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 - 4 of 4
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    Assessing Social Exclusion and Mobility in Brazil
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2005) Marió, Estanislao Gacitúa ; Woolcock, Michael ; von Bulow, Marisa
    Inequality, exclusion and lack of mobility are unfortunate characteristics of life for Brazil's poorest and minority citizens. It is a pervasive and debilitating problem that is perceived to be the result of fair rules but poor administration. Policy changes are needed to ensure fair opportunities for everyone. These include ensuring fair access to labor markets, facilitating access to assets such as land, expanding and improving social security, building human capital, focusing on youth, decreasing race inequality and discrimination, and strengthening participation and citizenship.
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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.
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    Social Exclusion and Mobility in Brazil
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2008) Gacitúa Marió, Estanislao ; Woolcock, Michael
    This book examines issues related to reducing inequality in Brazil. As the volume's editors assert with authority, the current national political climate in Brazil provides an unprecedented space for discussing this topic. Among the several investigations that have looked at exclusion and social mobility in Brazil, very few have presented as much empirical evidence as the studies included in this volume. In addition to reviewing the pertinent literature, Social Exclusion and Mobility in Brazil examines the changing income dynamics among homogeneous groups over a 20-year period. The analysis points to factors-such as ethnicity, education, gender, occupation, and location-that affect the probability that a group will remain in the situation of poverty. The volume also examines Brazilians' perceptions of these circumstances and the cultural values that make coexistence possible given very high levels of inequality and low levels of mobility. It reveals that Brazilians expect the state-and only the state-to create mechanisms capable of transforming this situation. This volume presents a set of recommendations for discussion by citizens, academics, and policy makers. These topics include improving labor market equality and increasing access to assets; improving the social security system; supporting the formation of human capital, particularly among youth; reducing discrimination based on characteristics such as race and gender; and strengthening citizenship and participation.
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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.