Democratizing the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank
Governance and Accountability - Working Paper #20
Much has been said about the failing policies of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In this essay, I attempt to explain why the IMF has pursued policies that in many cases not only failed to promote the stated objectives of enhancing growth and stability, but were probably counterproductive and even flew in the face of a considerable body of theoretical and empirical work that suggested these poilcies would be counterproductive. I argue that the root of the problem lies in the IMF's system of governance. Thereafter, I discuss how the World Bank managed to reform its agenda in order to fulfill its goals of poverty reduction more successfully, and what lessons this reform holds for the IMF. I conclude by proposing needed reforms for the IMF that might mitigate some of the problems it has encountered in the past.
About the Author
Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD)
Joseph E. Stiglitz is co-President of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, and Chairman of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. He is University Professor at Columbia, teaching in its Economics Department, its Business School, and its School of International and Public Affairs. He chaired the UN Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System, created in the aftermath of the financial crisis by the President of the General Assembly. He is former Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank and Chairman of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2001.