IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The World Development Report: concepts, content and a Chapter 12

Listed author(s):
  • Robert Chambers

    (Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, BNI 9RE, UK)

The World Development Report (WDR) process set new standards for openness and consultation. Its concepts and content are a major advance on its 1990 predecessor. The intention that its concepts and content should be influenced by voices of the poor was partly fulfilled. Conceptually, the VOP findings support the multidimensional view of poverty as 'pronounced deprivation of wellbeing', and the use of income-poverty to describe what is only one dimension of poverty (though this welcome usage is not consistent throughout in the WDR). Two concepts or analytical orientations were not adopted: powerlessness and disadvantage seen as a multidimensional interlinked web; and livelihoods. On content, three areas where the influence fell short were: how the police persecute and impoverish poor people; the diversity of the poorest people; and the significance of the body as the main but vulnerable and indivisible asset of many poor people. A weakness of the WDR is its lack of critical self-awareness. Chapter 11 is self-serving for the International Financial Institutions: it lumps loans with grants as concessional finance; it makes liberal use of the term donor, but never lender; and it does not consider debt avoidance as a strategy. The Report ends abruptly, a body without a head. Its multidimensional view of poverty is not matched by a multidimensional view of power and responsibility. A Chapter 12 is crying out to be written. This would confront issues of professional, institutional and personal commitment and change. It would stress critical reflection as a professional norm, disempowerment for democratic diversity as institutional practice, and personal values, attitudes and courageous behaviour as primary and crucial if development is to be change that is good for poor people. A new conclusion is suggested for the WDR, and a title for the World Development Report 2010. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: Link to full text; subscription required
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of International Development.

Volume (Year): 13 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 299-306

in new window

Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:13:y:2001:i:3:p:299-306
DOI: 10.1002/jid.784
Contact details of provider: Web page:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:13:y:2001:i:3:p:299-306. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.