Click here for search results

World Development Report 1998-99

Return bulletBack to WDRs page
World Development Report 1998/1999: Knowledge for Development

The 1998-99 World Development Report states that knowledge, not capital, is the key to sustained economic growth and improvements in human well-being. It distinguishes between two sorts of knowledge: knowledge about technology, called technical knowledge or simply know-how, and knowledge about attributes, that is, knowledge about products, processes, or institutions. The report focuses on the relationship between the unequal distribution in know-how (knowledge gaps) across and within countries and the difficulties posed by having incomplete knowledge of attributes (information problems).

In the first of three parts, the report discusses the importance of knowledge to development, and the risks and opportunities that the information revolution poses for developing countries. It then examines three critical steps that developing countries must take to narrow knowledge gaps: acquiring knowledge, absorbing knowledge, and communicating knowledge. Part 2 discusses the nature and extent of information problems, specific information problems, and three areas where information problems are most severe, namely in financial information, in environmental research, and in listening to the poor. Part 3 summarizes what knowledge and information requirements mean for developing government and international institution policies.

Full Text
Background Papers and conference notes

Biodiversity Prospecting: Using Genetic Resources for Sustainable Development, Walter Reid, ed., World Resources Institute, Washington, DC, 1993.
Arguing that biodiversity prospecting ventures won't succeed if they don't promote sustainable development, the authors focus on three institutional elements that will ultimately determine the course of this new industry: organizations, contracts, and national legislation. Detailed chapters on:

  • designing institutions to facilitate biodiversity prospecting;
  • biodiversity prospecting contracts;
  • intellectual property rights;
  • research management policies; and
  • science and technology guidelines

Citizen Complaints As Environmental Indicators: Evidence From China, Back to top
Susmita Dasgupta, David Wheeler, November, 1996.

Decentralization and Biodiversity Conservation. A World Bank Symposium, Ernst Lutz and Julian Caldecott, ed., December 1996. [To purchase]
Conservation of biological diversity is important for sustainable development, and decentralization is a key aspect of good governance. Whether decentralization promotes conservation and if so, under what conditions, is the topic of this book. This study draws insights from field experience and traces the complex interactions among various factors involved, such as degree and type of decentralization, community participation, institutional capacity, and economic incentives.

Local and international experts present case studies from experiences in Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, the Philippines, Russia, and Zimbabwe. Subsequent chapters review 32 World Bank and Global Environment Facility projects and their impact on habitat conservation, describe a possible model of a decentralized country, and look at lessons learned from the overall study

Clean Water, Blue Skies: China's Environment in the Next Century, The World Bank, 1997
Economic growth has brought immeasurable benefits to the Chinese people. A growing economy has increased incomes, reduced poverty, and improved health. But the same unbridled growth that has lifted millions out of poverty has also damaged the environment.

Emissions Trading under the U.S. Acid Rain Program: Evaluation of Compliance Costs and Allowance Market Performance [PDF], A. Denny Ellerman, Richard Schmalensee, Paul L. Joskow, Juan Pablo Montero, Elizabeth M. Bailey, MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, 1997
Also, update -Working Paper 97-005 [PDF]

Information Strategies for Pollution Control, Tom Tietenberg, presented at Eighth Annual Meetings of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, 1997
Information strategies, which involve public and/or private attempts to increase the availability of information on pollution, form the basis for what some have called the third wave in pollution control policy (after legal regulation--the first wave--and market-based instruments --the second wave). While these strategies have become common place in natural resource settings (forest certification programs, for example), they are less familiar in a pollution control context. Yet the number of applications is now growing in both OECD and developing countries.

MELISSA is a joint initiative of the World Bank and the European Union to promote and facilitate local environmental planning and management in Sub Saharan Africa.

OECD Core Set of indicators for environmental performance reviews: A synthesis report by the Group on the State of the Environment [PDF], 1993
The OECD core set of environmental indicators is a commonly agreed upon set of indicators for OECD countries and for international use, published regularly. It covers issues that reflect the major environmental concerns in OECD countries. The publication incorporates major indicators derived from sectoral sets as well as from environmental accounting (e.g. intensity of water use or of forest use).

Poverty, Institutions, and the Environmental-Resource Base [World Bank World Development Sources], Partha Dasgupta, Karl-Goran Maler. 1994, Environment Paper No. 9, The World Bank.
This paper relies on empirical material drawn from anthropology, demography, economics, and the environmental sciences for identifying possible links between rural poverty, fertility behavior, and the local environmental resource base in poor countries. The authors argue that poverty and institutional failure are both moot causes of environmental degradation and that the latter may well be a cause (as well as an effect) of high fertility rates. The article provides the background to the discussion and the capital theory that is necessary for any exploration into the economics of environment and development. The authors summarize and extend the literature on optimal development, intertemporal accounting prices, and the idea of net national product in both first and second best economies.

Pricing Industrial Pollution In China: An Econometric Analysis of the Levy System, [251 Kb]
Hua Wang, David Wheeler, PRD Working Paper #1644, September 1996.

Republic of Yemen - Household energy strategy study, phase 1 : A preliminary study of northern governorates [World Bank World Development Sources], ESMAP, Report No. 126/91, The World Bank, 1991.
Household energy planning and implementation have been stymied in Yemen because of : i) the absence of a national energy strategy; ii) inadequate institutional capabilities; iii) ambiguous lines of authority between sectoral agencies; and iv) the failure to develop and evaluate valid alternatives. Because authorities have not been able to recognize and respond to residential energy problems, a number of important issues have thus far gone unaddressed. Specifically, the following are priority problems : a) the decreasing supply of and persistent demand for woodfuels; b) the inability to rapidly develop liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as a principal source of household energy, has led to shortages of this essential domestic fuel; and c) a very high proportion of rural households use non-grid, high cost electricity, in addition to woodfuels. These unreliable and inefficient rural supply systems have imposed heavy financial costs on individual residences and economic costs on the country. Given these issues, the long term development objective of the household energy strategy is to improve household welfare by reducing costs and improving the availability of household fuels. Immediate objectives include : 1) protect the environment; 2) prepare an economically viable strategy for the substitution of LPG for threatened biomass resources; and 3) assess options for least-cost rural power supply to residences, including the use of photovoltaics.

Rwanda: Commercialization of improved charcoal stoves and carbonization techniques [World Bank World Development Sources], ESMAP, Report No. 141/91, The World Bank, 1991.
This report is a mid-term progress report of the "Rwanda - Improved Kilns and Charcoal Stoves" project, which was funded by the Dutch Government and UNDP (Kigali), and executed by the World Bank through the Joint UNDP/World Bank Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP). The field work was carried out by two Rwandan teams between October 1987 and March 1990, assisted by short-term consultants for specific technical interventions. This report consists of a concise description of the energy sector in Rwanda and the project's stove and kiln activities, as well as its achievements and impact on the Rwandan economy and the household sector. The Improved Charcoal Stoves component of the project developed a private sector stove production, marketing and retail activity which has expanded rapidly during 1990 to a point where current monthly stove sales amount to 1500-2000. An estimated 20,000 improved stoves have been sold, or 20% - 25% of the total market in Kigali. Household charcoal consumption has been reduced by 35% on average. The Kilns component of the project has identified socio-economic and technical aspects of improving traditional charcoaling methods. The improved charcoaling techniques doubled the productivity under actual field conditions from one bag of charcoal to two or more bags per stere of wood. A wood pricing policy was identified and proposed to the Government.

Surviving Success: Policy Reform And The Future Of Industrial Pollution In China, Susmita Dasgupta, Hua Wang, David Wheeler, March 1997

Core Team

Carl Dahlman was the lead author of the report. Co-authors included Tara Vishwanath, Auguste Tano Kouame, Irfan Aleem, Francisco Ferreira, Yevgeny Kuznetsov, and Govindan Nair. Major contributions to chapters were made by: Abhijit Banerjee, Jere Behrman, Gerard Caprio, Raffaello Cervigni, Stephen Denning, Samuel Fankhauser, Karla Hoff, Patrick Honohan, Emmanuel Jimenez, Lant Pritchett, Debraj Ray, Halsey Rogers, and David Wheeler.

Press Release

- (English, Chinese)

Back to top

Permanent URL for this page: