IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Voting Power in the Bretton Woods Institutions

  • Leech, Dennis

    (Warwick University)

  • Leech, Robert

    (Birkbeck, London University)

The constitutions of the Bretton Woods Institutions require decisions to be taken by weighted voting: each member country possesses a number of votes, depending on its quota allocation, all of which must always be cast as a bloc. This leads to a problem of democratic legitimacy since a member’s influence or voting power within such decision-making systems does not necessarily correspond to its voting weight. In previous work it has been shown that the present system of weighted voting in the IMF gives disproportionate influence to the USA at the expense of all other members. This effect occurs in both the board of governors and the executive board. This paper looks at the power implications of the structure of the IMF and World Bank executive boards (in which members are grouped into constituencies that cast their combined weighted votes as a bloc) from the point of view of formal voting power (using the Penrose power index). A criticism that is frequently made is that the present constituency structure and voting weights work to enhance the power of the developed and creditor countries at the expense of the poor, and that many countries are effectively impotent; we show that the weighted voting system adds to this anti-democratic bias and produces some unintended effects (for example the disfranchisement of Estonia in the Nordic/Baltic constituency and of five Central American republics in the Spanish/ Mexican/Venezuelan constituency, even though in neither case is there a dictator ). We argue generally that the voting power approach is more than just the calculation of power indices and can in fact produce solid facts by identifying cases where members of weighted voting bodies are actually disfranchised.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2008/twerp718.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 718.

as
in new window

Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:718
Contact details of provider: Postal: CV4 7AL COVENTRY
Phone: +44 (0) 2476 523202
Fax: +44 (0) 2476 523032
Web page: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Dan S. Felsenthal & Moshé Machover, 1998. "The Measurement of Voting Power," Books, Edward Elgar, number 1489.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:718. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Helen Neal)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.