The Belt and Road Initiative: The Cornerstone of the New-Fangled Financial Institutionalism Led by China

Open access

Abstract

The debate about the benefits and the risks brought both to People’s Republic of China and to the other participant countries by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been gaining momentum in the academic and in the political landscapes. We argue that the BRI is the main pillar of the new financial institutionalism proposed by China to redefine the current global financial architecture and that, consequently, the initiative needs to be considered in that context. This paper (i) reviews the timeline that led to this Chinese-led new financial institutionalism, (ii) proposes two theoretical frameworks to define the concept of multilateral financial statecraft and of new financial institutionalism led by China, and (iii) enumerates the main differences and similarities observed between this new financial institutionalism and the one dominated by the Bretton Woods-related institutions that gradually emerged after World War II, such as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Marshall Plan, and the Asian Development Bank.

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