Did Recent Voice Reforms Improve Good Governance within the World Bank?

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Development and Change





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Using the concept of good governance, this article assesses how voting rules in the World Bank Group's primary loan facility determine members’ ability to influence the formation of winning coalitions in the Executive Board. In weighted voting systems, the percentage of votes held by an actor does not adequately measure the ability of that actor to affect outcomes because voting weights do not account for either the possible number of coalitions that may form or the number of votes needed to pass a resolution. In short, weighted voting systems cannot be straightforwardly analysed with reference to voting weights but instead require the determination of relative voting power. Using multiple measures of a priori voting power, data are presented before and after recent voice reforms. Results indicate that the United States, as expected, holds the largest share of voting power. Also, as expected, most borrowing members have little voting power. Unexpectedly, in several voting groups a single member is able to ensure its election to the Board. Hence, other members of these voting groups have no formal influence on the Board. The article concludes by reflecting on the implications of voting power analysis for the concept of good governance within the World Bank.

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