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World Economic and Social Survey 2017

Reflecting on Seventy Years of Development Policy Analysis

image of World Economic and Social Survey 2017

The aim of WESS 2017 is to document the intellectual influence of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) through its flagship publication, World Economic and Social Survey (WESS) on its 70th Anniversary. First published in 1948, the Survey is the oldest continuous post-World War II publication of its kind that records and analyses the performance of the global economy and social development trends as well as offers relevant policy recommendations. WESS 2017 will highlight how well the Survey tracked global economic and social conditions, and how its analysis influenced and were influenced by the prevailing discourse during the past seven decades. It will also critically reflect on its policy recommendations and their influence on actual policy-making and the shaping of the world economy. Particular attention will be given to reflect on the lessons that a historical review of the policy analysis done by the Survey would provide for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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Notable economists who have contributed to the World Economic and Social Survey

Although the authors of the earlier issues of the Survey remain anonymous, some of the world’s leading economists contributed to them. For example, it is known that the famous economist Michal Kalecki was the primary author of the 1948 report. Hans Singer, a pioneer of development economics and one of the three economists to join the new Economics Department of the United Nations in 1947, was a leading member of the team preparing the report for more than a decade. Throughout its history, the Survey also benefited from written inputs, advice and encouragement from major academic economists outside the United Nations system as well as economists working in other bodies within the system, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, UNCTAD, and the regional commissions. A number of notable economists who have contributed to the Survey are listed below.

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