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Views from the Center

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IMF Leadership Selection Survey: Early Results at Odds with European Rush

Early results from our global opinion survey on the selection system, criteria and candidates for the new head of the IMF are now available. If you haven’t yet taken the survey and do so now, you will get access to the results as of yesterday. Not surprisingly, there is overwhelming agreement that the selection system should be open, competitive and merit-based, without regard to nationality (more on that below).

IMF Leader Selection: It’s the Process, Stupid

This post also appeared on the Huffington Post.

A Bretton Woods project statement issued on April 6 was prescient indeed:

The MD must be, and must be seen to be wholly independent of any national or regional interest. This is particularly important when the home state is a powerful member of the IMF. In practical terms therefore, recent or sitting ministers should be ruled out.

Who’s that? The candidate now supported by France and the UK: Christine Lagarde is, of course, a sitting minister of a powerful member country.

Economic Reform and Growth in Middle East: Obama on the EBRD and Other Smart Proposals

This is a joint post with Lawrence MacDonald.

Even an avid consumer of the news and commentary on Obama’s speech on the Middle East yesterday could easily miss his proposals for supporting job-creating economic growth and development in the region. But long after we have forgotten the media bluster over a possible shift (or not!) in U.S. policy towards Israel and Palestine, the president’s seemingly modest suggestions on development just might be making a difference.

The one that intrigues me most involves putting the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to work in the Middle East and North Africa.

What WOULD It Take for the US and Europe to Give Up Control of World Bank and IMF Leadership?

This is a joint post with David Roodman.

The Dominique Strauss-Kahn debacle has unexpectedly forced the first leadership turnover at a Bretton Woods institution since the global financial crisis—the first leadership transition in what we might call the G-20 world. The tacit deal that has long put an American atop the World Bank and a European in charge of the IMF, rooted in the geopolitics of the 1940s, looks more archaic than ever. That’s why this time around, the calls have grown even louder to make the leadership selection process of the World Bank and IMF open, transparent, and meritocratic. Owen Barder suggests on his widely read blog that transparency and merit are key to maintain the reputation and relevancy of these international institutions, and Nancy Birdsall agrees that the decision needs to be based on merit, not nationality. The Financial Times and others news media say that it is time for everyone to acknowledge that we are in the 21st century with several emerging powers that must have a larger role in the Bank, the Fund and other multilateral organizations. One of us (Vij) has made this argument too, constructing a model of global governance that factors in GDP and population as of 2011, not 1941.

United States Should Boost Trade with Poorest Countries

The United States could help developing countries by opening its trade with poorest countries.

WASHINGTON — With a complex and difficult situation grinding on in Libya, the uprising in Syria, war in Afghanistan and fresh uncertainty about U.S. assistance to Pakistan, many Americans feel beleaguered about international involvement.

At the same time, they recognize that the U.S. cannot disengage from a globalized world. If only there were a simple, low-cost way for the United States to intervene for good in the world.