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Behind the Development BanksWashington Politics, World Poverty, and the Wealth of Nations$
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Sarah Babb

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226033648

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226033679.001.0001

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The Banks and Their Shareholders

The Banks and Their Shareholders

(p.20) Chapter One The Banks and Their Shareholders
Behind the Development Banks
University of Chicago Press

This chapter summarizes the multilateral development banks' histories, governance, and financing, before arguing that the banks can be usefully conceptualized as resource-dependent organizations that serve an ambiguous array of purposes for donor governments. The United States is able to exert strong leadership of the banks. As the banks' leading and most ambivalent donor, the United States has often been able to function as an activist shareholder. Moreover, the division between management and the Executive Board, and the division on the Executive Board between major shareholder and borrowing governments are elaborated. The MDBs' management of external resource dependence resembles that of private corporations in a number of respects. The United States is uniquely positioned among major donors to behave as an activist shareholder. U.S. support for the banks is more insecure, a fact that improves American leadership.

Keywords:   histories, governance, financing, United States, donor governments, activist shareholders, Executive Board, American leadership

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