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A New Analysis of A Priori Voting Power in the IMF: Recent Quota Reforms Give Little Cause for Celebration


  • Leech, Dennis

    (University of Warwick)

  • Leech, Robert

    (Imperial College, London)


The weighted voting system used by the International Monetary Fund creates problems of democratic legitimacy since each member's influence or voting power is not in general equal to its voting weight. Using voting power analysis to analyse both the Board of Governors and the Executive Board, we show that it tends to enhance the power of the United States at the expense of all other members. We investigate the constituency system as a form of representative democracy, idealizing it as a compound voting body, and find that it gives disproportionately large power to some smaller European countries, particularly Belgium and Netherlands. We also find that many countries are effectively disenfranchised. Separate analyses are done for 2006 and 2012, before and after recent reforms, which have been billed as being radical, enhancing the voice of the poor and emerging markets, but the effects are disappointingly small.

Suggested Citation

  • Leech, Dennis & Leech, Robert, 2012. "A New Analysis of A Priori Voting Power in the IMF: Recent Quota Reforms Give Little Cause for Celebration," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1001, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:1001

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dennis Leech & Robert Leech, 2006. "Voting power and voting blocs," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 285-303, June.
    2. Dennis Leech, 2003. "Computing Power Indices for Large Voting Games," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(6), pages 831-837, June.
    3. Dan S. Felsenthal & Moshé Machover, 1998. "The Measurement of Voting Power," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1489.
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