Annual World Bank Conference on Development Economics 1996 by Boris Pleskovic, Michael Bruno

By Boris Pleskovic, Michael Bruno

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The remarkable productivity growth in the agriculture sector is largely attributable to the federal government's support for research and dissemination of its results. East Asian governments have also played a central role in the promotion and transfer of technology. The third role of government is in supporting the financial sector. Sometimes depicted as the brain of the economy, the financial sector is responsible for deploying scarce capital resources in the most efficient way. It is concerned with gathering, processing, and disseminating informationprecisely the areas in which market failures are often most marked.

That bankers have not regularly planned for shocks suggests that they have not had the incentives to do so. Promoting greater diversification, especially in small developing economies, will also be essential to improving the stability of banking systems. Reaching the Poor Exploring the topic of poverty, Timothy Besley states that understanding how to alleviate poverty is the central concern of development economics. Although long-term Page 4 economic growth is known to significantly reduce poverty, over the shorter term governments and aid agencies must develop policies to ensure that all people have the means of achieving basic subsistence.

Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank, notes that these conferences, which began in 1989, have become a premier forum for the presentation and dissemination of cutting-edge thinking on some of the most important issues in development. If our goal is to improve results on behalf of developing countries, he argues, we need to expand and intensify our thinking on development issues. In today's rapidly changing global economy the World Bank is an important connecting rod between research and practice.

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