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Strengthening the Governance of the International Monetary Fund: How a Dual Board Structure Could Raise the Effectiveness and Legitimacy of a Key Global Institution

Thimann, Christian and Just, Christian and Ritter, Raymond (2009): Strengthening the Governance of the International Monetary Fund: How a Dual Board Structure Could Raise the Effectiveness and Legitimacy of a Key Global Institution. Published in: Global Governance , Vol. 15, No. 2 (April 2009): pp. 187-193.

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Abstract

After having been at the helm of the international monetary system for decades, the International Monetary Fund was sidelined in policy debates in the past few years. One reason for the IMF not having taken a more central role in addressing key global policy issues in recent years relates to its internal governance. This paper focuses specifically on the structure and functioning of the Executive Board. The paper argues that Executive Board, although uniquely placed to provide authoritative guidance to IMF member countries, exert peer pressure and give economic policy advice, is overwhelmed by its tasks and responsibilities and too large to be an effective forum for true international economic dialogue. The paper makes the point that the highly diverse tasks of the IMF require different governance structures in order to be implemented effectively. We believe that the optimal number of governing bodies for the ongoing IMF work is not one, but that it is two, duly distinguishing between multilateral matters from country-related matters. Specifically, we propose to split the tasks that are predominantly systemic in nature from those that are predominantly country-focused and technical and believe that this can be done. Two different Boards would be dealing with these issues: a Systemic Issues Board and a Country Issues Board. The paper also discusses how such a dual board structure could be implemented in practice.

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