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.



Globalization meets the Millennium Development Goals

The present chapter analyses the key trends in the world economy and the major changes in the development agenda between the mid-1990s and the period immediately preceding the onset of the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. The process of global economic integration—globalization—had been gathering momentum since the 1980s, and the forces driving it became stronger and, in some ways, more entrenched towards the end of the 1990s. During that period, this entrenchment was reinforced by rapid trade liberalization and deregulation of the economy. In the 2000s, developing countries as a whole increased their share in global economic activities and the income gap between developing and developed countries (defined by the difference in average per capita income) decreased to some extent. Underlying these global trends was an increase in global imbalances leading to financial market instability, which eventually culminated in the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.


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