Cling, Jean-Pierre Cogneau, Denis Loup, Jacques Naudet, Jean-David Razafindrakoto, Mireille Roubaud, François
Year of Publication:
IAI Discussion Papers No. 137
The World Bank's World Development Report 2006 addresses Equity and Development. It defines equity as respect for equal opportunities combined with the avoidance of absolute deprivation. Even though justice theories have long been interested in equity (given that equality of opportunity is one of the recognised values of Western society), it has hitherto remained a marginal issue in development economics. Our critique presents a detailed analysis of this report in the light of recent economic studies on this subject and endeavours to place it in the context of the evolution of World Bank thinking and policies. The first part illustrates the wealth of this concept, with its downside being that it is hard to accurately define. The second part demonstrates the gap between the prospects opened up by the enlargement of the development goals beyond poverty reduction and the report's policy recommendations, which are generally an extension of the World Bank's traditional analyses. The future of the equity concept for development policy-making could be closely dependent on the development community's ability to take on board both all its complexity and wealth.