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Favors for Votes: The Political Economy of the United Nations Security Council

Wednesday May 20, 2009, at 14:00
Aula 4 - IBEI
Research seminar
James Raymond Vreeland (Georgetown University)
For decades, scholars have debated whether international organizations are imbued with independent power or whether they are mere reflections of their powerful members. What has received less attention, however, are the informal relationships that exist across international bodies and the ways in which governments exercise their influence in one body to gain leverage over another. We find a robust relationship between serving on the United Nations Security Council and participation in the programs of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. We argue that the reason for this relationship is that the major shareholders of these financial institutions care about how countries vote on the Security Council, and some developing countries are willing to trade their votes for loans.