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SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper
Economic Geographers and the Limelight: The Reaction to the 2009 World Development Report
Andrés Rodríguez-Pose
April 2010
Paper No' SERCDP0048:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: R0; R19

Tags: economic geography

The reaction of economic geographers to the World Bank's World Development Report 2009 – Reshaping Economic Geography – has so far been a corporatist turf-protecting exercise. The report has been dismissed as the work of economists who completely ignore a rich tradition of work by ‘proper’ economic geographers. However, this negative response has prevented geographers from engaging constructively with the World Bank’s analysis and proposals. In this note I argue that, while the report presents an accurate diagnosis of recent development trends and should be praised for its flexibility in providing numerous policy alternatives, geographers can significantly contribute to promote a discussion around two key issues in the report: its treatment of institutions and its recommendation of spatially-blind policies.