The Political Economy of Development The World Bank, Neoliberalism and Development Research Author: Kate Bayliss, Ben Fine and Van Waeyenberge

Pluto Press


About the Book

Any student, academic or practitioner wanting to succeed in development studies, radical or mainstream, must understand the World Bank’s role and the evolution of its thinking and activities. The Political Economy of Development provides tools for gaining this understanding and applies them across a range of topics.

The research, practice and scholarship of development are always set against the backdrop of the World Bank,  whose  formidable  presence

shapes both development practice and thinking. This book brings together academics that specialise in different subject areas of development and reviews their findings in the context of the World Bank as knowledge bank, policy-maker and financial institution. The volume offers a compelling contribution to our understanding of development studies and of development itself.

The Political Economy of Development is an invaluable critical resource for students, policy-makers and activists in development studies.



Part I: Preliminaries and Principles

  1. The World Bank, Neoliberalism and Development Research, by Elisa Van Waeyenberge, Ben Fine and Kate Bayliss
  2. A Knowledge Bank? by Elisa Van Waeyenberge and Ben Fine

Part II: Research in Practice

  1. Understanding Aid at the Bank, by Elisa Van Waeyenberge
  2. A Cup Half Full: The World Bank’s Assessment of Water Privatisation, by Kate Bayliss
  3. Social Capital and Health, by Ben Fine
  4. World Bank Research on HIV/AIDS: Praise Where It’s Due?, by Deborah Johnston
  5. Agriculture in the World Bank: Blighted Harvest Persists, by Carlos Oya
  6. A Policy Wrapped in ”Analysis” – The World Bank’s Case for Foreign Banks, by Paulo L dos Santos
  7. Hard Science or Waffly Crap? Evidence-Based Policy versus Policy Based Evidence in the Field of Violent Conflict, by Christopher Cramer and Jonathan Goodhand
  8. The Washington Consensus and the China Anomaly, by Dic Lo

Part III: Continuity or Change?

  1. Whither World Bank Research? by Ben Fine, Elisa Van Waeyenberge and Kate Bayliss



About the Authors

Kate Bayliss has been working on public sector reform for over a decade with particular focus on privatisation of water and electricity. She has worked as a consultant for international agencies and NGOs.

Ben Fine is Professor of Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is the author of Theories of Social Capital (Pluto, 2010) and co-authoredFrom Economics Imperialism to Freakonomics, awarded the Deutscher Memorial Prize, 2009, and From Political Economy to Economics, and awarded the Gunnar Myrdal Prize, 2009.

Elisa Van Waeyenberge has worked on the World Bank for over a decade. She lectures at SOAS and consults for international organisations.