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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Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
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    Measuring Social Capital : An Integrated Questionnaire
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2004) Grootaert, Grootaert ; Narayan, Deepa ; Nyhan Jones, Veronica ; Woolcock, Michael
    The idea of social capital has enjoyed a remarkable rise to prominence in both the theoretical and applied social science literature over the last decade. While lively debate has accompanied that journey, thereby helping to advance our thinking and to clarify areas of agreement and disagreement, much still remains to be done. One approach that we hope can help bring further advances for both scholars and practitioners is the provision of a set of empirical tools for measuring social capital. The purpose of this paper is to introduce such a tool-the Integrated Questionnaire for the Measurement of Social Capital (SC-IQ)-with a focus on applications in developing countries. The tool aims to generate quantitative data on various dimensions of social capital as part of a larger household survey (such as the Living Standards Measurement Survey or a household income/expenditure survey). Specifically, six dimensions are considered: groups and networks; trust and solidarity; collective action and cooperation; information and communication; social cohesion and inclusion; empowerment and political action. The paper addresses sampling and data collection issues for implementing the SC-IQ and provides guidance for the use and analysis of data. The tool has been pilot-tested in Albania and Nigeria and a review of lessons learned is presented.
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    Customary Law and Policy Reform : Engaging with the Plurality of Justice Systems
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2005) Chirayath, Leila ; Sage, Caroline ; Woolcock, Michael
    The importance of building effective legal and regulatory systems has long been recognized by development professionals, yet there have been few programmatic initiatives that have translated empirical evidence and political intention into sustained policy success. Justice sector reforms have frequently been based on institutional transplants, wherein 'successful� legal codes (constitutions, contract law, etc.) and institutions (courts, legal services organizations, etc.) of developed countries have been imported almost verbatim into developing countries, without thought of the country�s social and cultural situation. Further, the fact that most developing countries have customary legal systems is often overlooked by development practitioners. Many governments, however, have tried to engage with customary systems in one way or another, with differing results. This paper brings customary systems into central focus in the ongoing debate about legal and regulatory reform. It analyses the ongoing challenges and critiques of customary legal systems and examines why, despite these challenges, engaging with such systems is crucial to successful reform processes. It examines the ways customary systems have developed in three African Countries?Tanzania, Rwanda and South Africa?and draws out some of the lessons of these experiences and the implications they have for policy reform initiatives.
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    Role of Law and Justice in Achieving Gender Equality
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2012) Chiongson, Rea Abada ; Desai, Deval ; Marchiori, Teresa ; Woolcock, Michael
    The authors are grateful to a number of people who helped at various states in the drafting of this paper. In particular, Nicholas Menzies (Justice Reform Specialist, LEGJR) for his continuous support and extensive comments on earlier drafts; Milena Stefanova (Project Officer, LEGJR), Daniel Evans (Consultant, LEGJR) and Elizabeth Morgan (Development Practitioner, PNG-Australia Law and Justice Partnership, Village Courts & Land Mediation Secretariat, PNG Department of Justice & Attorney General) for their invaluable inputs and insights; Barry Walsh (Senior Justice Specialist, LEGJR), Harold Epineuse (Counsel, LEGJR), Richard Nash (Counsel, LEGJR) and Melissa Upreti (Center for Reproductive Rights) for their contributions and comments; Virginia Seitz (Senior Director, Social and Gender Assessment, Millennium Challenge Corporation) and Limpho Masekese Maema (Gender Coordinator, Gender Equality in Economic Rights Programme, Millenium Challenge Account- Lesotho) for their contribution to the drafting of the case study on Lesotho.