Woolcock, Michael

Development Research Group
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Social development, Research methods, Institutions, Poverty, Community Driven Development, Governance, Conflict
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Last updated June 24, 2023
Michael Woolcock is the lead social scientist in the Development Research Group at the World Bank, where he has worked since 1998. For 14 of these years he has also taught (part-time) at Harvard Kennedy School, with periods of leave spent at the University of Cambridge (2002) and the University of Manchester (2007–09). In 2015-17 he also helped establish the World Bank’s first Knowledge and Research Hub, in Kuala Lumpur. His current research focuses on strategies for enhancing the effectiveness of policy implementation, extending work addressed in his recent book, Building State Capability: Evidence, Analysis, Action (with Matt Andrews and Lant Pritchett; Oxford University Press, 2017). Michael is a co-recipient of the American Sociological Association’s awards for best book (2012) and best article (2014) on economic development.
Citations 433 Scopus

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    Legal Pluralism and Equity: Some Reflections on Land Reform in Cambodia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-04) Adler, Daniel ; Porter, Doug ; Woolcock, Michael
    Institutional reforms in contemporary Cambodia are being undertaken in an environment characterized by pervasive legal pluralism the not uncommon situation in which numerous, contradictory and competing sets of rules and norms regulate social, economic and political relationships. The international development community has a long and unhappy history of engagement with such environments. This is not simply because the links between substantive policy and institutional arrangements in the 'transition to democracy' are many, uncertain and highly contingent. It is also the case because the formal precepts of liberal democracy as codified in new laws and regulations are often inconsistent with prevailing social norms and administrative practices. In fact, they may be fundamentally at odds with the interests of economic and political elites who have an interest in contesting, neutralizing or capturing institutions created under the new legal framework.