Networks and development programs after WWII: the ego network of David Lilienthal (1950-1960)

Elisa Grandi

Time and Place: Thursday, 01.07., 10:40–11:00, Room 1
Session: Networking Publications

Keywords: Ego-Network; network temporality; economic networks; two-modes networks

Development programs spread extensively during the Cold War and contributed to the definition of economic advising and foreign aid as peculiar parts of international relations. From the early post-WWII years on, they represented a key component of US and URSS Cold War strategies. Among the different development programs adopted, historiography acknowledges the relevance of the regional development model adopted in Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) during the Great Depression. The former chair of TVA, David Lilienthal started diffusing the TVA model in the so-called developing countries during the Fifties and Sixties, in collaboration with international organizations. As an advisor in collaboration with the World Bank, Lilienthal accounted for the programs in which he participated in a journal written from 1939 and published between 1964 and 1983 [The Journals of David E. Lilienthal, Harper and Row]. This presentation will introduce the first attempt at a systematic network analysis of Lilienthal’s Journals, from 1950 to 1960. Each entry of the journal is indeed analyzed as an “event” in which the people mentioned by Lilienthal are linked with him. A two-mode network over the years is therefore created and its main features analyzed: number of entries through the years, topics covered, different places in which the entries were written, the main categories of the individuals mentioned by Lilienthal, the programs in which he participated, the timeline. The two-mode network is then split into two one-mode networks, to obtain David Lilienthal’s ego-network during his advising in collaboration with the World Bank. On the other side, the journal’s different entries will be linked by the people appearing in each of them. By showing these networks, the presentation will convey a detailed account of the actors involved in the different moments of diffusion of the TVA model and their centrality in the network and evolution. This analysis confirms the global circulation of the TVA model after World War II. At the same time, it conveys new insights on the topic. First, it sheds light on how the model was locally adapted, showing the local actors’ relevance in shaping the World Bank’s missions. Second, it stresses the importance of Latin American and European countries and actors in elaborating this model. Third, it conveys new shreds of evidence on the presence and influence of New Dealer economists in the programs implemented by international organizations such as the World Bank.