The Review of International Organizations

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 255–279 | Cite as

The politics of contract allocation in the World Bank

  • Elena V. McLeanEmail author


Scholarship on informal politics in multilateral aid organizations investigates all stages of the allocation process - from project identification to aid disbursement and project evaluation. Yet, one area remains almost entirely overlooked in the literature - allocation of aid-financed contracts. This article aims to address the shortcoming of the existing research and develops a theory of contract allocation in a prominent multilateral aid organization – the World Bank. The theoretical argument explores the relationship between formal procurement arrangements and recipients’ control over contract allocation, and the role of this relationship in explaining patterns of contract allocation. My empirical analyses using data on the World Bank’s contracts provide evidence of recipients’ ability to allocate contracts in favor of domestic companies, as well as bilateral aid donors.


World Bank Multilateral aid Procurement 

JEL classifications

F35 F53 F55 F59 

Supplementary material

11558_2017_9272_MOESM1_ESM.dta (26.8 mb)
ESM 1 (DTA 27425 kb) (2 kb)
ESM 2 (DO 2 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity at Buffalo, SUNYBuffaloUSA

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