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Donor Influence in Multilateral Development Banks: The Case of the Asian Development Bank, by Christopher Kilby (August 2005; Revised January 2006)

This paper explores the influence of Japan and the United States over the geographic distribution of Asian Development Bank (ADB) funds. Although nominally an independent, multilateral organization, the ADB is widely regarded as bowing to the interests of its two most influential donors. Estimation using panel data for less developed Asian countries from 1968 to 2002 suggests significant donor influence with inconsistent weight placed on humanitarian criteria given limited funding for the region’s largest countries, China and India. Comparing the results with research on World Bank loan allocation suggests donor interests are relatively more important in the ADB. This finding justifies the existence of the ADB on political grounds but calls into question its relative merits on economic grounds.

Keywords: Asian Development Bank, Japan, United States, governance, independence, aid allocation JEL codes: F35, O19

Published: The Review of International Organization, June 2006, 1(2).

Working Paper (102 K, PDF)