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The history of the “demography of development”: the World Bank (1946-2000)

Roser Cusso, Institut de Sociologie, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgique

The history of “demography of development” is analyzed through the World Bank’s publications. WB economic policies are mostly “accompanied” by a specific demographic expertise. In the late 1940s, the focusing on rapid population growth of non-western countries as a problem coincided with growth-oriented economic policy. Population growth was deemed to prevent social and economic modernization. In the 1960s, the crisis of development policies (price stagnation of raw materials) coincides with the exacerbation of blame of demographic and social factors for economic problems, and the need for demographic “standardization”. WB expertise focused on the demographic transition mechanisms and “population pressure” on resources (human carrying capacity). In the 1980s, with the renewal of liberal policies, WB analysis concentrated on individual choice and “explanatory factors” of fertility such as reproductive health, education, gender… The way population issues are addressed still heavily influences international policies pertaining to countries of the South.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Poster Session 5