Donor Influence in MDBs: the Case of the Asian Development Bank
This paper explores the influence of Japan and the United States over the geographic distribution of Asian Development Bank (ADB) funds. Although nominally an independent, multilateral organization, the ADB is widely regarded as bowing to the interests of its two most influential donors. Estimation using panel data for less developed Asian countries from 1968 to 2002 reveals significant donor influence with inconsistent weight placed on humanitarian criteria given limited funding for the region’s largest countries, China and India. Comparing the results with research on World Bank loan allocation suggests donor interests are more important in the ADB. This finding justifies the existence of regional development banks on political grounds but calls into question their relative merits on economic grounds.
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