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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

World Bank Is Viewed as Arrogant, Study Finds

WASHINGTON -- The World Bank spent $1 million to find out that global opinion leaders think it arrogant, too bureaucratic, not effective enough against corruption and too closely tied to the United States.

And although the opinion leaders surveyed in the World Bank-commissioned poll find the overall impact of the bank on their countries to be positive and improving, a majority in Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa find World Bank-mandated economic reforms do more harm than good.

Sixty Russian officials were interviewed by the ROMIR public opinion research agency last October and November as part of the study, which polled 2,600 people in 48 countries.

In Russia -- as in Indonesia, Mali and Yemen -- the majority believed globalization to be a bad thing. Globalization was overall considered a positive influence, with one in 10 opinion leaders in rich countries saying it has a negative impact compared with nearly three times that many in developing countries.

"Although many of those surveyed say the bank has become less arrogant in the last few years, many complain that the institution remains too bureaucratic and arrogant," a report summary said.

The study, carried out by Princeton Survey Research Associates, was released Thursday morning ahead of a board discussion of the results. The executive board had a discussion of the findings at a meeting Tuesday that became so acrimonious it lasted more than two hours, World Bank sources said.

The board members, who represent the country members of the fund, were angry the report would be released only two days after they had been shown it.

The study, paid for by the bank together with funds from the Swiss and Swedish governments, is part of a push by the bank to increase transparency.

"This survey shows that we are doing many things better than we were a few years ago but it also shows that we need to work harder in other areas of our work," World Bank President James Wolfensohn said.