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Merry Sisterhood or Guarded Watchfulness? Cooperation Between the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank

By Michael Fabricius

Abstract

Since their inception at the end of the Second World War, the sister organizations of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have aimed to consistently speak with one voice vis-à-vis their member governments. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that they often do not speak in one voice. Fabricius draws on field research conducted in Ghana, Pakistan, Peru, and Vietnam to identify the conditions that determine whether or not the organizations are indeed on the same page and to address whether their traditional plea for consistency is always desirable. He recommends which measures seem crucial to ensure Bank-Fund consistency. At the same time he argues that under certain conditions, this consistency may lead to policy choices that are only second-best. He proposes that the Bank and the Fund pursue a case-specific approach in deciding whether they should take the same stance. A more flexible approach may increase not only the ownership of borrowing countries but also the sustainability of policy choices.World Bank, International Monetary Fund, cooperation, roles, Bretton Woods

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