Economic Geographers and the Limelight: Institutions and Policy in the World Development Report 2009

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abstract

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 article, 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 by promoting a discussion around two key issues in the report: its treatment of institutions and its recommendation of spatially blind policies.

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