World Development Report 2017: Governance and the Law

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.

  • Luis Felipe Calva

    Luis F. Lopez-Calva

    Luis F. López-Calva is the co-Director of the World Development Report 2017. He was previously Lead Economist and Regional Poverty Advisor in the Europe and Central Asia Region at The World Bank. Until 2013, he was Lead Economist at the Poverty, Equity and Gender Unit in the Latin America and Caribbean PREM Directorate, also at The World Bank. He served as Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean at UNDP from 2007 to 2010. He is a Fellow of the Human Development and Capabilities Association and is Associate Editor of the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities. López-Calva holds a Masters Degree in Economics from Boston University, and a Masters and a PhD in Economics from Cornell University. His publications and research interests focus on labor markets, poverty and inequality, institutions and development economics.
  • Yongmei Zhou

    Yongmei Zhou

    Yongmei Zhou is a co-Director of the World Development Report on Governance and the Law. She received her PhD in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley before joining the World Bank as a Young Professional in 1999. Her operational work was focused on governance reform and institutional development in Africa, South Asia and the fragile and conflict-affected states. Her analytical work was focused on the issues of corruption, legislature, decentralization, and service delivery.
  • Edouard Al-Dahdah

    Edouard Al-Dahdah

    Senior Public Sector Specialist
    Edouard Al-Dahdah is a Senior Public Sector Specialist who has worked at the World Bank since 2001, first in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Unit, then at the World Bank Institute, where he worked on governance and anticorruption diagnostics and empirics, and led the Political Economy team. From 2012 to 2015, he was the Senior Governance Specialist for Egypt, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, based in Cairo. He is the lead author of an upcoming regional flagship on the rule of law in MENA. He did his graduate work at the University of Chicago and Georgetown University, and his undergraduate work at the American University of Beirut.
  • Kimberly Blair Bolch

    Kimberly Bolch

    Research Analyst
    Kimberly Bolch is a Research Analyst with the World Development Report 2017. Previously she was a Junior Professional Associate in the Poverty Global Practice supporting research, dissemination and outreach for analytical work on poverty and inequality dynamics, gender equity, and distributional impacts of public policy in the Europe and Central Asia region. Prior to joining the World Bank, Kimberly worked as a Fulbright teaching assistant at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil. She holds a B.A. in International Studies from Washington University in St. Louis.
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    David Bulman

    David Bulman has been a consultant at the World Bank since 2011. He currently works as a core author on the 2017 World Development Report on Governance and the Law. He also holds a position as non-resident fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. David’s research looks at decentralization, governance, and economic development, with a particular emphasis on China. He received his B.A. in Economics from Columbia University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). In 2014-2015, he was the inaugural China Public Policy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ash Center.
  • Steve Commins

    Stephen Commins

    Stephen Commins is the Associate Director for Global Public Affairs and Lecturer in Urban Planning at the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA. Dr. Commins worked on World Development Report 2015, Mind, Society and Behavior and recently completed study of World Bank CDD programs in South Asia, and a project on 'cities, violence and order' with IDS/Sussex. He worked as the Senior Human Development Specialist in the Human Development Network and was a member of the World Development Report 2004 team. His recent work has focused on fragile states, disasters, and basic service delivery.
  • Lidi Cerlan

    Lidia Ceriani

    Lidia Ceriani has been a consultant at the World Bank since 2012. Before joining the World Development Report 2017 team, she worked at the Poverty Global Practice and in the Europe and Central Asia region on poverty measurement methodology, on the welfare impact of fiscal and social policies and on distributional analysis. Before joining the World Bank, Lidia was a lecturer at Bocconi University (2006-2012), and assistant editor for the Review of Income and Wealth (2008-2014). She has been a member of the Italian EUROMOD team since 2009. Her research interests are in the fields of Income Distribution, Poverty Measurement and the Welfare Effects of Public Policies.
  • Deborah-Isser

    Deborah Isser

    Lead Governance Advisor
    Deborah Isser is Lead Governance Advisor in Africa and Global Lead for Justice in the Governance Practice at the World Bank. She is an author of the World Development Report 2017, Governance and the Law. She joined the World Bank in 2011, and has served as Program Manager of the Justice for the Poor program and governance focal point for fragile and conflict-affected states. Previously, Deborah worked at the United States Institute of Peace, directing projects on legal pluralism and on land and conflict. She served as senior policy adviser at the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and special adviser on peacekeeping at the United States Mission to the United Nations. She is the editor of Customary Justice and the Rule of Law in War-Torn Societies (USIP Press 2011), and author of several reports, articles and book chapters on law, justice and development. Deborah served as adjunct faculty at Georgetown and George Washington Law Schools. She received degrees from Harvard Law School, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Columbia University.
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    Märt Kivine

    Senior Program Officer
    Märt Kivine, senior program officer, is handling partner relations, outreach activities and production of the World Development Report. Previously worked with the World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends, and at the World Bank Board, as an Advisor and Senior Advisor to the Executive Director (2010-2014). Before joining the Bank, made a career in national civil service in Estonia, serving as a Counsellor at the Ministry of Finance (2006–2010), advisor to the President of Estonia (2007-2010) and political Advisor of the Foreign Ministry (1999–2001). He also worked as Director and Deputy Director of Governments European Integration Office (2001-2003), Director of the Performance Audit Unit in the State Audit Institution (2004-2005).
  • Marco Larizza

    Marco Larizza

    Senior Public Sector Specialist
    Marco Larizza, Senior Public Sector Specialist at the World Bank, led the design of lending operations and analytical works on public sector management and decentralization reforms. Before joining the Bank as Young Professional in 2009, Marco worked for IDEA, UNDP and GIZ on democratic governance assessments. Marco held visiting scholar positions at the Center for Latin American Studies, Georgetown University and the Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolution, University of Essex (UK). He has published on peer-reviewed journals, and contributed chapters to a range of policy reports. He received his PhD and MA in Political Science from the University of Essex (UK), and his MA in Development Economics from the University of Bologna (Italy).
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    Bradley Larson

    Bradley Larson will be contributing to the chapters on conflict and institutional change and will help to improve empirical measurement of governance. Last year, he worked on the governance and public services chapter of WDR 2016. Previously, he worked for the World Bank’s Public Sector Governance Unit, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
  • Annamaria Milazz

    Annamaria Milazzo

    Annamaria Milazzo holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Bocconi University. Prior to joining the WDR 2017 team, she was a post-doctoral researcher in the Development Research Group of the World Bank. Her research explores how social norms and parental gender preferences shape individual behavior with impacts on human development outcomes for women and children in developing countries. Before starting her Ph.D., she worked for the World Bank in the Social Protection & Labor unit from 2005 to 2009.
  • Ezequlel Molina

    Ezequiel Molina

    Ezequiel Molina is an economist at the World Bank. Before joining the World Development Report 2017, he worked for the Service Delivery Indicator Team and the World Bank’s Africa Region Gender Innovation Lab. He has also been a Visiting Scholar at the Inter American Developing Bank, working on evaluation of institutional reforms as well as on social accountability issues. His research interests include institutional reform, service delivery, political economy of redistribution, and measurement issues. Ezequiel holds a PhD in Political Economy from Princeton University, and a B.A. and M.A. in Economics from La Plata National University (Argentina).
  • Bronagh Murphy

    Brónagh Murphy

    Senior Program Assistant
    Brónagh Murphy has been the Senior Program Assistant for the office of World Development Report since 2009. She coordinates and provides technical and logistical support in the planning, production, and launch of the Report. Brónagh has also worked in the World Bank Institute, the Quality Assurance Group, and the Bank's Africa Region.
  • Abla Safir

    Abla Safir

    Abla Safir is an Economist at the World Bank. She has conducted analytical and operational work in the topics of labor markets, skills, social protection, and service delivery in Europe and Central Asia and in the Middle East and North Africa. Abla has been with the Bank since 2010, working as a Consultant until 2012, when she entered the Young Professionals Program. Prior to that, Abla was an Economist at the OECD, where she led a work program on migration. Abla holds a PhD in Economics from the Paris School of Economics and M.A. degrees from HEC Business School and ENSAE Graduate School of Economics, Statistics and Finance in Paris.
  • Siddharth Sharma

    Siddharth Sharma

    Siddharth Sharma is an economist at the World Bank, specializing in issues of firm-level productivity growth and innovation, business regulation, and the functioning of labor markets in developing countries. His research has been published in peer-reviewed economics journal, and he has also contributed chapters to a number of World Bank policy reports, including regional flagship reports on youth employment in Africa and population aging in Europe and Central Asia. Siddharth has an MA in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics, and a Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University. He has been with the World Bank since 2006.
  • Jason Victor

    Jason Victor

    Program Assistant
    Jason Victor is a Program Assistant with the office of World Development Report at the World Bank. He provides technical and logistical support in the planning, production, and launch of the Report. Jason has been with the Bank for 16 years and has worked on 12 previous WDRs. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering.

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World Development Report 2017