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Has the Human Development Approach Influenced Policy?:The Case of World Bank Flagship Reports
Sakiko Fukuda-Parr
The idea of development as expansion of capabilities and freedoms is widely recognized as an important ‘‘breakthrough’’ idea in the field of development economics. What has been the influence of this idea? There is little doubt about the wide agreement on the values of human dignity and freedom. But has the human development approach influenced the way economists analyse development problems and policy options? In this paper, I explore how concepts of capability and human development has influenced global debates about poverty, and in particular the World Bank’s analysis of poverty that appears every 10 years in its flagship publications, namely the World Development Reports (WDRs) 1980, 1990 and 2000. I show that there has been a substantial shift to using the capability perspective but also that the income perspective continues to dominate. The Case of World Bank Flagship Reports

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