Representation in International Organizations: The IMF

39 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2010

See all articles by David P. Rapkin

David P. Rapkin

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - Department of Political Science

Jonathan R. Strand

University of Nevada, Las Vegas - Political Science

Date Written: August 29, 2010

Abstract

What does “representation” mean when applied to international organizations? This paper examines representation as a fundamental, if often neglected, aspect of democratic governance which, if perceived by enough members to be deficient or unfair, can interfere with the other components of good governance, as well as with performance of an organization’s core tasks. Using the case of the IMF, we examine how the concept can be applied an international organization. We posit that IMF decision making comprises a two-stage process. In the first stage members are assigned a quota, which drives their respective shares of votes. Descriptive representation best fits this stage. The second stage consists of decision-making in the Fund’s Executive Board, including the formation of constituencies in the Board and the consensual mode of decision making that is employed therein. Here, some form representation construed in principal-agent terms provides the most traction. We find that subjecting the IMF to this kind of conceptual scrutiny highlights important deficiencies in its representational practices.

Keywords: Representation, Governance, International Organizations, IMF, Decision-Rule, Voting

JEL Classification: F33, F53, F55, F59

Suggested Citation

Rapkin, David P. and Strand, Jonathan R., Representation in International Organizations: The IMF (August 29, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1667934 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1667934

David P. Rapkin

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - Department of Political Science ( email )

511 Oldfather Hall
P.O. Box 880328
Lincoln, NE 68588-0328
United States
(402) 472-5915 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nebraska.edu/4in1/index.aspx

Jonathan R. Strand (Contact Author)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas - Political Science ( email )

4505 S. Maryland Parkway Box 455029
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.unlv.edu/jstrand/

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