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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World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security, and Development

2011, World Bank

The 2011 World development report looks across disciplines and experiences drawn from around the world to offer some ideas and practical recommendations on how to move beyond conflict and fragility and secure development. The key messages are important for all countries-low, middle, and high income-as well as for regional and global institutions: first, institutional legitimacy is the key to stability. When state institutions do not adequately protect citizens, guard against corruption, or provide access to justice; when markets do not provide job opportunities; or when communities have lost social cohesion-the likelihood of violent conflict increases. Second, investing in citizen security, justice, and jobs is essential to reducing violence. But there are major structural gaps in our collective capabilities to support these areas. Third, confronting this challenge effectively means that institutions need to change. International agencies and partners from other countries must adapt procedures so they can respond with agility and speed, a longer-term perspective, and greater staying power. Fourth, need to adopt a layered approach. Some problems can be addressed at the country level, but others need to be addressed at a regional level, such as developing markets that integrate insecure areas and pooling resources for building capacity Fifth, in adopting these approaches, need to be aware that the global landscape is changing. Regional institutions and middle income countries are playing a larger role. This means should pay more attention to south-south and south-north exchanges, and to the recent transition experiences of middle income countries.

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World Development Report 1991: The Challenge of Development

1991, World Bank

This report is the fourteenth in an annual series assessing major development issues. This report synthesizes and interprets the lessons of more than forty years of development experience. Together with last year's report on poverty and next year's on the environment, it seeks to provide a comprehensive overview of the development agenda. The 1990s began with dramatic changes, as many countries in Eastern Europe and elsewhere initiated ambitious reforms of their economic and political systems. Against the backdrop of these transitions, this report links the historical debates that counseled policymakers in their past decisions, the lessons of experience, and the evolving thought on how best to proceed. One of the most valuable lessons relates to the interaction between the state and the market in fostering development. It describes a market-friendly approach in which governments allow markets to function well, and in which governments concentrate their interventions on areas in which markets prove inadequate. The report looks at four main aspects of the relationship between governments and markets: (a) investing in people; (b) the climate for enterprises to flourish; (c) the integration of countries with the global economy; and (d) a stable macroeconomic foundation for sustained progress. The report stresses that, above all, the future of developing countries is in their own hands. Domestic policies and institutions hold the key to successful development.

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World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change

2010, World Bank

Thirty years ago, half the developing world lived in extreme poverty today, a quarter. Now, a much smaller share of children are malnourished and at risk of early death. And access to modern infrastructure is much more widespread. Critical to the progress: rapid economic growth driven by technological innovation and institutional reform, particularly in today's middle- income countries, where per capita incomes have doubled. Yet the needs remain enormous, with the number of hungry people having passed the billion marks this year for the first time in history. With so many still in poverty and hunger, growth and poverty alleviation remain the overarching priority for developing countries. Climate change only makes the challenge more complicated. First, the impacts of a changing climate are already being felt, with more droughts, more floods, more strong storms, and more heat waves-taxing individuals, firms, and governments, drawing resources away from development. Second, continuing climate change, at current rates, will pose increasingly severe challenges to development. By century's end, it could lead to warming of 5°C or more compared with preindustrial times and to a vastly different world from today, with more extreme weather events, most ecosystems stressed and changing, many species doomed to extinction, and whole island nations threatened by inundation. Even our best efforts are unlikely to stabilize temperatures at anything less than 2°C above preindustrial temperatures, warming that will require substantial adaptation. High income countries can and must reduce their carbon footprints. They cannot continue to fill up an unfair and unsustainable share of the atmospheric commons. But developing countries whose average per capita emissions are a third those of high income countries need massive expansions in energy, transport, urban systems, and agricultural production. If pursued using traditional technologies and carbon intensities, these much-needed expansions will produce more greenhouse gases and, hence, more climate change. The question, then, is not just how to make development more resilient to climate change. It is how to pursue growth and prosperity without causing "dangerous" climate change.

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World Development Report 2009: Reshaping Economic Geography

2009, World Bank

Places do well when they promote transformations along the dimensions of economic geography: higher densities as cities grow; shorter distances as workers and businesses migrate closer to density; and fewer divisions as nations lower their economic borders and enter world markets to take advantage of scale and trade in specialized products. World Development Report 2009 concludes that the transformations along these three dimensions density, distance, and division are essential for development and should be encouraged. The conclusion is controversial. Slum-dwellers now number a billion, but the rush to cities continues. A billion people live in lagging areas of developing nations, remote from globalizations many benefits. And poverty and high mortality persist among the world’s bottom billion, trapped without access to global markets, even as others grow more prosperous and live ever longer lives. Concern for these three intersecting billions often comes with the prescription that growth must be spatially balanced. This report has a different message: economic growth will be unbalanced. To try to spread it out is to discourage it to fight prosperity, not poverty. But development can still be inclusive, even for people who start their lives distant from dense economic activity. For growth to be rapid and shared, governments must promote economic integration, the pivotal concept, as this report argues, in the policy debates on urbanization, territorial development, and regional integration. Instead, all three debates overemphasize place-based interventions. Reshaping Economic Geography reframes these debates to include all the instruments of integration spatially blind institutions, spatially connective infrastructure, and spatially targeted interventions. By calibrating the blend of these instruments, today’s developers can reshape their economic geography. If they do this well, their growth will still be unbalanced, but their development will be inclusive.