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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.

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.

Picking a New IMF Chief: Place Your Bets!

The great thing about opinion polls in a democracy is that they tell you both who should become, for example, President of the United States, and who likely will become President. "Is" and "ought" are conveniently aligned when the majority rules. The IMF is not a democracy, and the majority of the world's population has historically had no real say in choosing the Managing Director; since 1946 all ten IMF chiefs have hailed from Europe.

A Quick Guide to the Upcoming Contest for the Next MD of the IMF

This is a joint post with Nicolas Véron that first appeared on the Peterson Institute's Real Time Economic Issues Watch.

This note provides a quick guide—in the form of a table—to the likely candidates to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as next Managing Director (MD) of the IMF, assuming that he resigns shortly. It also highlights some key points that must guide the process of selecting the next MD.

Need for urgent action. The IMF is at a critical juncture with lots of problems to solve, not least in Europe. A leadership vacuum and uncertainty must be avoided, which requires urgent initiatives by the larger players—the United States, Europe, China, Brazil, India, South Africa and others.

Appointing the Next Managing Director of the IMF

Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been accused of a horrible crime.  Like everyone else he is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

We may, however, soon find ourselves looking for a new Managing Director of the IMF, either because DSK is involved in a legal case or because he has declared himself a candidate to be President of the French Republic.

A Conference Call with CFR: What Students Are Asking

Today with Francis Fukuyama, I participated in a Council on Foreign Relations “Academic Conference Call” (listen here) with undergraduate and graduate students from over 40 universities.  We answered questions about our March/April Foreign Affairs article, The Post-Washington Consensus: Development after the Crisis.  (The article is based on a book due out any day now from Johns Hopkins University Press:  New Ideas on Develop

G-20 Member Argentina Is Failing Basic Data Transparency Test on Inflation—And Where’s the IMF on It?

Bad news from Argentina:  The government has been tampering with inflation statistics for several years (publishing official rate as 8 percent compared to independent estimates greater than 20 percent).  Now it is imposing big fines ($100,000) on private consulting firms and individuals producing private estimates.  And where is the IMF on this issue?  In deference to its member Argentina it publishes the official estimate with a footnote suggesting private estimates are much greater.  More background (in Spanish) can be found

On Sudan Debt: Devil Is in the Details

This is a joint post with Wren Elhai.

What everyone was expecting is now official. On July 9th, South Sudan will become the world’s newest country. But while the date is certain, there are still plenty of details to be worked out. There is no deal as of yet on sharing Sudan’s oil wealth, or on its nearly $40 billion in external debt. Successful resolution of the debt issue acceptable to both north and south and the international community is crucial to the success of the new nation and to avoiding a resumption of the long and bloody civil war.

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