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Does it take two to tango? Improving cooperation between the IMF and the World Bank: theory and empirical evidence

  • Silvia Marchesi
  • Laura Sabani


This paper analyzes the impact of different governance structures on the degree of Bank-Fund cooperation, focusing on the quality of their information transmission. It compares the performance of a decentralized governance with that of a centralized one. A centralized structure better addresses the necessity of coordinating policy actions, but greater consistency in policy actions will be achieved at the expenses of a less satisfactory adaptation to "local conditions." It is shown that when the need for coordination is relevant, a centralized governance allows to achieve a greater level of overall payoffs. In the real world the governance structure of the two institutions is certainly decentralized. A testable implication of the model would then be to see whether Bank-Fund's coordination is really important for their impact on recipient countries. The empirical evidence shows that a Bank-Fund simultaneous intervention is beneficial to growth and that such beneficial effect is increasing with the willingness to coordinate of the two organizations. This evidence would then be in favor of a (more) centralized governance.

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Paper provided by Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa in its series Working Papers - Economics with number wp2013_20.rdf.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:frz:wpaper:wp2013_20.rdf
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  1. Silvia Marchesi & Laura Sabani & Axel Dreher, 2009. "Read my lips: the role of information transmission in multilateral reform design," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 4, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  2. Michael A. Clemens & Steven Radelet & Rikhil R. Bhavnani & Samuel Bazzi, 2012. "Counting Chickens when they Hatch: Timing and the Effects of Aid on Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(561), pages 590-617, 06.
  3. Michael Fabricius, 2007. "Merry Sisterhood or Guarded Watchfulness? Cooperation Between the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank," Working Paper Series WP07-9, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  4. William Easterly, 2008. "Institutions: Top Down or Bottom Up?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 95-99, May.
  5. Robert J Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2003. "IMF Programs: Who Is Chosen and What Are the Effects?," Departmental Working Papers 2003-09, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  6. Christopher Kilby, 2011. "The Political Economy of Project Preparation: An Empirical Analysis of World Bank Projects," Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series 14, Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics.
  7. Dreher, Axel & Jensen, Nathan M, 2007. "Independent Actor or Agent? An Empirical Analysis of the Impact of U.S. Interests on International Monetary Fund Conditions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(1), pages 105-24, February.
  8. Avinash Dixit, 2009. "Governance Institutions and Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 5-24, March.
  9. Axel Dreher, 2004. "IMF and Economic Growth: The Effects of Programs, Loans, and Compliance with Conditionality," International Finance 0404004, EconWPA, revised 25 Apr 2004.
  10. Raghuram G. Rajan & Arvind Subramanian, 2005. "Aid and Growth: What Does the Cross-Country Evidence Really Show?," NBER Working Papers 11513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Christoph Moser & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2011. "Explaining IMF Lending Decisions after the Cold War," KOF Working papers 11-279, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  12. Michael Clemens & Steven Radelet & Rikhil Bhavnani, 2004. "Counting Chickens When They Hatch: The Short-term Effect of Aid on Growth," Working Papers 44, Center for Global Development.
  13. 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.
  14. Anne O. Krueger, 1998. "Whither the World Bank and the IMF?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1983-2020, December.
  15. Sivlai Marchesi & Emanuela Sirtori, 2010. "Is two better than one? Effects on growth of Bank-Fund interaction," Working Papers 189, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2010.
  16. World Bank, 2008. "World Development Indicators 2008," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11855, September.
  17. 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.
  18. Feinberg, Richard E., 1988. "The changing relationship between the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(03), pages 545-560, June.
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