The United States Congress and IMF Financing,1944-2009
The Review of International Organizations 6, 3 (September, 2011): 341-368
28 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2013
Date Written: February 1, 2011
Since 1944, United States financing of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been appropriated and approved in Congress by roll-call vote. If voting to increase funds to the IMF is viewed as an observable signal of “support” for the IMF, these votes provide a historical record of legislative support for the IMF in the United States. I analyze roll-call voting on IMF financing from 1944 to 2009 at both the aggregate (congressional) and the micro (legislator) levels. At the aggregate level, I show that support for the IMF has fallen over time in the House of Representatives but not in the Senate. In the micro-analysis, I use a “natural experiment” to establish that this intercameral difference is the result of the Senate’s larger and more heterogeneous constituencies, as opposed to other modeled and unmodeled factors. I also find that legislator support for the IMF is shaped strongly by ideology: regardless of chamber, left-wing legislators are as much as 31 percentage points more likely to support the IMF than right-wing legislators. Yet controlling for ideology, senators are more likely to support the IMF than representatives, and representatives are more sensitive to constituency pressures than senators. I attribute these differences to chamber-specific rules governing the size of constituencies.
Keywords: International Monetary Fund, IMF, United States, Congress, Roll-call votes
JEL Classification: F30, F33, F34, F41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation