IMF Center Economic Forum

Reforming the IMF: Governance and the Executive Board

Friday, November 4, 2005; 2:00-3:30 p.m.
Meeting Hall B (Visitors enter via IMF Center)
720 19th Street NW, Washington, DC

Please RSVP to: or (202) 623-7001 if you plan to attend. See Security Arrangements for information

Transcript of the Economic Forum

Roundtable discussion on IMF governance and the role of the Executive Board

The IMF governing structure was designed sixty years ago. Is it still appropriate as the institution faces the challenges of the 21st century? The forum will explore the key role of the Executive Board in the IMF governing structure and options for reform.

Seats and voting shares in the Executive Board are assigned through a quota system which is increasingly being questioned. How can the quota system be reformed to ensure fair representation to all member states and guarantee to the IMF the legitimacy that is essential for its effectiveness? Can country voices be properly heard in the Board when some Directors represent groups of countries while others represent individual countries? What is the optimal size of the Executive Board?

The Board currently exercises a close oversight of the IMF’s day-to-day business. But is this control excessive from the point of view of operational efficiency in the decision-making process, and does involvement of national capitals in decision making result in undue political interference that undercuts the global mandate of the IMF? What is the optimal delegation of responsibilities among the Executive Board, IMF management, and the staff? How independent should Directors be from the authorities of the countries they represent?

Panelists will freely express their own views on these complex issues.

Moderated by:

Jonathan Ostry, Senior Advisor in the IMF's Research Department, was previously head of the World Economic Studies division (which produces the Fund's semi-annual World Economic Outlook) and head of the Japan division in the IMF's Asia and Pacific Department. He holds a PhD from the University of Chicago, and graduate/undergraduate degrees from Oxford University, the London School of Economics, and Queen's University. He is the co-editor of a recent volume on "Japan's Lost Decade", and has authored a large number of articles and books in the field of open economy macroeconomics.


James Boughton is Historian of the International Monetary Fund and, since 2001, Assistant Director in the Policy Development and Review Department at the IMF. From 1981 until he was named Historian in 1992, he held various positions in the IMF Research Department.  Dr. Boughton holds a Ph.D. in economics from Duke University, and before joining the IMF staff, he was Professor of Economics at Indiana University and had served as an economist at the OECD in Paris. His latest book, Silent Revolution, on the history of the IMF from 1979 to 1989, was published in October 2001. He is currently working on a sequel.

Charles Calomiris is the Henry Kaufman Professor of Financial Institutions at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business and a Professor at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. He also serves as the Academic Director of the Chazen Institute of International Business, and of the Center for International Business Economics and Research, at Columbia. Professor Calomiris served on the International Financial Institution Advisory Commission, a Congressional commission to advise the U.S. government on the reform of the IMF, the World Bank, the regional development banks, and the WTO. He received a B.A. in economics from Yale University in 1979 and a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 1985.

Carlo Cottarelli (IMF) studied at the University of Siena and the London School of Economics. After working at the Research Department of the Bank of Italy, he joined the IMF in 1988. Since then he worked in the European Department, the Fiscal Affairs Department, the Monetary and Exchange Affairs Department (currently Monetary and Financial Systems Department) and is currently Deputy Director in the Policy Development and Review Department.

Lisa L. Martin is Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs in the Government Department at Harvard University.  She works in the areas of international political economy and international institutions.  Her most recent publications include International Institutions in the New Global Economy (2005), “The President and International Agreements: Treaties as Signaling Devices,” Presidential Studies Quarterly (September 2005), and “Distribution, Information, and Delegation to International Organizations: The Case of IMF Conditionality,” in Delegating Authority to International Institutions (2006).

Jong Nam Oh is an IMF Executive Director representing 14 countries which include Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Seychelles and 9 small Pacific island countries.  Mr. Oh also served in the Office of the President of the Republic of Korea as Secretary to the President for Economic Affairs in 1998, then Secretary to the President for Finance and Economy in 2001, when he earned the Yellow Ribbon Medal for Excellent Public Service.  He became the Commissioner of Korea’s National Statistical Office in 2002. He also served as Alternate Executive Director at the IMF from 1999-2001. Mr. Oh has published several books, the latest of which, Koreans, Your Future, has gained wide circulation among Koreans. He obtained his MBA and Ph.D. Economics degrees from the Southern Methodist University in Texas in 1982 and 1998, respectively.

Tom Scholar is the Executive Director for the United Kingdom at the IMF and World Bank.  He is also the Economic Minister for the British Embassy in Washington. He holds an MA in Economics from the London School of Economics and a BA in History from the University of Cambridge. Prior to his appointment as Executive Director in 2001, he worked at the H.M. Treasury as private secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Please note that due to enhanced security arrangements:

  1. An RSVP is required: or (202) 623 7001.
  2. A picture ID is required to enter the Fund. Persons and bags will be screened. Please arrive 15-20 minutes early to allow for possible delays in entering the building due to these additional measures.
  3. All visitors please enter through the IMF Center (via the white tent)  at 720 19th St. NW Washington, DC. Only IMF/World Bank Staff should use the main entrance at 700 19th St. NW.