Global Output Totals $59 Trillion -- Developing
Countries Have Increasing Share, Says World Bank
WASHINGTON, April 11, 2008 — Developing economies
now produce 41 percent of the world's output, up from 36 percent in 2000,
according to the World Development Indicators 2008,
released today. The combined output of the world's economies reached $59
trillion in 2006. Using new measurements that take into account the
differences in price levels between countries, China now ranks as the
second largest economy in the world, and 5 of the 12 largest economies are
developing economies. Strong growth over the period has increased the
shares of all developing regions except Latin America and the Caribbean,
while the share of high-income economies fell by 5 percent.
This year's World Development Indicators (WDI) introduces new
estimates of purchasing power parity (PPP). PPPs are used to convert local
currencies to a common currency - in this case the US dollar. By taking
account of price differences between countries on a broad range of
products and services, PPPs allow more accurate comparisons of market
size, the structure of economies, and what money can buy. The new PPPs
replace previous benchmark estimates, many of them from 1993 and some
dating back to the 1980s. These new estimates are based on the recently
released results of the International Comparison Program (ICP) - a
cooperative program involving 146 economies.
"We live in a world of highly interdependent markets for
goods, services, finance, labor, and ideas," said Alan
Gelb, Acting World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President
for Development Economics. "When we measure economies on a
comparable global scale, the growing clout of developing countries comes
into sharp relief."
World Development Indicators 2008 (WDI)
provides a detailed picture of the world through data. It includes, for
example, information on health expenditures, on transport and other
infrastructure services, on the quality of public sector management, on
Internet access, on access to improved water sources, and on carbon
This 12th edition of the WDI also presents the major findings of the
2005 ICP round and explores some of their implications. For example,
because price levels are lower in many developing countries, the new data
show real expenditures on education and health care are much higher than
previously estimated. For the same reason, official development assistance
(ODA) goes farther when spent in the poorest countries because local goods
and services are cheaper. But the data also show that spending alone does
not assure good outcomes. In parts of southern Africa affected by
HIV/AIDS, life expectancies are more than 20 years shorter than in other
countries with similar health spending.
A comprehensive guide to development trends
The WDI provides the information needed to monitor progress toward the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Following recommendations from the
United Nations, this year's edition includes new indicators on employment,
reproductive health, access to anti-retroviral drugs, and biodiversity.
Special sections look at the evidence on climate change, reproductive
health services and maternal mortality, and methods of measuring
"The goal of the WDI is to present a comprehensive picture of
the world using the best statistical evidence available,"
explains Eric Swanson, Program Manager with the World
Bank's Development Data Group. "The World Development Indicators
allows us to view development not just in terms of economic outputs, but
also through the welfare of people, the condition of the environment, and
the quality of governance."
Improving development statistics
The WDI draws on a database of over 1,000 indicators covering 209
countries and territories, but there are still serious gaps, especially in
statistics from poor countries.
"Statistics are fundamental," says Shaida
Badiee, Director of the Development Data Group. "Without
reliable statistics, there is no accountability. Improving the quality of
development statistics is a long-term effort that is now receiving growing
support from our development partners."
The full WDI database is available by subscription to the WDI Online or
on CD-ROM. Other print publications include 'Little Data Books' on a range
of topics and the Atlas of Global Development. An online Atlas of
the MDGs is available at: http://devdata.worldbank.org/atlas-mdg/.