World Development Report 2019: The Changing Nature of Work

Work is constantly reshaped by technological progress. New ways of production are adopted, markets expand, and societies evolve. But some changes provoke more attention than others, in part due to the vast uncertainty involved in making predictions about the future.

The 2019 World Development Report studies how the nature of work is changing as a result of advances in technology today.

While technology improves overall living standards, the process can be disruptive. A new social contract is needed to smooth the transition and guard against rising inequality. As a first priority, significant investments in human capital throughout a person’s lifecycle are vital to this effort.  If workers are to stay competitive against machines they need to be able to retool existing skills or be better trained from the start.

More information and better measurement of human capital is needed. How much human capital can a child born today expect to attain by the end of secondary school, given the risks of poor health and poor education that prevail in the country where she was born? The World Bank’s recently-launched Human Capital Project (HCP), seeks to answer this question through a new global benchmark—the Human Capital Index (HCI). The HCP is also comprised of a program of measurement and research to inform policy action, and a program of support for country strategies to accelerate investment in human capital.

In addition to investments in human capital, the changing nature of work demands updates to social protection systems. Traditional provisions of social protection based on steady wage employment, clear definitions of employers and employees, as well as a fixed point of retirement become increasingly obsolete. Improved private sector policies to encourage startup activity and competition can also help countries to compete in the digital age.

Governments will need additional revenues to fund the investments demanded by the changing nature of work. Governments can create fiscal space through a mix of additional revenues from existing taxes (increases in rates or widening of the tax base), the introduction of new taxes, and improvements in tax administration.

The 2019 World Development Report  presents an analysis of these issues based upon the available evidence. And, for the first time, the World Bank is preparing that analysis in a transparent manner. The Report’s authors share the draft on a weekly basis so that you can follow along as they write and rewrite, responding to new information and ideas as they reach the team.

This is a unique collaborative experiment by the World Bank. Please join in the conversation — to find out more, read the WDR 2019 Working Draft. See the summary of the main issues.

Updated materials are uploaded every Friday at 5pm (EST).

Read the overview in 中文 

  • Simeon Djankov

    Simeon Djankov

    Simeon Djankov, director of the WDR 2019, was deputy prime minister and minister of finance of Bulgaria from 2009 to 2013. Prior to his cabinet appointment, Djankov was chief economist of the finance and private sector vice presidency of the World Bank. In his 15 years at the Bank, he worked on regional trade agreements in North Africa, enterprise restructuring and privatization in transition economies, corporate governance in East Asia, and regulatory reforms around the world. He is the founder of the World Bank's Doing Business project. He is author of Inside the Euro Crisis: An Eyewitness Account (2014) and principal author of the World Development Report 2002. He is also coeditor of The Great Rebirth: Lessons from the Victory of Capitalism over Communism (2014) and Europe’s Growth Challenge (2017). Djankov was previously director of the Financial Markets Group at the London School of Economics, rector of the New Economic School in Russia and a visiting lecturer at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He was chairman of the Board of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 2012–13. He obtained his doctorate in economics in 1997 from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
  • Federica Saliola

    Federica Saliola

    Federica is Director of the World Development Report 2019. Prior to this position, she was a Manager in the Development Economics Global Indicators Group. In that role, she was responsible for developing global programs with a focus on policies and regulations across a number of thematic areas, including agriculture and agribusiness, skills, information and communication technology, public procurement and PPPs. Under her intellectual leadership, nine World Bank global reports have been published since 2014, including the Enabling the Business of Agriculture (2015, 2016, and 2017), Benchmarking Public procurement (2015, 2016, and 2017) and Procuring Infrastructure PPPs (2015, 2017, and 2018). She has published in peer-reviewed journals, including studies on firm productivity, global value chains, and the impact of regulation on growth and competition. She has also contributed to a number of World Bank reports, including the Environment for Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa Region; Golden Growth: Restoring the Luster of the European Economic Model; the Jobs Study - Assessing Private Sector Contributions to Job Creation and Poverty Reduction; and the Turkey Investment Climate Assessment: from Crisis to Private Sector Led Growth. She holds a PhD in Economics and a Laurea in Political Science from the University of Rome, la Sapienza.
  • Rong Chen

    Rong Chen

    Principal Author
    Rong Chen is an Economist on the 2019 World Development Report team. She primarily works on financial and private sector development issues since she joined the World Bank Group in 2012. She led the finance team of the Enabling the Business of Agriculture project, measuring regulatory environment related to agricultural finance and financial inclusion in more than 60 countries (2014-2017). She also worked in the Doing Business project, co-authored the Doing Business 2013 and 2014 reports, and led the data analysis for the Doing Business in g7+ (fragile and conflict affected countries) report. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, she worked as an investment consultant for a US Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) and as a research fellow at the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development in Geneva, Switzerland. Rong holds a Master of Public Administration degree with concentration on Economic Policy and Sustainable Finance from Cornell University and a Bachelor's degree on Liberal Arts from Renmin University of China.
  • Davida Connon

    Davida Connon

    Principal Author
    Davida Connon is a Private Sector Development Specialist with the 2019 World Development Report team. Since joining the World Bank Group (WBG) in 2014, she has worked primarily on matters relating to international trade and market access, particularly in the agricultural sector. With the WBG Enabling the Business of Agriculture project, she led an assessment of regulations impacting agricultural trade in over 60 countries. She was also involved in an assessment of market structures and regulatory and institutional frameworks in the Southern Caucasus countries, to explore opportunities for private sector development. Davida is an International Trade Attorney (2009) by training. Prior to joining the WBG, Davida worked at a prominent global law firm in both Geneva and Washington, DC, as well as the World Trade Organization and the European Commission. She completed her Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) at the University of Glasgow and her Masters (LL.M.) at Harvard University.
  • Ana Cusolito

    Ana P. Cusolito

    Principal Author
    Ana P. Cusolito is a Senior Economist at the FCI GP. She conducts analytical work on firm-level productivity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. She also provides technical support to lending operations, mainly through the design, implementation, and impact evaluation of entrepreneurial programs. Beyond FCI, Ana is currently co-leading work on productivity with EFI Chief Economist. Before working at the Bank, she worked for the Government of Argentina and at the Trade Department and Central American Department of the Inter-American Development Bank as a Trade Economist and Country Economist, respectively. Ana has several years of teaching experience both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Universitat Pompeu Fabra and has published articles in the Journal of Development, Journal of Development Effectiveness, IZA Journal of Labor and Development, and Journal of Banking and Financial Economics.
  • Ugo Gentilini

    Ugo Gentilini

    Principal Author
    Ugo Gentilini is a Senior Economist with the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank Group. Over the past 15 years, he worked extensively on the analytics and practice of social protection, including in relation to urbanization, economic crises, labor markets, subsidy reforms, fragility and displacement, resilience and disaster risk management, food security and nutrition, and human development. He researched and worked on a wide range of social assistance and activation interventions – e.g., wage subsidies, public works, food subsidies, cash transfers, universal basic income, negative income tax, guaranteed minimum income, and voucher programs – including in contexts as diverse as Greece, Romania, China, Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and Sudan. Ugo holds a PhD in economics and has a monthly column, ‘What’s new in social protection’, on the Bank’s LTD blog.
  • Asif Islam

    Asif Islam

    Principal Author
    Asif Islam is an economist on the 2019 World Development Report team. His research focuses on private sector development. He has published in peer-reviewed journals on several dimensions of the private sector including entrepreneurship, technology, crime, informality, and gender. He has also published on fiscal policy, environment, and agriculture. Before joining the team, he was with the World Bank Enterprise Analysis unit in the Development Economics Indicators Group where he oversaw firm-level data collection. He also co-authored several reports including What's Holding Back the Private Sector in MENA? Lessons from the Enterprise Survey, Sweden's Business Climate: A Microeconomic Assessment Report, and Uncharted Waters: The New Economics of Water Scarcity and Variability. He holds a PhD in Applied Economics from the University of Maryland-College Park, and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Computer Science from Macalester College.
  • Shwetlena Sabarwal

    Shwetlena Sabarwal

    Principal Author
    Shwetlena Sabarwal is a senior economist in the Education Global Practice of the World Bank. She works on Education Economics and Labor Markets. In education, her research is on learning measurement, teacher and student effort, results-based financing, and private schools. In labor markets, her work has focused on entrepreneurship, public works, and the role of networks. She was a core team member of World Development Report 2018 on ‘Learning to Realize Education’s Promise’. Shwetlena has led World Bank’s education engagement in Tanzania, Bangladesh, and Nepal. She has led multiple education impact evaluations in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Uganda, and Tanzania. She holds a PhD in Applied Economics from University of Minnesota in 2008.
  • Indhira Santos

    Indhira Santos

    Principal Author
    Indhira Santos is a Senior Economist at the World Bank, where she works on labor markets, skills and social protection. She was a core team member of the 2016 World Development Report “Digital Dividends”. She is current working in the Africa Region, and has also worked in the Europe and Central Asia and South Asia Regions, after joining the Bank as a Young Professional in 2009. Prior to joining the World Bank, she was a Research Fellow at Bruegel, a European policy think tank in Brussels, between 2007 and 2009. She has also worked for the Economic Research Center of the PUCMM University and the Ministry of Finance (Dominican Republic). She was a Fulbright scholar at Harvard University, where she obtained her PhD in Public Policy and a Masters in Public Administration in International Development.
  • David Sharrock

    David Sharrock

    David Sharrock is a Senior Communications Officer who joined the CEO’s office last year. He previously worked for the European Commission in Brussels as Communications Advisor and Spokesperson. He has worked for the UN in South Sudan and New York. He was a journalist for many years, working as a foreign correspondent and bureau chief in the Middle East, Madrid and Ireland for The Guardian and The Times. He has Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Cambridge.
  • Consuelo Jurado Tan

    Consuelo Jurado Tan

    Program Assistant
    Consuelo Tan is Program Assistant for the WDR 2019. She directly supports the Co-Directors of the WDR 2019 and provides logistical support to the entire team. She was formerly an Executive Assistant at the IFC, supporting the office of the EVP and Managing Director from 1999-2005. She has also worked as a Program Analyst for the IFC’s Access to Finance unit.
  • Yucheng Zheng

    Yucheng Zheng

    Principal Author
    Yucheng Zheng is an Operations Analyst at Global Indicators Group of Development Economics. Prior to joining the World Development Report 2019 team, she worked for the Enabling the Business of Agriculture project of the World Bank, developing global datasets and reports on road transport and agricultural trade. Previously, she had professional experience with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in New York, and an investment management company in Beijing. She holds an MPA degree in Finance and Economic Policy from Cornell University, and a bachelor's degree in Economics and Korean Studies from Peking University.

    The World Bank Group is engaging extensively with civil society, foundations, youth and women’s groups, business groups and other multilateral organizations in the preparation of the 2019 WDR. This page will be updated periodically with further details of  past and future consultations.

    March 9:  Vienna—Chamber of Labor and the Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs

    April 27: Brussels—European Commission (DG Empl and EPSC)

    May 7–8: Berlin—International Policy Workshop "Addressing the Changing Nature of Work" organized by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

    May 24: Geneva—International Labour Organization

    May 25: Geneva—United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, International Telecommunication Union, and World Trade Organization

    May 27: London—International Trade Union Confederation

    May 31: Geneva—Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs

    May 31: Paris—OECD - Seminar and Meetings 

    June 4: New Delhi—Seminar and Meetings with Government, CSOs, Academia and other interested stakeholders

    June 5–7:  Beijing and Hangzhou—Workshop and Meetings with Government, Academia and Private Sector Stakeholders

    June 7–8: Washington, DC—International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

    June 8: Tokyo—Roundtable with Academia, CSOs and Policy Makers and Meetings with Ministry of Finance and Japan International Cooperation Agency

    June 11: Sofia—Roundtable with Academia, CSOs and Policy Makers 

    June 21: London—Department for International Development

    June 22: London—European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

    June 26: Washington, DC—Meeting with USAID

    July 2: New York—Meeting with representatives from UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, UN Women and ILO

    July 5: Amsterdam, academia

    July 6: The Hague, government and business association
                 Vilnius, government and academia

    July 11: Tbilisi, Georgia

    July 13: Nairobi, stakeholders roundtable

    July 31–August 1: New Delhi—government

    August 3: Colombo, Sri Lanka—government

    August 28–29: Romania—NGOs, international institutions, diplomatic corps

    September 3–4: Senegal—government, NGOs

    September 5–6: Amsterdam and The Hague—government


    Human capital consists of the knowledge, skills and health that people accumulate over their lives, enabling them to realize their potential as productive members of society. Human capital has large payoffs for economic growth - between ten and 30 percent of per capita income differences is attributable to cross-country differences in human capital.

    Credible measurement of education and health outcomes raises the importance of human capital for policy makers everywhere. Measurement spurs the demand for policy interventions to build human capital in countries where governments are not doing enough. Good measurement is essential to developing research and analysis to inform the design of policies that improve human capital. With this goal in mind, the World Bank has launched the Human Capital Project—a program of advocacy, measurement, and analytical work to raise awareness and increase demand for interventions to build human capital. The Human Capital Project has three components: (i) a cross-country metric—the Human Capital Index, (ii) a program of measurement and research to inform policy action, and (iii) a program of support for country strategies to accelerate investment in human capital. See the summary of the Human Capital Project and explore the methodology of the Human Capital Index.

    WDR 2019 Competition
    WDR 2019 competition
    The three best examples will be awarded prizes of $5,000 and be considered for inclusion in the final report.
    See competition guidelines and apply

    Have a question, input, or an idea? Send us an e-mail!

    World Development Report 2019