Development Economics

The Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC) increases understanding of development policies and programs by providing intellectual leadership and analytical services to the Bank and the development community.

DEC is the premier research and data arm of the World Bank. 

Under the leadership of the Vice President and World Bank Group Chief Economist Carmen M. Reinhart, DEC sets the Bank's research agenda and advises Bank Management on a wide range of development policy issues. DEC also advises policy makers on development challenges and helps to promote development issues within the broad development community.

DEC's main business lines are:

  • Development Data (international statistics, statistical capacity building and results monitoring)
  • Development Research (research and knowledge creation)
  • Global Indicators (cross-country comparable measures on a range of policy issues)
  • Impact Evalution (generates high-quality and operationally relevant data and research to transform development policy, help reduce extreme poverty, and secure shared prosperity)
Vice President and World Bank Group Chief Economist

Carmen Reinhart

Vice President and World Bank Group Chief Economist
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Violence without Borders: The Internationalization of Crime and Conflict

As the challenges faced by countries and areas impacted by fragility, conflict and violence threaten to reverse decades of progress and development, the need for regional and international coordination and collaboration to foster stability and the rule of law is greater than ever.

Development Policy and COVID-19 | eSeminar Series

This seminar series hosted by the World Bank's Development Research Group brings leading economists, public health experts, and other social scientists together with World Bank Group researchers to discuss emerging research on COVID-19 and its implications for development policy.

Using data to fight the pandemic and accompanying infodemic
Costs and Trade-Offs in the Fight Against the COVID-19 Pandemic : A Developing Country Perspective

The world is experiencing the worst pandemic crisis in one hundred years. The economic fallout has been immense, with dire consequences for poverty and welfare, particularly in developing countries. This Brief first documents the global economic contraction and its potential impact on developing countries regarding macroeconomic performance, poverty rates, and incomes of the poor and vulnerable.

Image of the ABCDE 2020 Demonstrators in Brazil
Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics 2021: Global Unrest

The conference is postponed to June 24-25, 2021 at World Bank Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The theme of the conference will be "Global Unrest".

The Impact of COVID-19 in Latin America

The public health threat from COVID-19 is the most serious from a respiratory infection since the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic (Ferguson et al. 2020). COVID-19 is the fifth pandemic in the last 20 years and the ninth pandemic in the last century.

The cover image is a screen capture of an interactive visualization depicting the flow of international trade, with each dot representing US$1 billion in value. The interactive map was created by data visualization expert Max Galka, from his Metrocosm blog: Used with the permission of Max Galka; further permission required for reuse.
World Development Report 2020
Trading for Development in the Age of Global Value Chains

This report examines whether there is still a path to development through GVCs and trade. It concludes that technological change is at this stage more a boon than a curse. GVCs can continue to boost growth, create better jobs, and reduce poverty provided that developing countries implement deeper reforms to promote GVC participation, industrial countries pursue open, predictable policies, and all countries revive multilateral cooperation.


Data Spotlight

Journals & Digests
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    World Bank Research Observer

    The World Bank Research Observer seeks to inform nonspecialist readers about research being undertaken within the Bank and outside the Bank in areas of economics relevant for development policy.
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    World Bank Economic Review

    The World Bank Economic Review encourages and supports innovative theoretical and empirical research in the field of development economics.
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    World Bank Research Digest

    The World Bank Research Digest is a quarterly publication that communicates the findings of research relevant for development policy in an accessible and timely way.

  • Mobile Data Apps

    For iOS and Android
  • ADePT

    Software platform for automated economic analysis
  • iSimulate

    Platform for performing macroeconomic simulations
  • PovCalNet

    Poverty Analysis Tool assess global poverty incidence figures
  • Informality Scenario Analysis

    Project the size of formal and informal labor in almost 100 countries yearly until 2030
  • CAPI

    Software for conducting complex surveys with dynamic structures using tablet devices



Regional Knowledge Hubs
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    The Global Knowledge and Research Hub in Malaysia is a regional center of excellence for research on key areas of economic development, spanning economic growth and risk management to program evaluation and the implementation of key public services.
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    The Research and Development Center in Chile conducts research on financial sector development and generates knowledge to inform policymakers, practitioners, and the academic community.


The Development Data Group puts data to work for development. We deliver for World Bank Gr​oup clients and our staff by improving​ the quality, accessibility and use of development data through innovation, solid technical expertise and​ effective partnerships​​.

What We Do
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    Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals

    The Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2018 presents maps, charts, and stories related to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. It discusses trends, comparisons, and measurement issues using accessible and shareable data visualizations.
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    World Development Indicators

    The World Development Indicators is a compilation of relevant, high-quality, and internationally comparable statistics about global development and the fight against poverty. The database contains 1,600 time series indicators for 217 economies and more than 40 country groups, with data for many indicators going back more than 50 years.
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    International Debt Statistics

    Focuses on financial flows, trends in external debt, and other major financial indicators for low- and middle-income countries. Includes over 200 time series indicators from 1970 to 2017, for most reporting countries, and pipeline data for scheduled debt service payments on existing commitments to 2024.
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    International Comparison Program (ICP)

    The ICP is a worldwide statistical initiative led by the World Bank under the auspices of the United Nations Statistical Commission, with the main objective of providing comparable price and volume measures of gross domestic product (GDP) and its expenditure aggregates among countries within and across regions.
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    Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS)

    The Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) is a household survey program housed within the Survey Unit of the World Bank's Development Data Group that provides technical assistance to national statistical offices (NSOs) in the design and implementation of multi-topic household surveys.
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    Survey Solutions

    Survey Solutions is free software developed in the Data group of The World Bank and is a globally trusted platform for data collection used by data collecting agencies in 145 countries
  • Big Data

    The Big Data team provides a resource for World Bank staff to incorporate big data techniques such as AI and machine learning into their operational work.
  • Databank/Data Catalog

    The DataBank/Data Catalog makes World Bank's development data easy to find, download, use, analyze, visualize and share.
  • Development Data Council

    The Development Data Council provides governance and coordination for the World Bank’s vision, priorities and activities related to development data.
  • Economic Statistics

    The Economic Statistics team provides capacity building to client countries on their Systems of National Accounts
  • Geospatial Data

    The Geospatial Data team supports the World Bank in integrating geospatial data into their operations for development impact.
  • Microdata Library

    The Microdata Library shares data collected through sample surveys of households, business establishments or other facilities.
  • PovcalNet

    PovcalNet is the source of, and allows users to replicate, the Bank's official global, regional and internationally comparable economy level poverty estimates.
  • Statistical Capacity Building

    The Statistical Capacity Building team develops the Statistical Capacity Indicator (SCI), which ranks the relative strength of each country’s respective statistical abilities.

Haishan Fu

Director, Development Data Group



Data Privacy & Open Data: Getting to Coexistence?

Join global experts Jeni Tennison, CEO of the Open Data Institute, and Gus Hosein, Executive Director of Privacy International for a discussion about whether and how responsible data protection and open data can co-exist, and what this might mean for global development. 



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Located within the Development Economics Vice Presidency, the Development Research Group is the World Bank's principal research department. With its cross-cutting expertise on a broad range of topics and countries, the department is one of the most influential centers of development research in the world.

Our experts are often cited by the media, the academic community, and other stake holders interested in international development. Our researchers also provide support to the World Bank's Regions and Global Practices to help ensure that the institution's policy advice is firmly grounded in current knowledge. 

The department produces the majority of the World Bank’s research and enjoys a high international profile. The work of our researchers appears in academic journals, the Policy Research Working Papers, books, blogs, and special publications such as the Policy Research Reports.

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    Policy Research Reports

    The Policy Research Report series synthesizes the findings of World Bank research on development policy for a broad audience. The reports contribute to the debate on appropriate public policies for developing economies.
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    Global Financial Development Reports

    The Global Financial Development Report series provide a unique contribution to financial sector policy debates, building on novel data, surveys, research, and wide-ranging country experience, with an emphasis on emerging markets and developing economies.
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    Books by World Bank researchers cover the full breadth of international development policy issues.
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    Working Papers

    The Policy Research Working Paper series disseminates findings of work in progress to encourage the exchange of ideas about development issues.

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    Global Findex

    The Global Findex database, the world’s most comprehensive database on financial inclusion, provides in-depth data on how individuals save, borrow, make payments, and manage risks.
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    PovcalNet is an interactive computational tool that allows users to replicate the calculations made by the World Bank's researchers in estimating the extent of absolute poverty in the world.
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    Worldwide Governance Indicators

    The Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) project reports aggregate and individual governance indicators for over 200 countries and territories over the period 1996–2016 for six dimensions of governance.


Deon Filmer

Director, Development Research Group
Meet the management team »


Pierre Bachas


Claudia Ruiz

More researchers »


Located within the Development Economics Vice Presidency, the Global Indicators Group produces primary data and analysis that increase transparency and accountability. The data products have strong emphasis on benchmarking (being comparable across territories and time), are based on economic research and have clear policy and operational value. Over the years, Global Indicators Group products have inspired governments to reform their business regulations, engage with the World Bank Group on reform advisory work and enabled peer-to-peer learning. The work also feeds into research produced by academia, international organizations, think tanks and policy advocacy conducted by civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations.

While the department has originally focused on private sector development issues, its scope has expanded over time. However, this expansion needs to be true to the original goals that we collect data to: increase transparency and accountability, correct government and market failures and provide the tools for governments to improve and reach efficient but also equitable outcomes.

The Global Indicators Group produces widely cited reports and databases such as Doing BusinessSubnational Doing BusinessEnterprise Surveys, Women Business and the Law and the Global Delivery Initiative.

Who We Are
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    Women, Business and the Law

    The Women, Business and the Law Index, composed by eight indicators structured around women’s interactions with the law as they begin, progress through and end their careers, aligns different areas of the law with the economic decisions women make at various stages of their lives. The indicators are: Mobility, Workplace, Pay, Marriage, Parenthood, Entrepreneurship, Assets, and Pension.
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    Doing Business

    Doing Business provides quantified, comparable measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies. Published annually since 2003, it measures the efficiency and strength of laws, regulations and institutions relevant to domestic small and medium-size companies throughout their life cycle.
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    Enterprise Surveys

    Enterprise Surveys provide the world's most comprehensive comparable firm-level data in emerging markets and developing economies. Data are available on 130,000+ firms in 139 countries. Data cover a broad range of business environment topics including access to finance, corruption, infrastructure, crime, competition, and performance measures.
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    Subnational Doing Business

    Subnational and Regional Doing Business reports capture differences in business regulations and their enforcement across locations in a single country or region. They provide data on the ease of doing business, rank each location, and recommend reforms to improve performance in each of the indicator areas.
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    Global Delivery Initiative

    The Global Delivery Initiative (GDI) is a partnership of over 50 development organizations, with its Secretariat at the World Bank. GDI analyzes implementation experiences to identify operational knowledge, lessons, and insights. GDI’s work aims to inform development practice and improve the implementation of development interventions and reforms.
  • DB@WB

    DB@WB (Doing Business internally at the World Bank) identifies and addresses efficiency and effectiveness bottlenecks to minimize information asymmetry and enhance evidence-based decision making along the lending project cycle. The team does this by using text and data analytics, machine learning, behavioral analytics and communities of practice to extract, refine and present insights from operational and analytical sources. This will lead to measurable improvements in business processes, resulting in time savings, cost reduction and better quality of projects.
  • Policy Analysis Group

    The Policy Analysis Group in DEC Growth Analytics focuses on capacity building and policy analysis. The group informs practitioners about the new methodology of the Contracting with the Government indicator and how to use it to benchmark regulatory efficiency. By partnering with operational units to support reforms in the field of public procurement, the group also documents and shares good practices.

Senior Manager

Rita Ramalho

Senior Manager, Global Indicators Group

Enterprise Surveys

Jorge Rodríguez Meza

Program Manager, Global Indicators Group

Doing Business

Valeria Perotti

Program Manager, Doing Business Unit, Global Indicators Group

SubNational Doing Business

Pilar Salgado-Otónel

Program Manager, Subnational Doing Business Unit, Global Indicators Group

Women, Business and the Law

Tea Trumbic

Program Manager, Women, Business and the Law, Global Indicators Group

Policy Analysis Group

Erica Bosio

Program Manager, Growth Analytics Unit, Global Indicators Group

The World Bank’s Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) group generates high-quality and operationally relevant data and research to transform development policy, help reduce extreme poverty, and secure shared prosperity. It develops customized data and evidence ecosystems to produce actionable information and recommend specific policy pathways to maximize impact.

The work is based on a co-production model aimed at transferring capacity and know-how to partners to make mid-course corrections and scale up successful policy instruments to achieve policy outcomes.

These corrections increase the rate of return of underlying investments by large margins, far exceeding the costs of the research. The group conducts research in 60 countries with 200 agencies leveraging a $180M research budget against $18B in development finance. It also provides advisory services to 30 multilateral and bilateral development agencies in the world.

Finally, DIME invests in public goods to improve the quality and reproducibility of development research around the world. From DIME Wiki to toolkitstraining and summer schools, DIME is servicing the global community of researchers and, in so doing, improving the quality of global policy advice.

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    Through the use of rigorous evaluations, AADAPT aims to identify and correct the main constraints to adoption in agriculture.
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    Energy and Environment

    Are we doing enough on climate? No. From satellite data to farmer incentives, speeding up learning on what’s possible.
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    Entertainment Education

    What public campaigns cannot do, professional entertainers can. The amazing power of the narrative is changing both norms and behaviors.
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    Finance and Private Sector Development

    DIME’s work on financial and private sector development aims to address two overarching development challenges.



Arianna Legovini

Head of Development Impact Evaluation (DIME)


Vincenzo Di Maro

Senior Economist, Governance and Institution Building Research Program Manager, Development Impact Evaluation (DIME)

Florence Kondylis

Senior Economist, Economic Transformation & Growth Research Program Manager, Development Impact Evaluation (DIME)

Aidan Coville

Senior Economist, Infrastructure and Climate Change Research Program Manager, Development Impact Evaluation (DIME)
More researchers »