The World Bank and Agricultural and Rural Development in the 1960s and 1970s

  • This dissertation analyzes the history of the World Bank in the 1960s and 1970s, the crucial period in which the Bank transitioned from being a rather small, specialized investment bank for development into becoming a powerful development finance organization. The analysis has a specific focus on the Bank’s ‘discovery’ and adoption of agricultural and rural development. The thesis draws on a wide array of historical material from different archives, including some newly declassified sources from the World Bank Group Archive. The thesis approaches development as a contested field that involved debates about meanings and struggles over financial resources, which it analyzes with a focus on the World Bank. Analysis in chapter two and three demonstrates that the Bank’s understanding of an ‘agrarian reform’ in the 1960s relied on the ideas of others, and it differed between world regions. In East Africa the Bank was influenced by British colonial land settlement schemes and contained a large element of so-called ‘technical assistance’. For India, in contrast, the World Bank shared the notion of the U.S. Government, that focused on making capital investments into agriculture and on establishing linkages with industry. Chapter four interprets the World Bank’s embrace of a mission for poverty alleviation and rural development, under the presidency of Robert McNamara, as a response to a specific analysis of crisis with established models of development. Chapter five demonstrates that there was a quick disillusionment with rural development. The two chapters shed light on the huge gap between rhetoric and practice with regards to poverty alleviation at the Bank. The final chapter analyzes the World Bank’s adoption of structural adjustment lending in 1980. It argues that the debate about this new lending instrument was entangled with the larger North-South conflict of the 1970s, and with the struggle over the access to international financial resources.

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Publishing Institution:IRC-Library, Information Resource Center der Jacobs University Bremen
Granting Institution:Jacobs Univ.
Author:Verena Kröss
Referee:Marc Frey, Amalia Ribi Forclaz
Advisor:Corinna Unger
Persistent Identifier (URN):urn:nbn:de:gbv:579-opus-1009615
Document Type:PhD Thesis
Date of Successful Oral Defense:2020/03/12
Date of First Publication:2021/03/11
Academic Department:Social Sciences & Humanities
PhD Degree:History
Focus Area:Diversity
Other Countries Involved:Italy
Call No:2020/21

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