This site serves as an introduction to the World Development Report 2017 which will be launched in January 2017.
The World Development Report (WDR) 2017 seeks to shed light on how a better understanding of governance can bring about more effective policy interventions to achieve sustainable improvements in development outcomes.
The Report makes three main arguments. First, it illustrates how for policies to achieve development outcomes, institutions must perform three key functions: enable credible commitment, enhance coordination, and induce cooperation. Thus, laws and institutional forms matter only to the extent that they are able to generate these functions to induce the behavior of actors necessary to implement desired policies.
Second, the Report argues that the effective performance of these three functions is shaped by the policy arena through which state and non-state actors interact to design and implement policies. Specifically, the relative power of different actors in the arena is critical to enabling — or constraining — policy effectiveness. Unhealthy power asymmetries can lead to persistent policy failure through exclusion, capture and clientelism. Ideally law serves to provide checks and balances on the exercise of power, but often either reflects the interests of the powerful, or gives way to informal deals.
Third, the Report examines how the agency of elites, citizens and international actors can reshape the policy arena to expand the set of effective implementable policies. Ultimately this requires changes in the incentives of actors to pursue reforms, a shift in actors’ preferences and beliefs, and changes in the way decision making occurs to enable contestability by marginalized actors. Law can be a powerful instrument to reshape the policy arena by changing payoffs that in turn affect incentives, by enhancing focal points around which coordination can occur, and by increasing contestability by under-represented actors.