The World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank: Fit for 21st Century Purpose?

April 22, 2014


In this paper I discuss the ownership and financial structure and related governance arrangements, including leadership selection, of the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. I argue that the IDB, for various reasons, is farther along in making the shift from a model based on rich member countries financing charitable transfers to poor countries, to a model closer that of a financing cooperative, along the lines that the founders of the World Bank envisioned at Bretton Woods. It is also better positioned to increase its engagement in the Latin America and Caribbean region in critical cross-border regional issues, where modest amounts of grant-based public financing in the form of subsidies and guarantees have the potential to leverage substantial private investment.

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