International development: yesterday’s news?

Over at the World Bank blog, Adam Wagstaff’s been playing with Google Trends data from 2004 to today, to try to determine whether anyone’s actually paying any attention to flagship development reports like the World Development Report and Human Development Report.

He has some interesting findings on the relative popularity of different reports (the WDR only got googled 60% as often as the HDR from 2004 to now, for instance) – but what stands out most is how searches for international development per se have fallen. The graph below illustrates relatively frequency of searches, with 1 as the average over the full seven year period:

By contrast, searches for a control group – Wagstaff uses internet searches for a range of German cars – stayed pretty much level.