Country experience in providing for basic needs

Finance Dev. 1979 Dec;16(4):23-6.


PIP: The basic needs approach to development--i.e., providing such basic needs as health and education to the poorest sectors of the population--replaced a previous emphasis on general economic development. Basic needs include food, nutrition, health services, education, water, sanitation, and shelter. A World Bank study to evaluate the success of developing countries in meeting their populations' basic needs discloses great disparity among countries. The study used literacy and life expectancy figures for the evaluation. All developing countries had improved their provision of basic goods and services in the time between 1960 and 1977, but the improvement was not uniform. The countries' previous performance in this area and the national level of per capita income influenced their improved performance. Countries having egalitarian income distributions tended to perform better than would have been expected from the per capita income alone; countries with maldistributed incomes tended to perform worse. The following 3 types of economies were most successful in providing basic goods/services for their populations: 1) rapidly growing, market-oriented economies; 2) centrally planned economies; and 3) "mixed" economies with welfare intervention. Very poor economies, those with rapid growth and no substantial poverty reduction, and those with moderate growth and moderate poverty reduction were less successful. Macroeconomic frameworks can provide guidelines.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Developing Countries*
  • Economics
  • Education*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic*
  • Health
  • Public Policy
  • Social Change*
  • Social Class