How to Modify the Mechanism for Setting Member State Quotas Within the International Monetary Fund
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Publication date: 2009-03-31
GNPJE 2009;230(3):89-113
The author proposes a series of changes that he says should be made to the rules for setting member state quotas and voting power in the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The paper opens with a description of the current mechanism for setting member state quotas and voting power. Under the current system, a member’s quota in the IMFdetermines the amount of its subscription, its voting weight, its access to IMF financing, and its allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). The United States has exclusive veto power. A member state cannot unilaterally increase its quota-increases must be approved by the Executive Board and are linked to formulas that include many variables such as the size of a country in the world economy. The author comes up with a proposal on how this mechanism could be modified. He provides an evaluation of how the suggested changes would impact the voting power of both developed and developing countries. On April 28, 2008, the IMF Board of Governors approved a reform of the institution’s governance. The reform was intended to modify the quota and voting share structure in order to enhance the participation and voice of emerging-market and developing countries, and realign members’ shares with their relative weight and role in the global economy. According to Jurek, while these modifications have increased the transparency of the process during which member country quotas are calculated, they have changed little when it comes to the voting power of developing and developed states. In particular, the new rules preserve the right of veto enjoyed by the United States, Jurek notes, a privilege that the U.S. has used on a number of occasions to block reforms designed to weaken its own position within the IMF.
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