The World Bank as a Knowledge Producer

BIC Update, July 30, 2008. Washington DC

Book by Indian NGO Manthan Adhyayan Kendra examines how WB Promotes and Justifies Policy Prescriptions.

The author, Shripad Dharmadhikary, examines why being a knowledge provider is so important to the World Bank, and how the Bank uses its research and knowledge services to intervene in the policy making of borrowing countries. The Bank Information Center supported the distribution of this book so as to highlight this little discussed role of the World Bank.

The Book, to be launched in India in August 2008, looks at the World Bank’s efforts to position itself as the premier research institution on poverty and development. It looks at the Bank’s “knowledge producing machinery”, beginning with President Wolfensohn’s announcement in 1996 that the institution was to become a “Knowledge Bank” and backed it up with a US$50 million action plan.

Dharmidhikary looks at several case studies and finds that many of the policies championed by the Bank have had negative impacts on the ground, especially on the poorest sections of society. He specifically looks at the water sector and the privatization-heavy reforms advocated by the WB in India. The book’s central thesis is that much of the knowledge produced by the bank, and the process by which it is produced, is flawed.


The World Bank as a Knowledge Producer, By Shripad Dharmadhikary, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, March 2008 (Acrobat pdf, 1770 KB)

Manthan Adhyayan Kendra is a centre to monitor, analyse and research water and energy related issues. It can be reached via its website.


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