World Development Report 1998/99: Knowledge for Development

Technical Report

The report analyzes the risks and opportunities that the global information revolution is creating for developing countries, and concludes that access to financial, technical, and medical knowledge is crucial to improving the health and living standards of the poor. The report focuses on two types of knowledge -- and two types of problems -- that are critical for developing countries: How-to knowledge, such as nutrition, birth control, engineering, or accounting. Typically, developing countries have less know-how than industrial countries, and poor people have less know-how than wealthier people. The report argues that closing these knowledge gaps-for example, through education, better phone systems, and openness to exchanges with foreign countries, including trade-can do much to help the world’s poorest people to improve their lives. Second, knowledge about attributes or characteristics, such as the quality of a product, diligence of a worker, or creditworthiness of a firm. The report describes this lack of knowledge as “information problems" and argues that this in turn leads to market failures, such as lenders’ refusal to offer loans to poor people, because of the difficulty in assessing their ability to repay

Date and language
Dec 1998

Corporate Author

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