Person:
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 June 24, 2023
Biography
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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    Trust, Voice, and Incentives : Learning from Local Success Stories in Service Delivery in the Middle East and North Africa
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015-04) Brixi, Hana ; Lust, Ellen ; Woolcock, Michael ; Alaref, Jumana ; Halabi, Samira ; Hebert, Luciana ; Linnemann, Hannah ; Quota, Manal
    This report examines the role of incentives, trust, and engagement as critical determinants of service delivery performance in MENA countries. Focusing on education and health, the report illustrates how the weak external and internal accountability undermines policy implementation and service delivery performance and how such a cycle of poor performance can be counteracted. Case studies of local success reveal the importance of both formal and informal accountability relationships and the role of local leadership in inspiring and institutionalizing incentives toward better service delivery performance. Enhancing services for MENA citizens requires forging a stronger social contract among public servants, citizens, and service providers while empowering communities and local leaders to find 'best fit' solutions. Learning from the variations within countries, especially the outstanding local successes, can serve as a solid basis for new ideas and inspiration for improving service delivery. Such learning may help the World Bank Group and other donors as well as national and local leaders and civil society, in developing ways to enhance the trust, voice, and incentives for service delivery to meet citizens’ needs and expectations.