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EU Representation at the IMF – A Voting Power Analysis

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Abstract

To analyze the consequences of a hypothetical consolidated EU representation at the IMF, we regroup the 27 EU Member States into a euro area EU constituency and a non-euro area EU constituency (based on the IMF’s new quota formula) and calculate voting power measures as proposed by Penrose-Banzhaf (PBI) and Shapley-Shubik (SSI). For theoretical reasons and reasons of empirical plausibility, we favor the results based on the SSI. Concerning the Executive Board, our results confirm the PBI-based evidence in the literature, as we find that the two large constituencies (U.S.A and euro area) would have more voting power than their voting shares indicate. Above majority thresholds of 67%, the PBI and SSI results become increasingly divergent, with the difference being most pronounced at the majority threshold of 85%, at which the PBI has already plunged dramatically whereas the SSI remains more or less constant. Concerning the Board of Governors, we find that voting power depends on both EU-related decision rules and the power measure used. If decision-making within the group is based on EU Council votes, smaller EU Member States tend to gain voting power and would hence have an incentive to push EU consolidation. By contrast, most of the larger EU Member States tend to lose voting power and might consequently be inclined to retain the status quo. However, above all by bundling individual euro area concerns, a consolidated euro area representation would act as a booster for the euro area as a whole.

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