Who is Running the IMF: Critical Shareholders or the Staff?
The paper deals with the principal-agent relationship at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). We argue that residual control rights at the IMF are vested with the critical shareholders, the countries included in the G-7. This group controls vast financial resources and enjoys the highest regulatory and governance standards among IMF members. Imperfect incentives for monitoring and the complexity of the issues give staff and management a degree of autonomy. The evidence marshalled in the paper suggests that critical shareholders are in charge on those issues they care most about, leaving discretion to staff and management on peripheral issues.
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