Publication: World Development Report 2021: Data for Better Lives
Files in English
Today’s unprecedented growth of data and their ubiquity in our lives are signs that the data revolution is transforming the world. And yet much of the value of data remains untapped. Data collected for one purpose have the potential to generate economic and social value in applications far beyond those originally anticipated. But many barriers stand in the way, ranging from misaligned incentives and incompatible data systems to a fundamental lack of trust. World Development Report 2021: Data for Better Lives explores the tremendous potential of the changing data landscape to improve the lives of poor people, while also acknowledging its potential to open back doors that can harm individuals, businesses, and societies. To address this tension between the helpful and harmful potential of data, this Report calls for a new social contract that enables the use and reuse of data to create economic and social value, ensures equitable access to that value, and fosters trust that data will not be misused in harmful ways. This Report begins by assessing how better use and reuse of data can enhance the design of public policies, programs, and service delivery, as well as improve market efficiency and job creation through private sector growth. Because better data governance is key to realizing this value, the Report then looks at how infrastructure policy, data regulation, economic policies, and institutional capabilities enable the sharing of data for their economic and social benefits, while safeguarding against harmful outcomes. The Report concludes by pulling together the pieces and offering an aspirational vision of an integrated national data system that would deliver on the promise of producing high-quality data and making them accessible in a way that promotes their safe use and reuse. By examining these opportunities and challenges, the Report shows how data can benefit the lives of all people, but particularly poor people in low- and middle-income countries.
“World Bank. 2021. World Development Report 2021: Data for Better Lives. © Washington, DC: World Bank. http://hdl.handle.net/10986/35218 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”
Other publications in this report series
PublicationWorld Development Report 2014: Risk and Opportunity—Managing Risk for Development(Washington, DC, 2013-10-06)The past 25 years have witnessed unprecedented changes around the world—many of them for the better. Across the continents, many countries have embarked on a path of international integration, economic reform, technological modernization, and democratic participation. As a result, economies that had been stagnant for decades are growing, people whose families had suffered deprivation for generations are escaping poverty, and hundreds of millions are enjoying the benefits of improved living standards and scientific and cultural sharing across nations. As the world changes, a host of opportunities arise constantly. With them, however, appear old and new risks, from the possibility of job loss and disease to the potential for social unrest and environmental damage. If ignored, these risks can turn into crises that reverse hard-won gains and endanger the social and economic reforms that produced these gains. The World Development Report 2014 (WDR 2014), Risk and Opportunity: Managing Risk for Development, contends that the solution is not to reject change in order to avoid risk but to prepare for the opportunities and risks that change entails. Managing risks responsibly and effectively has the potential to bring about security and a means of progress for people in developing countries and beyond. Although individuals’ own efforts, initiative, and responsibility are essential for managing risk, their success will be limited without a supportive social environment—especially when risks are large or systemic in nature. The WDR 2014 argues that people can successfully confront risks that are beyond their means by sharing their risk management with others. This can be done through naturally occurring social and economic systems that enable people to overcome the obstacles that individuals and groups face, including lack of resources and information, cognitive and behavioral failures, missing markets and public goods, and social externalities and exclusion. These systems—from the household and the community to the state and the international community—have the potential to support people’s risk management in different yet complementary ways. The Report focuses on some of the most pressing questions policy makers are asking. What role should the state take in helping people manage risks? When should this role consist of direct interventions, and when should it consist of providing an enabling environment? How can governments improve their own risk management, and what happens when they fail or lack capacity, as in many fragile and conflict-affected states? Through what mechanisms can risk management be mainstreamed into the development agenda? And how can collective action failures to manage systemic risks be addressed, especially those with irreversible consequences? The WDR 2014 provides policy makers with insights and recommendations to address these difficult questions. It should serve to guide the dialogue, operations, and contributions from key development actors—from civil society and national governments to the donor community and international development organizations.
PublicationWorld Development Report 2013: Jobs(Washington, DC, 2012-10)Jobs provide higher earnings and better benefits as countries grow, but they are also a driver of development. Poverty falls as people work their way out of hardship and as jobs empowering women lead to greater investments in children. Efficiency increases as workers get better at what they do, as more productive jobs appear, and less productive ones disappear. Societies flourish as jobs bring together people from different ethnic and social backgrounds and provide alternatives to conflict. Jobs are thus more than a byproduct of economic growth. They are transformational—they are what we earn, what we do, and even who we are. High unemployment and unmet job expectations among youth are the most immediate concerns. But in many developing countries, where farming and self-employment are prevalent and safety nets are modest at best, unemployment rates can be low. In these countries, growth is seldom jobless. Most of the poor work long hours but simply cannot make ends meet. And the violation of basic rights is not uncommon. Therefore, the number of jobs is not all that matters: jobs with high development payoffs are needed. Confronted with these challenges, policy makers ask difficult questions. Should countries build their development strategies around growth, or should they focus on jobs? Can entrepreneurship be fostered, especially among the many microenterprises in developing countries, or are entrepreneurs born? Are greater investments in education and training a prerequisite for employability, or can skills be built through jobs? In times of major crises and structural shifts, should jobs, not just workers, be protected? And is there a risk that policies supporting job creation in one country will come at the expense of jobs in other countries? The World Development Report 2013: Jobs offers answers to these and other difficult questions by looking at jobs as drivers of development—not as derived labor demand—and by considering all types of jobs—not just formal wage employment. The Report provides a framework that cuts across sectors and shows that the best policy responses vary across countries, depending on their levels of development, endowments, demography, and institutions. Policy fundamentals matter in all cases, as they enable a vibrant private sector, the source of most jobs in the world. Labor policies can help as well, even if they are less critical than is often assumed. Development policies, from making smallholder farming viable to fostering functional cities to engaging in global markets, hold the key to success.
PublicationWorld Development Report 2000/2001: Attacking Poverty(New York: Oxford University Press, 2001)This report focuses on the dimensions of poverty, and how to create a better world, free of poverty. The analysis explores the nature, and evolution of poverty, and its causes, to present a framework for action. The opportunity for expanding poor people's assets is addressed, arguing that major reductions in human deprivation are indeed possible, that economic growth, inequality, and poverty reduction, can be harnessed through economic integration, and technological change, dependent not only on the evolvement of markets, but on the choices for public action at the global, national, and local levels. Actions to facilitate empowerment include state institutional responsiveness in building social institutions which will improve well-being, and health, to allow increased income-earning potential, access to education, and eventual removal of social barriers. Security aspects are enhanced, by assessing risk management towards reducing vulnerability to economic crises, and natural disasters. The report expands on the dimensions of human deprivation, to include powerlessness and voicelessness, vulnerability and fear. International dimensions are explored, through global actions to fight poverty, analyzing global trade, capital flows, and how to reform development assistance to forge change in the livelihoods of the poor.
PublicationWorld Development Report 2015: Mind, Society, and Behavior(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015)Every policy relies on explicit or implicit assumptions about how people make choices. Those assumptions typically rest on an idealized model of how people think, rather than an understanding of how everyday thinking actually works. This year’s World Development Report argues that a more realistic account of decision-making and behavior will make development policy more effective. The Report emphasizes what it calls 'the three marks of everyday thinking.' In everyday thinking, people use intuition much more than careful analysis. They employ concepts and tools that prior experience in their cultural world has made familiar. And social emotions and social norms motivate much of what they do. These insights together explain the extraordinary persistence of some social practices, and rapid change in others. They also offer new targets for development policy. A richer understanding of why people save, use preventive health care, work hard, learn, and conserve energy provides a basis for innovative and inexpensive interventions. The insights reveal that poverty not only deprives people of resources but is an environment that shapes decision making, a fact that development projects across the board need to recognize. The insights show that the psychological foundations of decision making emerge at a young age and require social support. The Report applies insights from modern behavioral and social sciences to development policies for addressing poverty, finance, productivity, health, children, and climate change. It demonstrates that new policy ideas based on a richer view of decision-making can yield high economic returns. These new policy targets include: the choice architecture (for example, the default option); the scope for social rewards; frames that influence whether or not a norm is activated; information in the form of rules of thumb; opportunities for experiences that change mental models or social norms. Finally, the Report shows that small changes in context have large effects on behavior. As a result, discovering which interventions are most effective, and with which contexts and populations, inherently requires an experimental approach. Rigor is needed for testing the processes for delivering interventions, not just the products that are delivered.
PublicationWorld Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2016-01-13)The 2016 World Development Report shows that while the digital revolution has forged ahead, its “analog complements”—the regulations that promote entry and competition, the skills that enable workers to access and then leverage the new economy, and the institutions that are accountable to citizens—have not kept pace. And when these analog complements to digital investments are absent, the development impact can be disappointing.