Development Economics through the Decades: A Critical Look at Thirty Years of the World Development Report

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9780821372555: Development Economics through the Decades: A Critical Look at Thirty Years of the World Development Report

Since 1978, the World Bank's annual 'World Development Report' (WDR) has provided in-depth analysis and policy recommendations on a specific and important aspect of international development from agriculture, the role of the state, economic growth, and labor to infrastructure, health, the environment, and poverty. In the process, it has become a highly influential publication that is consulted by international organizations, national governments, scholars, and civil society networks to inform their decision-making processes.

In this essay, Shahid Yusuf examines the last 30 years of development economics, viewed through the WDRs. The essay begins with a brief background on the circumstances of newly independent developing countries and summarizes some of the main strands of the emerging field of development economics. It then provides a sweeping examination of the coverage of the WDRs, reflecting on the key development themes synthesized by these reports and assessing how the research they present has contributed to policy making and development thought. The book then looks ahead and points to some of the big challenges that the World Bank may explore through future WDRs. The essay is followed by five commentaries, each written by a distinguished economist or development practitioner, which further explore this terrain from different perspectives.

Together, the contents of this volume provide an extraordinary and remarkably compact tour of development economics through, around, and beyond the WDR. It will be invaluable to anyone interested in the evolution of development economics over the past three decades as well as for students, scholars, and policy makers in the field of development.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the 'World Development Report', this book is being simultaneously published with 'The Complete World Development Report, 1978–2009'. This DVD is a fully-searchabel digital archive that contains the full collection of WDRs. For more information
about the DVD or the 'World Development Report', visit www.worldbank.org/wdr.

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"Shahid Yusuf's essay on the World Development Reports is a masterful overview of what has at the same time been 30 years of development economics at the World Bank." --Kemal Dervis, Head, United Nations Development Programme

"The reader benefits from Dr. Yusuf's insights into how development economics has changed and how political priority in development has changed over more than 30 years." --Takatoshi Ito, Graduate School of Economics, University of Tokyo, and Former Deputy Vice Minister for International Finance, Ministry of Finance of Japan

"This volume not only offers an invaluable retrospective of the World Bank's best thinking on development but also has the analytical caliber and policy insights to become an indispensable source for those dealing with the present and future growth and equity challenges faced by the developing countries." --Ernesto Zedillo, Former President of Mexico and Director, Yale Center for the Study of Globalization

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