Rome Tor Vergata and CEPR, London)

  • Enzo Grilli

    (Johns Hopkins University-SAIS, Washington D.C.)


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 institutions 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 seems 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Riccardo Faini & Enzo Grilli, 2004. "Who runs the IFIs?," Development Working Papers 191, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:csl:devewp:191

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fischer, Stanley, 1999. "Reforming the International Financial System," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(459), pages 557-576, November.
    2. Rodrik, Dani, 1995. "Why is there Multilateral Lending?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1207, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Axel Dreher & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2006. "Do IMF and World Bank Influence Voting in the UN General Assembly?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1724, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Axel Dreher & Silvia Marchesi & James Vreeland, 2008. "The political economy of IMF forecasts," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 145-171, October.
    3. Axel Dreher & James Raymond Vreeland, 2011. "Buying Votes and International Organizations," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 78, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    4. Alan Ahearne & Jean Pisani-Ferry & Andre Sapir & Nicolas Veron, 2008. "The EU and the governance of globalisation," International Journal of Public Policy, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 3(1/2), pages 118-139.
    5. 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.
    6. Matteo Bobba & Andrew Powell, 2006. "Multilateral Intermediation of Foreign Aid: What is the Trade-Off for Donor Countries?," Research Department Publications 4500, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    7. Matteo Bobba & Andrew Powell, 2006. "Mediación multilateral de la ayuda extranjera," Research Department Publications 4501, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    8. Paolo Pinotti & Riccardo Settimo, 2011. "Does aid buy votes?," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 101, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    9. Axel Dreher & Silvia Marchesi & James Raymond Vreeland, 2007. "The Politics of IMF Forecasts," KOF Working papers 07-176, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems


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