Europe Wants to Keep IMF Top Job as Economic Clout Wanes: Chart of the Day

As European policy makers aim to keep their hold on the International Monetary Fund’s top job, changes to the fund’s voting power may support those who want to see the first non-European managing director.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows that China’s voting share at the Washington-based lender is falling further behind its relative economic size. The Asian nation currently has 3.8 percent of the fund’s votes, and about 13 percent of global economic output. The combined voting share of France, Germany and the U.K. is about 14 percent, with the three European countries responsible for about 10 percent of the world’s output.

Proposed changes at the IMF would see China’s voting share rise to 6.1 percent, while the combined U.K., German and French shares would fall to 13.4 percent.

The IMF has been led by a European since its founding in 1946 while the U.S. had the top job at the World Bank.

“Many people believe this convention that Europeans should head the fund and U.S. citizens should head the World Bank is an anachronism,” said Edwin Truman, a former U.S. Federal Reserve and Treasury official who is now a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Truman also rejected the argument that a European would be best to help the IMF handle that continent’s banking and sovereign-debt turmoil, saying “I don’t think the Europeans were saying during the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s that the IMF should be led by a Latin American.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Ilan Kolet in Ottawa at ikolet@bloomberg.net; Greg Quinn in Ottawa at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Tanzi at atanzi@bloomberg.net; Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net.

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