Michael Woolcock is Lead Social Scientist in the World Bank's Development Research Group, where he was worked since 1998. For twelve years he has also been a (part-time) Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. His current research focuses on strategies for enhancing state capability for implementation, on crafting more effective interaction between informal and formal justice systems, and on using mixed methods to assess the effectiveness of "complex" development interventions. In addition to more than 75 journal articles and book chapters, he is the co-author or co-editor of ten books, including Contesting Development: Participatory Projects and Local Conflict Dynamics in Indonesia (with Patrick Barron and Rachael Diprose; Yale University Press 2011), which was a co-recipient of the 2012 best book prize by the American Sociological Association's section on international development, and, most recently, Building State Capability: Evidence, Analysis, Action (with Matt Andrews and Lant Pritchett; Oxford University Press 2017). He has recently returned from 18 months in Malaysia, where he helped establish the World Bank’s first Global Knowledge and Research Hub. An Australian national, he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Queensland, and has an MA and PhD in sociology from Brown University.
Recent successes at reducing extreme poverty mean countries must now tackle increasingly complex tasks to sustain their momentum. Building state capability will be the defining challenge for development in the decades to come.
Matt Andrews, Lant Pritchett, and Michael Woolcock
This 2017 book presents clear, evidence-based analysis of development failures and explains why development failures persist. It’s not just a critique; it offers a way of doing things differently. Readers can use the tools presented to personalize and apply these ideas to their own context. Open Access (Free Download)
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