China and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB): Chinese Influence Over Membership Shares?

Ayse Kaya, Byungwon Woo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Does China exert influence over the AIIB, including its share allocation, to pursue its interests as many skeptical eyes suggest? What explains the subscription shares a member state has at the AIIB? Building upon existing literature on American influence in international financial institutions, we propose a unique theoretical argument on these questions. While most of the extant literature focuses on the US dispensing patronage to politically-economically proximate states, we suggest that China may not be so inclined. Instead, we theorize that states that are a priori distant from China might obtain higher shares relative to their GDP at the AIIB. We reason that this outcome is due to the benefits China faces in attracting more distant states (the supply side) as well as the political costs more distant states face in joining the AIIB (the demand side). More distant states are likely to demand more shares given their higher costs of membership, and China is inclined to accommodate these demands both for institutional legitimacy and the potential benefit of attracting distant countries closer to itself. Our evidence—from multiple interviews with top policy-makers and statistical analysis—provides robust support for our theoretical arguments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalReview of International Organizations
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Byungwon Woo’s research was supported by the Yonsei University Research Fund of 2019-22-0017.

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge helpful comments from participants at the following conferences: Political Economy of International Organizations (2018), Pacific International Politics Conference (2019), and IDSS-KAIS Joint Conference (2019). Additionally, the authors acknowledge insightful comments from Christopher Kilby, Dan Honig, Songying Fang, Phillip Lipscy, James R. Vreeland, and thank Natalie Lichtenstein for an early conversation. Kaya is grateful to Bing Xin Tu for excellent research assistance. They are grateful to the reviewers and the editor.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


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