Analysts regarding the World Bank as either a tool of great powers or as an autonomous bureaucracy suggest that borrower governments cannot influence the policy conditions attached to its loans. Yet examples of borrowers affecting the content of loan conditions do exist. A more systematic appreciation of when borrower governments acquire such influence can be developed by treating interactions between the World Bank and borrower member governments as occurring within an authority relationship linking the World Bank as leader with borrowers as followers operating within a set of shared expectations defining goals and how cooperating will help attain them. Borrowers can acquire influence at particular moments by pushing back against instructions they dislike, putting the World Bank in a position where its own need to maintain lending moves it towards modifying the conditions attached to particular loans. They can also gain influence whenever widespread perceptions of a need to revise the shared expectations of the authority relationship exist because successful revision requires co-creation by authority holder and addressees for the authority relation to persist.
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