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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. 

 

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