Does Power Politics Hinder International Public Performance? Competition between Power, Equality and Professionalism in Asian Development Bank

This research studies the competition between donors’ power, recipients’ power and staffs’ professionalism in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and how such competition influences development projects’ performance. The main focus is under what circumstances can ADB perform better.

Major ADB donors’ political interests were often observed and reflected along the process from policy formulation to implementation. Given international political concerns during the cold war era, U.S. government, the second largest donor of ADB, had excluded China and India from gaining access to the Asian Development Fund (ADF) and embargoed on the Bank’s lending to Vietnam. Such political manoeuvres exerted by major donors are criticized as hindrances to ADB’s performance and eventually detrimental to regional development. Should such claim to be true, the power structure of current ADB needs reform to put more emphasis on economic consideration and also replace donors’ political considerations with ADB staffs’ professionalism and expertise. The finding in this research can shed lights on whether ADB, as well as other international financial institutions, indeed needs reform on its decision-making structure.

Keyword: Asian Development Bank, International Organization, Performance, Power

Author: Ian Tsung-yen Chen

Status: Working paper

Full Text: Upon request