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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

This Time Really Is Different (Is the Money There for Europe and the Rest of the World?)

This is a joint post with Amar Bhattacharya of the G-24

It is more obvious every day that Europe cannot save itself. A meltdown in Europe would not only hurt Europe and the United States. It would also deal a blow to people’s livelihoods everywhere, with high costs especially to people living close to the margin in the developing world. The blow would hurt right away as trade, remittances and commodity prices collapse. And it would continue to hurt over the next two years and more, requiring a long slow slog of the United States and Europe out of stagnation, recession or worse, and knock-on effects in China, Brazil and other big emerging markets that until recently were powering global demand.

IMF Leadership: OK for Now, but Fixing the Process Shouldn’t Wait

Christine Lagarde is now firmly in place at the IMF, and her competence, political savvy, and good humor bode well for the institution and the global economy.  Indeed, with the crisis in the eurozone upon us, the results of CGD’s spring survey on how a managing director should be chosen at the IMF may feel behind the moment if not the times—but anyone with five minutes to spare should take a look at David Wheeler’s analysis of the results.

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.

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

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