Policy Research Reports
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This series brings to a broad audience the results of World Bank research on development policy. The reports are designed to contribute to the debate on appropriate public policies for developing economies. Titles in this series undergo internal and external review under the management of the Research Group in the World Bank's Development Economics Vice Presidency.
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Making Politics Work for Development: Harnessing Transparency and Citizen Engagement(Washington, DC, 2016-07-11) World BankToo often, even reform leaders in countries fail to adopt and implement policies that they know are necessary for sustained economic development. They are encumbered by adverse political incentives, running the risk of losing office should they try to do the right thing. When technically sound policies are selected on paper, implementation through the public system can run into perverse norms of behavior among public officials and citizens to extract private benefits from the public sector at the expense of the greater public interest. Making Politics Work for Development is about how to make politics work for economic development rather than against it. It focuses on research about two forces—citizens’ political engagement and transparency—that explain and hold the potential to improve political incentives and norms of behavior in the public sector. The research shows that the confluence of transparency and political engagement can be a driving force for countries to transition toward better functioning public sector institutions, starting with their own initial and contextual conditions. To harness the potential of these forces, policy actors should target transparency to nourish the quality of political engagement so that citizens can hold leaders accountable for the public goods needed for development.
Localizing Development : Does Participation Work?(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2013) Mansuri, Ghazala ; Rao, VijayendraThe Policy Research Report Localizing Development: Does Participation Work? brings analytical rigor to a field that has been the subject of intense debate and advocacy, and billions of dollars in development aid. It briefly reviews the history of participatory development and argues that its two modalities, community-based development and local decentralization, should be treated under the broader unifying umbrella of local development. It suggests that a distinction between organic participation (endogenous efforts by civic activists to bring about change) and induced participation (large-scale efforts to engineer participation at the local level via projects) is key, and focuses on the challenges of inducing participation. The report provides a conceptual framework for thinking about participatory development and then uses this framework to conduct a comprehensive review of the literature. The framework develops the concept of “civil society failure” and explains its interaction with government and market failures. It argues that participatory development, which is often viewed as a mechanism for bypassing market and government failures by ”harnessing” civic capacity, ought to be seen instead as a mechanism that, if done right, could help to repair important civil society failures. It distills literature from anthropology, economics, sociology, and political science to outline the challenges for effective policy in this area, looking at issues such as the uncertainty of trajectories of change, the importance of context, the role of elite capture and control, the challenge of collective action, and the role of the state. The review of the evidence looks at a variety of issues: the impact of participatory projects on inclusion, civic capacity, and social cohesion; on key development outcomes, such as income, poverty, and inequality; on public service delivery; and on the quality of local public goods. It draws on the evidence to suggest several recommendations for policy, emphasizing the key role of learning-by-doing. It then reviews participatory projects funded by the World Bank and finds the majority lacking in several arenas – particularly in paying attention to context and in creating effective monitoring and evaluation systems that allow for learning.
Globalization, Growth, and Poverty : Building an Inclusive World Economy(Washington, DC: World Bank and Oxford University Press, 2002) World BankSocieties and economies around the world are becoming more integrated. Integration is the result of reduced costs of transport, lower trade barriers, faster communication of ideas, rising capital flows, and intensifying pressures for mitigation. Integration--or "globalization"--has generated anxieties about rising ineuality, shifting power, and cultural uniformity. This report assesses its impact and examines these anxieties. Global integration is already a powerful force for poverty reduction, but it could be even more effective. Some, but not all of the anxieties are well-founded. Both global opportunities and global risks have outpaced global policy. The authors propose an agenda for action, both to enhance the potential of globalization to provide opportunities for poor people and to reduce and mitigate the risks it generates. This report presents three main findings that bear on current policy debates about globalization. First, poor countries with around 3 billion people have broken into the global market for manufactures and services; these "new globalizers" have experienced large-scale poverty reduction. The second finding concerns inclusion both across countries and within them; the authors highlight a range of measures that would help countries in danger of becoming marginalized become integrated with the world economy. A third issue concerns the anxiety that economic integration leads to cultural or institutional homogenization.