The Review of International Organizations

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 343–368 | Cite as

The World Bank’s publication record



The World Bank claims to be a “knowledge bank,” but do its knowledge products influence development thinking, or is the Bank merely a proselytizer? The World Bank is a prolific publisher; for example, it has published more journal articles in economics than any university except Harvard. But what about their impact on development thinking? Using citation data from Google Scholar it is hard to discern more than a negligible impact for a great many Bank publications. However, a sizeable minority of its journal articles and books have been highly cited. Compared to leading research universities and other international institutions, the Bank’s ranking in terms of widely-used citation-based indices is no lower than for its journal article counts. This suggests that the Bank’s research does much more than proselytize.


Bibliometrics World Bank Citations h-index Journals Google Scholar 



Supplementary material (2 kb)
ESM 1(DO 2 kb)
11558_2011_9139_MOESM2_ESM.dta (24.6 mb)
ESM 2(DTA 25232 kb)


  1. Bardhan, P. (2003). Journal publication in economics: a view from the periphery. Economic Journal, 113(488), F332–F337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barrett, C. B., Olia, A., & Von Bailey, D. (2000). Subdiscipline-specific journal rankings: whither Applied Economics? Applied Economics, 32(2), 239–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chen, S., Mu, R., & Ravallion, M. (2009). Are there lasting impacts of aid to poor areas? Journal of Public Economics, 93(3–4), 512–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Das, J., Do, Q. -T., Shaines, K., & Srinivasan, S. (2009). U.S. and them: the geography of academic research. The World Bank, Policy Research Working Paper Series, 5152.Google Scholar
  5. Deininger, K., Squire, L., & Basu, S. (1998). Does economic analysis improve the quality of foreign assistance? World Bank Economic Review, 12(3), 385–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dollar, D., & Levin, V. (2005). Sowing and reaping: institutional quality and project outcomes in developing countries. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3524.Google Scholar
  7. Dollar, D., & Levin, V. (2006). The increasing selectivity of foreign aid, 1984–2003. World Development, 34(12), 2034–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ellison, G. (2002). The slowdown of the economics publishing process. Journal of Political Economy, 110(5), 947–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Flores, T. E., & Nooruddin, I. (2009). Financing the peace: evaluating World Bank post-conflict assistance programs. Review of International Organizations, 4(1), 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gavin, M., & Rodrik, D. (1995). The World Bank in historical perspective. The American Economic Review, 85(2), 329–334.Google Scholar
  11. Gilbert, C., Powell, A., & Vines, D. (1999). Positioning the World Bank. The Economic Journal, 109(459), 598–633.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hirsch, J. E. (2005). An index to quantify an individual’s scientific research output. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102(46), 16569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Knack, S., Rogers, F. H., & Heckelman, J. C. (2011). Crossing the threshold: a positive analysis of IBRD graduation policy. Review of International Organizations, in press.Google Scholar
  14. Levitt, S. D., & Dubner, S. J. (2005). Freakonomics: A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  15. Marchesi, S., & Sirtori, E. (2011). Is two better than one? The effects of IMF and World Bank interaction on growth. Review of International Organizations, 6(3–4), 287–306.Google Scholar
  16. Ravallion, M., &Wagstaff, A. (2010). The World Bank’s publication record. The World Bank, Policy Research Working Paper Series, 5374.Google Scholar
  17. Ravallion, M., & Wagstaff, A. (2011). On measuring scholarly influence by citations. Scientometrics, 88(1), 321–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Squire, L. (2000). Why the World Bank should be involved in development research. In C. L. Gilbert & D. Vines (Eds.), The World Bank: Structure and Policies (pp. 108–31). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. van de Walle, D., & Mu, R. (2007). Fungibility and the flypaper effect of project aid: micro-evidence for Vietnam. Journal of Development Economics, 84(2), 667–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Wagstaff, A. (2011). Fungibility and the impact of development assistance: evidence from Vietnam’s health sector. Journal of Development Economics, 94(1), 62–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Wane, W. (2004). The quality of foreign aid: Country selectivity or donors incentives? The World Bank, Policy Research Working Paper Series, 3325.Google Scholar
  22. World Bank. (2011). The state of World Bank knowledge services: Knowledge for development 2011. Washington DC: World Bank.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Development Research GroupWorld BankWashingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations