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Woolcock, Michael

Development Research Group
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Social development, Research methods, Institutions, Poverty, Community Driven Development, Governance, Conflict
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Development Research Group
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Last updated: October 24, 2023
Biography
Michael Woolcock is Lead Social Scientist in the World Bank's Development Research Group, where he was worked since 1998. For sixteen of these years he has also been an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. His research focuses on strategies for enhancing state capability for implementation, on crafting more effective interaction between informal and formal justice systems, and on using mixed methods to better understand the effectiveness of "complex" development interventions. In addition to more than 100 journal articles and book chapters, he is the co-author or co-editor of thirteen books, including Contesting Development: Participatory Projects and Local Conflict Dynamics in Indonesia (with Patrick Barron and Rachael Diprose; Yale University Press 2011 – a co-recipient of the 2012 best book prize by the American Sociological Association's section on international development), Building State Capability: Evidence, Analysis, Action (with Matt Andrews and Lant Pritchett; Oxford University Press 2017), and co-lead author (with Samuel Freije-Rodriquez) of the World Bank’s Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report 2020: Reversals of Fortune. He was the Von Hugel Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge (2002), a founding member of the Brooks World Poverty Institute (now the Global Development Institute) at the University of Manchester (2006-2009) and of the World Bank’s first Global Knowledge and Research Hub, in Malaysia (2015-2017). An Australian national, he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Queensland, and has an MA and PhD in comparative-historical sociology from Brown University.
Citations 443 Scopus

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Toward Successful Development Policies: Insights from Research in Development Economics

2020-01, Artuc, Erhan, Cull, Robert, Dasgupta, Susmita, Fattal, Roberto, Filmer, Deon, Gine, Xavier, Jacoby, Hanan, Jolliffe, Dean, Kee, Hiau Looi, Klapper, Leora, Kraay, Aart, Loayza, Norman, Mckenzie, David, Ozler, Berk, Rao, Vijayendra, Rijkers, Bob, Schmukler, Sergio L., Toman, Michael, Wagstaff, Adam, Woolcock, Michael

What major insights have emerged from development economics in the past decade, and how do they matter for the World Bank? This challenging question was recently posed by World Bank Group President David Malpass to the staff of the Development Research Group. This paper assembles a set of 13 short, nontechnical briefing notes prepared in response to this request, summarizing a selection of major insights in development economics in the past decade. The notes synthesize evidence from recent research on how policies should be designed, implemented, and evaluated, and provide illustrations of what works and what does not in selected policy areas.