World Development Report

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The World Bank’s World Development Report, published annually since 1978, is an invaluable guide to the economic, social, and environmental state of the world today. Each report provides in-depth analysis and policy recommendations on a specific and important aspect of development—from agriculture, the role of the state, transition economies, and labor to infrastructure, health, the environment, and poverty. Through the quality and timeliness of the information it provides, the report has become a highly influential publication that is used by many multilateral and bilateral international organizations, national governments, scholars, civil society networks and groups, and other global thought leaders to support their decision-making processes. This corporate flagship undergoes extensive internal and external review and is one of the key outputs of the World Bank's Development Economics unit.

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Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
  • Publication
    World Development Report 2019: The Changing Nature of Work
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2019) World Bank
    Work is constantly reshaped by technological progress. New ways of production are adopted, markets expand, and societies evolve. But some changes provoke more attention than others, in part due to the vast uncertainty involved in making predictions about the future. The 2019 World Development Report will study how the nature of work is changing as a result of advances in technology today. Technological progress disrupts existing systems. A new social contract is needed to smooth the transition and guard against rising inequality. Significant investments in human capital throughout a person’s lifecycle are vital to this effort. If workers are to stay competitive against machines they need to train or retool existing skills. A social protection system that includes a minimum basic level of protection for workers and citizens can complement new forms of employment. Improved private sector policies to encourage startup activity and competition can help countries compete in the digital age. Governments also need to ensure that firms pay their fair share of taxes, in part to fund this new social contract. The 2019 World Development Report presents an analysis of these issues based upon the available evidence.
  • Publication
    World Development Report 2018: Learning to Realize Education's Promise
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2018) World Bank
    Every year, the World Bank's World Development Report takes on a topic of central importance to global development. The 2018 Report, Learning to Realize Education's Promise, is the first ever devoted entirely to education. Now is an excellent time for it: education has long been critical for human welfare, but is even more so in a time of rapid economic change. The Report explores four main themes. First, education's promise: Education is a powerful instrument for eradicating poverty and promoting shared prosperity, but fulfilling its potential requires better policies - both within and outside the education system. Second, the learning crisis: Despite gains in education access, recent learning assessments show that many young people around the world, especially from poor families, are leaving school unequipped with even the most foundational skills they need for life. At the same time, internationally comparable learning assessments show that skills in many middle-income countries lag far behind what those countries aspire to. Third, promising interventions to improve learning: Research from areas such as brain science, pedagogical innovations, or school management have identified interventions that promote learning by ensuring that learners are prepared, that teachers are skilled as well as motivated, and that other inputs support the teacher-learner relationship. Fourth, learning at scale: Achieving learning throughout an education system will require more than just scaling up effective interventions. Change requires overcoming technical and political barriers by deploying salient metrics for mobilizing actors and tracking progress, building coalitions for learning, and being adaptive when implementing programs.
  • Publication
    World Development Report 2014: Risk and Opportunity—Managing Risk for Development
    (Washington, DC, 2013-10-06) World Bank
    The past 25 years have witnessed unprecedented changes around the world—many of them for the better. Across the continents, many countries have embarked on a path of international integration, economic reform, technological modernization, and democratic participation. As a result, economies that had been stagnant for decades are growing, people whose families had suffered deprivation for generations are escaping poverty, and hundreds of millions are enjoying the benefits of improved living standards and scientific and cultural sharing across nations. As the world changes, a host of opportunities arise constantly. With them, however, appear old and new risks, from the possibility of job loss and disease to the potential for social unrest and environmental damage. If ignored, these risks can turn into crises that reverse hard-won gains and endanger the social and economic reforms that produced these gains. The World Development Report 2014 (WDR 2014), Risk and Opportunity: Managing Risk for Development, contends that the solution is not to reject change in order to avoid risk but to prepare for the opportunities and risks that change entails. Managing risks responsibly and effectively has the potential to bring about security and a means of progress for people in developing countries and beyond. Although individuals’ own efforts, initiative, and responsibility are essential for managing risk, their success will be limited without a supportive social environment—especially when risks are large or systemic in nature. The WDR 2014 argues that people can successfully confront risks that are beyond their means by sharing their risk management with others. This can be done through naturally occurring social and economic systems that enable people to overcome the obstacles that individuals and groups face, including lack of resources and information, cognitive and behavioral failures, missing markets and public goods, and social externalities and exclusion. These systems—from the household and the community to the state and the international community—have the potential to support people’s risk management in different yet complementary ways. The Report focuses on some of the most pressing questions policy makers are asking. What role should the state take in helping people manage risks? When should this role consist of direct interventions, and when should it consist of providing an enabling environment? How can governments improve their own risk management, and what happens when they fail or lack capacity, as in many fragile and conflict-affected states? Through what mechanisms can risk management be mainstreamed into the development agenda? And how can collective action failures to manage systemic risks be addressed, especially those with irreversible consequences? The WDR 2014 provides policy makers with insights and recommendations to address these difficult questions. It should serve to guide the dialogue, operations, and contributions from key development actors—from civil society and national governments to the donor community and international development organizations.
  • Publication
    World Development Report 2013: Jobs
    (Washington, DC, 2012-10) World Bank
    Jobs provide higher earnings and better benefits as countries grow, but they are also a driver of development. Poverty falls as people work their way out of hardship and as jobs empowering women lead to greater investments in children. Efficiency increases as workers get better at what they do, as more productive jobs appear, and less productive ones disappear. Societies flourish as jobs bring together people from different ethnic and social backgrounds and provide alternatives to conflict. Jobs are thus more than a byproduct of economic growth. They are transformational—they are what we earn, what we do, and even who we are. High unemployment and unmet job expectations among youth are the most immediate concerns. But in many developing countries, where farming and self-employment are prevalent and safety nets are modest at best, unemployment rates can be low. In these countries, growth is seldom jobless. Most of the poor work long hours but simply cannot make ends meet. And the violation of basic rights is not uncommon. Therefore, the number of jobs is not all that matters: jobs with high development payoffs are needed. Confronted with these challenges, policy makers ask difficult questions. Should countries build their development strategies around growth, or should they focus on jobs? Can entrepreneurship be fostered, especially among the many microenterprises in developing countries, or are entrepreneurs born? Are greater investments in education and training a prerequisite for employability, or can skills be built through jobs? In times of major crises and structural shifts, should jobs, not just workers, be protected? And is there a risk that policies supporting job creation in one country will come at the expense of jobs in other countries? The World Development Report 2013: Jobs offers answers to these and other difficult questions by looking at jobs as drivers of development—not as derived labor demand—and by considering all types of jobs—not just formal wage employment. The Report provides a framework that cuts across sectors and shows that the best policy responses vary across countries, depending on their levels of development, endowments, demography, and institutions. Policy fundamentals matter in all cases, as they enable a vibrant private sector, the source of most jobs in the world. Labor policies can help as well, even if they are less critical than is often assumed. Development policies, from making smallholder farming viable to fostering functional cities to engaging in global markets, hold the key to success.