University of Rochester

Behind the Scenes at the International Monetary Fund

March 21, 2011

Randall Stone Discusses New Book on International Organizations and the Global Economy March 22

How do international organizations make the rules that run the global economy?

On Tuesday, March 22, at 7:30 p.m. Randall Stone, director of the Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies and professor of political science at the University of Rochester, will take a look behind the scenes at the International Monetary Fund to reveal how powerful countries wield influence far beyond their formal voting power.

Drawing from the insights and research in his new book Controlling Institutions: International Organizations and the Global Economy (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Stone shows how international organizations are governed by two contradictory sets of rules: formal ones, based on voting and legal procedures, and informal processes, which allow the most powerful countries to exert additional influence behind closed doors when the stakes are high.

Stone compares the IMF, the World Trade Organization, and the European Union. He argues that international organizations balance the power and interests of the leading states and the member countries, and the tension between these interests explains many of the failings of the institutions.

Hailed as "rigorous" and "original" by reviewers, the book is a must read for "[a]nyone who wants to understand how international organizations really operate," writes Robert Keohane, professor of public and international affairs at Princeton University.

"Randall Stone explains, for the first time, the sources of America's informal influence over global governance," notes Miles Kahler, the Rohr Professor of Pacific International Relations at the University of California at San Diego.

Sponsored by the Skalny Center, the talk will be held in the Welles-Brown Room of Rush Rhees Library, followed by a reception and book signing. The event is free and open to the public.