Institutional reform

Debate Moderator(s): 

This crisis has shown that global governance of international finance is not adapted to 21st century realities. How should the International Financial Institutions, such as the IMF and the Financial Stability Forum be reformed? More broadly, what are the best forms and forums for international cooperation? What role should the G20, G7 and other groups play in global economic governance?
This is one of six themes that make up Vox's Global Crisis Debate. In this initiative, partnered with the UK government to collect the views of economists from around the world on what we should do to fix the global economy. The analysis and proposals that appeared on Vox's "Global Crisis Debate" page fed directly into the UK's preparation for the summit of world leaders in London in April. This debate was featured on the UK government's own web site,

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Lead Commentaries

John Williamson , 24 March 2009

This column says that institutional reform is unique in that it could simultaneously address the short-run agenda of combating the collapse of aggregate demand and the long-run agenda of building a global economy fit for the 21st century. IMF reform has to be at the forefront of such an initiative.

Biagio Bossone , 14 March 2009

The crisis has revealed many gaps in global economic governance – problems that G20 leaders should address at the London Summit. This column describes a proposal by the “Group of Lecce”, which argues that global economic decision-making should take place within the IMF and World Bank transformed by more responsible, representative, and powerful “Governing Councils”.

Biagio Bossone , 18 February 2009

This column summarises the global crisis debate on institutional reforms to build global financial governance. While various authors disagree about the G20’s suitability and effectiveness, there is agreement that a number of IMF reforms are needed. Moreover, many call for the IMF to significantly increase its lending resources.

John Williamson , 14 February 2009

The IMF was created in part to help small economies deal with cyclical downturns. Yet few nations turn to the IMF except as a last resort. It sits hardly utilized in the face of the most severe shock the world has faced since the outbreak of WW I. This column argues that changing this unacceptable outcome requires two types of reforms.

Charles Wyplosz , 28 January 2009

A product of the confused reaction of politicians to the crisis, the G20 forum must prove its usefulness. Rather than striving to coordinate fiscal policy responses, leaders should use the G20 platform to strike common ground on long-term reforms to global financial regulation and supervision, starting by recapitalising the IMF and reforming its governance structures.

Edwin Truman , 28 January 2009

The G20 leaders meeting in London on April 2 should complete the unfinished business of IMF reform. These are essential not only to reinstate the legitimacy and relevance of the IMF but also to support restoration of economic growth and stability to the global financial system.

Luigi Spaventa , 28 January 2009

To fix the world financial system, the G20 needs to look at some bold institutional reforms. The column suggests an international financial stability charter backed up by an new institution that could either be ‘light’ with a slim secretariat, or more elaborate WTO-style organisation.