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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  • Publication
    World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development
    (World Bank, 2012) World Bank
    The main message of this year's World development report: gender equality and development is that these patterns of progress and persistence in gender equality matter, both for development outcomes and policy making. They matter because gender equality is a core development objective in its own right. But greater gender equality is also smart economics, enhancing productivity and improving other development outcomes, including prospects for the next generation and for the quality of societal policies and institutions. Economic development is not enough to shrink all gender disparities-corrective policies that focus on persisting gender gaps are essential. This report points to four priority areas for policy going forward. First, reducing gender gaps in human capital-specifically those that address female mortality and education. Second, closing gender gaps in access to economic opportunities, earnings, and productivity. Third, shrinking gender differences in voice and agency within society. Fourth, limiting the reproduction of gender inequality across generations. These are all areas where higher incomes by themselves do little to reduce gender gaps, but focused policies can have a real impact. Gender equality is at the heart of development. It's the right development objective, and it's smart economic policy. The World development report 2012 can help both countries and international partners think through and integrate a focus on gender equality into development policy making and programming.
  • Publication
    World Development Report 1992: Development and the Environment
    (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992) World Bank
    This is the fifteenth in the annual series assessing major development issues. The World Development Report 1992 explores the links between economic development and the environment. The 1990 report on poverty, last year's report on development strategies, and this report constitute a trilogy on the goals and means of development. The main message of this year's report is the need to integrate environmental considerations into development policymaking. The report argues that continued, and even accelerated, economic and human development is sustainable and can be consistent with improving environmental conditions, but that this will require major policy, program, and institutional shifts. A twofold strategy is required. First, the positive links between efficient income growth and the environment need to be aggressively exploited. Second, strong policies and institutions need to be put in place which cause decision makers to adopt less damaging forms of behavior. Where tradeoffs exist between income growth and environmental quality, the report argues for a careful assessment of the costs and benefits of alternative policies. This approach will result in much less environmental damage. Like its predecessors, this report includes the World Development Indicators, which offer selected social and economic statistics on 125 countries.
  • Publication
    World Development Report 1991: The Challenge of Development
    (New York: Oxford University Press, 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.
  • Publication
    World Development Report 1982
    (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982) World Bank
    This report reviews development prospects in the international economy and supplements the extensive discussion of adjustment issues in the 1981 World Development Report. It finds that, although international prospects have worsened over the past year, during the remainder of the decade the middle-income countries should be able to continue narrowing the income gap between themselves and the industrial countries. The prospects for many of the low-income countries, however, remain a matter of grave concern. The report concentrates on agriculture, which remains the chief source of income for close to two-thirds of the population in developing countries and for the vast majority of the world's poor. Informing the discussion is the experience gained by the World Bank in helping to finance some 800 agricultural and rural development projects in more than 70 countries - experience supported by its broad, intensive programs of economic, scientific, and social research. Numerous tables and multicolor maps and graphics supplement the main body of the report; case studies are interspersed to provide analyses directly related to the substance of the text. The final portion of the report comprises world development indicators, 25 two-page tables containing economic and social profiles of more than 120 countries.
  • 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.