Beyond Pro Liberal Conventional Wisdom that dominates the World Bank: Insights from Historical and Discursive Institutionalism

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UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
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UNU-CRIS Working Papers
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On 16 April 2012, the World Bank’s (the Bank) Board of Executive Directors approved the nomination of Dr Jim Yong Kim as the new president of the World Bank Group. It is not surprising that, as an American, Dr Kim was selected. After all, the US remains the dominant shareholder and the only country with de facto veto power. What actually made news was the background of Dr Jim as well as the process that led to his nomination’s approval. The new president of the Bank is a Korean born US citizen and Harvard trained physician who led efforts to combat aids while he was leader of the aids unit of the World Health Organization. So, importantly he comes with a new face and history to the Bank, at a time when demands have been made to see the increased relevance of emerging economies reflected in the Bank’s governance. Although Dr Kim is a US citizen, few doubt President Obama’s skill to use this appointment to signal to the world that the face of power, especially economic power, is now moving towards Asia. It is unclear at present whether or not the face of the Bank alters in complexity concerning its ability to pull and pool funds, as well as in the process of accepting the institution as a leader in development.