The two basic models of accountability can also lead to conflicting political judgments. For example, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank were created by governments, which delegated their powers to them, provide funding, and ensure creditworthiness. In their weighted voting systems, the major financial powers control the executive boards of these organizations. When senior officials of the World Bank, such as former chief economist Joseph Stiglitz, severely antagonize the United States Government, they are forced to resign.8 This is as it should be where the delegation model of accountability operates. Yet at the same time, the World Bank acknowledges the importance of “empowerment” of poor people in order to increase the “accountability and responsiveness” of public sectors to them (World Bank 2001: 9). The language of empowerment suggests a participatory model of accountability, the logic of which could easily be extended to imply more empowerment within the Bank itself for the people who are affected by its policies, whether they are represented through state leaders or NGO’s.
It is very clear that there is a tension between the concept of a World Bank that is accountable to poor people and one that is accountable to the United States Secretary of the Treasury. Similarly, the IMF might be considered accountable to those whose money it is lending to take only reasonable risks, which leads to a policy of requiring structural adjustments. But it is also called to account for the effects of those structural adjustments within the countries accepting the conditions of IMF loans. The actual patterns of accountability facing the IMF and the World Bank combine practices justified on the basis of both delegation and participation models.
8 Financial Times June 16, 2000. Stiglitz 2002.