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Researching the World Bank

World Bank Organization | Databases & Search Engines | Statistics | Journals & Publications | Working Papers & Surveys | Privatization | Libraries & Archives

This guide serves as a research tool for information on the World Bank. For additional publications consult the UC Berkeley catalog Pathfinder and Melvyl (the catalog for all the UC campuses). See also the World Bank E-library for an online collection of recent World Bank publications.

Please also see the UCB library guides on International Trade & Financial Institutions, International Organizations, Economic Development & Poverty, and the International Monetary Fund for related information.

World Bank Organization

The mission of the World Bank to help developing countries and their peoples alleviate poverty and improve living standards. The World Bank is often thought of as a single entity, but in fact the World Bank Group is an association of five closely linked institutions. These include:

World Bank countries are represented by a Board of Governors in accordance with the Bank's Articles of Agreement. The governors delegate specific duties to 24 Executive Directors. The five largest shareholders, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States appoint an executive director, while other member countries are represented by 19 executive directors.

Databases & Search Engines

FDI.Net. World Bank portal for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), with information by economic sector and country for World Bank FDI projects worldwide. Includes information on privatization trends.

PovertyNet. Gateway to World Bank Poverty measurement, analysis and reduction strategies. Includes topical and country listings as well as data on poverty and inequality.

Topics in Development. Alphabetical listing of World Bank development topics. Includes over 200 topics: major themes listed on front page.

World Bank Country Information. Web portal of World Bank publications by country. See also the World Bank Country Study series of reports.  In the online catalogs do a series search for world bank country study

World Bank E-library (UCB Access Only). Database for hundreds of full-text World Bank publications. Topics covered include economics, public policy, education, international development, gender, the environment, and more.

World Development Sources. Enormous portal of World Bank documents, including working papers, country information, evaluation reports, working papers, and project appraisals.

Youthink! World Bank gateway site focusing on global development issues, from AIDS to Urbanization, and Youth. Excellent background information source.


Agricultural Market Access Database (AMAD). Database produced by the FAO, World Bank, EU, OECD and other international agencies. Registration required.

Edstats. Free education statistics database from the World Bank, in collaboration with OECD and UNESCO.

GenderStats - Database of Gender Statistics. Gender data from the World Bank, covering poverty, education, demographics, and political participation.

Global Development Finance (UCB Only). Detailed statistical data on government debt for 138 countries reporting to the World Bank.

Health Nutrition and Population Database. Health, nutrition and population indicators from national and international data sources. More than 100 indicators, with time series for countries and regions from 1960 to present.

Millennium Development Goals Statistics. Country statistical information related to progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. See also the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Database.

World Development Indicators (UCB Only). Time series data from 1960 for 207 countries in the areas of population, labour, education, economics, the environment and much more. First choice for many statistical indicators.

Journals and Publications

Annual review of Development Effectiveness. Evaluation of the Bank´s development effectiveness, drawing on project evaluations and thematic and country reviews. Each year has a distinct focus.

Global Economic Prospects. Published by the World Bank Development Prospects Group annually. Include forecasts for the global economy and long-term global scenarios. Chapters vary from year on topics on development and poverty reduction.

Global Development Finance. Analysis of recent trends and prospects for capital flows to developing countries with a commentary on policy issues.

World Bank Annual Report. See also the reports of the International Finance Corporation, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

World Bank Economic Review (UCB Only). Most widely read scholarly economic journal in the world, specializing in quantitative development policy analysis and economic development.

World Bank Operations Manual. Includes the Bank's core development objectives as well as the requirements for Bank-financed lending operations

World Bank Research Observer. (UCB Only). Nonspecialist publication on research within and outside the Bank, in areas of economics relevant for development policy.

World Development Report. World Bank flagship publication, hailed by the bank as "an invaluable guide to the economic, social and environmental life of the world today." Different topical focus for each issue.

Working Papers & Surveys

Living Standards Measurement Studies (LSMS). Household data surveys collected by country governments and financed by the World Bank on poverty and development. See also the LSMS working paper series.

International Household Survey Network. Comprehensive catalog of online household survey data. This is a joint effort of several international government organizations (including the United Nations Statistics Division, the International Labour Organization and many others).

Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers. Also includes Joint Staff advisory Notes and Joint Staff Assessments. See also the PRSP Sourcebook.

Policy Research Reports. World Bank reports on development policy, designed to contribute to the debate on appropriate public policies for developing economies

Policy Research Working Papers. Most important working papers series by the World Bank: thousands of reports on development issues worldwide.

The World Bank & Privatization

Doing Business Database. Provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement with indicators across 155 economies. Part of the World Bank's rapid response private sector site.

Enterprise Surveys. Contains data on the investment climate in 68 countries, based on surveys of almost 38,000 firms.

FDI.Net. World Bank portal for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), with information by economic sector and country for World Bank FDI projects worldwide. Includes information on privatization trends.

Private Sector Development Homepage. Interesting site billed as a "knowledge service specializing in policy advice on business environment reform and privatization policy in developing countries."

Privatization Database. Provides information on more than 9,000 privatization transactions in developing countries from 1988 to 2003.

Privatization Toolkits. Guides to the privatization and regulation of infrastructure services in telecommunications, water, sanitation, and transportation.

Library, Archives & Other Information Resources

Joint World Bank/IMF Library. Joint library of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Includes two online catalogs: the JOLIS and Global JOLIS catalogs.

Public Information Centers (PICs). See especially the listing of Project Documents by Type for an informative categorization of World Bank operations: environmental assessments, resettlement plans, sector reports, etc.

World Bank Archives. Thousands of cubic feet of information related to World Bank Group member countries from 1946-present. Includes lending project files, country files, economic reports, sector studies, policy files, oral history interviews, films, videos, and photographs. Registration required before visiting.

World Bank InfoShop. Clearinghouse for World Bank publications and information, including the online bookstore and project documents.

World Bank Publications Catalog. Searchable and browsable catalog of world bank priced and non-priced publications.