SOAS University of London

New book critically appraises the World Bank’s role in development research

8 July 2011
Political Economy of Development Book Cover

Three academic staff at SOAS, Kate Bayliss, Ben Fine and Elisa Van Waeyenberge, have jointly edited a new book which appraises the role and evolution of the World Bank in terms of development theory and practice.

The Political Economy of Development: The World Bank, Neoliberalism and Development Research brings together contributions from a number of research staff in the SOAS Economics and Development Studies departments, presenting an extensive critical assessment of World Bank research, with contributions from experts on China, aid, social capital, privatisation, violence and conflict, HIV/AIDS, agriculture and financial sector liberalisation.

The book was initially prompted by a 2006 World Bank-commissioned evaluation of its own research but goes far beyond this evaluation’s own substantial criticisms. Each chapter sets out the World Bank’s position, reviewing the empirical evidence and theory that is intended to back up its policies, and both exposes limitations and offers alternative approaches.

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 aims to enrich students’, researchers’ and practitioners’ understanding of development studies and development itself.

The book has been published by Pluto Press and is available through their website at and in bookshops.

For further information, contact:

Dr Kate Bayliss, Research Partner in the Centre for Development Policy and Research,