World Development Report

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The World Bank’s World Development Report, published annually since 1978, is an invaluable guide to the economic, social, and environmental state of the world today. Each report provides in-depth analysis and policy recommendations on a specific and important aspect of development—from agriculture, the role of the state, transition economies, and labor to infrastructure, health, the environment, and poverty. Through the quality and timeliness of the information it provides, the report has become a highly influential publication that is used by many multilateral and bilateral international organizations, national governments, scholars, civil society networks and groups, and other global thought leaders to support their decision-making processes. This corporate flagship undergoes extensive internal and external review and is one of the key outputs of the World Bank's Development Economics unit.

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Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
  • Publication
    Development Economics through the Decades: A Critical Look at 30 Years of the World Development Report
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2009) Yusuf, Shahid; Dervis, Kemal; Easterly, William; Ito, Takatoshi; Stiglitz, Joseph E.
    The World Development Report (WDR) has become such a fixture that it is easy to forget the circumstances under which it was born and the Bank's motivation for producing such a report at that time. In the first chapter of this essay, the authors provide a brief background on the circumstances of newly independent developing countries and summarize some of the main strands of the emerging field of development economics. This backdrop to the genesis of the WDR accounts for the orientation of the earlier reports. The thinking on development in the 1960s and 1970s also provides a baseline from which to view the evolution that has occurred since. From the coverage in the second chapter, the authors isolate a number of key issues common to several or all of the WDRs, and the author examine these issues individually at greater length in third chapter. The discussion in third chapter, which builds on the material in the WDRs, presents some views about how far development thinking and, relatedly, policy making have advanced relative to 30 years ago. It asks whether promoting growth, building institutions, tackling inequality and poverty, making aid effective, and defining the role of the state have been rendered more tractable policy wise by the knowledge encapsulated in the WDRs. Chapter four looks ahead and points to some of the big challenges that the Bank might explore through future WDRs and the value it can add through the knowledge acquired from its cross-country operations and research.
  • Publication
    World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development
    (Washington, DC, 2007) World Bank
    The world's demand for food is expected to double within the next 50 years, while the natural resources that sustain agriculture will become increasingly scarce, degraded, and vulnerable to the effects of climate change. In many poor countries, agriculture accounts for at least 40 percent of GDP and 80 percent of employment. At the same time, about 70 percent of the world's poor live in rural areas and most depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. World Development Report 2008 seeks to assess where, when, and how agriculture can be an effective instrument for economic development, especially development that favors the poor. It examines several broad questions: How has agriculture changed in developing countries in the past 20 years? What are the important new challenges and opportunities for agriculture? Which new sources of agricultural growth can be captured cost effectively in particular in poor countries with large agricultural sectors as in Africa? How can agricultural growth be made more effective for poverty reduction? How can governments facilitate the transition of large populations out of agriculture, without simply transferring the burden of rural poverty to urban areas? How can the natural resource endowment for agriculture be protected? How can agriculture's negative environmental effects be contained? This year's report marks the 30th year the World Bank has been publishing the World Development Report.
  • Publication
    World Development Report 1990: Poverty
    (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990) World Bank
    This report is the thirteenth in the annual series addressing major development issues. This report is about the poor. It is thus about the fundamental issue in economic development : the eradication of poverty from the world. The report defines poverty in broad terms, to include literacy, nutrition, and health, as well as income. The evidence suggests that rapid and politically sustainable progress on poverty has been achieved by pursuing a strategy with two equally important elements. The first is to promote the efficient use of the poor's most abundant asset : labor. It calls for policies that harness market incentives, social and political institutions, infrastructure and technology. The second element is the provision of basic social services to the poor (e.g. primary health care, family planning, nutrition, and primary education). The report concludes that eliminating poverty altogether is not a realistic goal for the 1990s, but that reducing it greatly is entirely possible. Using plausible assumptions about the global economic environment, and with some policy improvements, the report projects a fall of one third in the number of people in poverty by the year 2000.
  • Publication
    World Development Report 1980
    (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980) World Bank
    Developing countries start the decade facing two major challenges: to continue the social and economic progress of the past 30 years in an international climate that looks less helpful; and to tackle the plight of the 800 million people living in absolute poverty, who have benefitted too little from past progress. This report examines some of the difficulties and prospects in both areas. One of its central themes is the importance of people in development. The first part of the report addresses the expected sluggish world economic growth as oil-importing countries reduce their current account deficits and adapt to higher energy costs. Domestic policies of developing countries will be crucial, and the fate of poor people in these countries will be decided largely by domestic opportunities and policies. The second part of the report describes the role of human development programs (in education, health, nutrition, and fertility reduction) and their related effects on productivity and population growth.
  • Publication
    World Development Report 1979
    (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979) World Bank
    Structural transformation is particularly important for middle income countries. In dealing with the appropriate policies to be associated with structural changes, this report analyzes the processes of industrialization, urbanization, and the sectoral deployment of labor. The challenges identified, analyzed, and presented for consideration are: (i) creation of job opportunities for an additional half billion people that will join the labor force in the developing countries by 2000; (ii) accommodation of an additional one billion people in the same time perspective in the urban areas of the developing countries in socially acceptable and economically productive conditions; (iii) creation of an international trade environment that is supportive of the development efforts; and (iv) significant steps to the elimination of absolute poverty.
  • Publication
    World Development Report 1978
    (Washington, DC, 1978) World Bank
    This first report deals with some of the major development issues confronting the developing countries and explores the relationship of the major trends in the international economy to them. It is designed to help clarify some of the linkages between the international economy and domestic strategies in the developing countries against the background of growing interdependence and increasing complexity in the world economy. It assesses the prospects for progress in accelerating growth and alleviating poverty, and identifies some of the major policy issues which will affect these prospects.