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 Chief Economist, Pinelopi Goldberg, 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)
  • Knowledge Management (management of operational knowledge using machine learning, knowledge flows and collaboration, learning and geospatial insights).
Chief Economist

Pinelopi Goldberg

Chief Economist, World Bank Group
View more information »


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Doing Business 2020 cover
Doing Business 2020

Doing Business 2020, a World Bank Group flagship publication, is the 17th in a series of annual studies measuring the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. Doing Business presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 190 economies—from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe—and over time.

Feature Story
Historical Calamities: Shedding New Light on the Consequences for Long-Term Development

New research on tragedies like war and disease shows how public administration reform, decentralization, and citizen empowerment can create a path to prosperity.

Land Conference 2017
Land and Poverty Conference 2020: Institutions for Equity and Resilience

The next conference will take place on March 16–20, 2020 at World Bank Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The theme of the conference will be "Institutions for Equity and Resilience.”

Press Release
Oil prices to be lower in 2019 on slower-than-expected global growth, rising non-OPEC supply

Crude oil prices are expected to average $66 a barrel in 2019 and $65 a barrel in 2020, a downward revision from the October forecast due to the weaker-than-expected global growth outlook and greater-than-anticipated U.S. production

Feature Story
Yes, Global Inequality Has Fallen. No, We Shouldn’t Be Complacent

Between 2008 and 2013, global inequality fell for the first time since the industrial revolution, driven by robust income growth in populous developing countries. Despite this progress, two thirds of global inequality is still due to differences in average incomes between countries.

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

Government Debt Has Climbed Since the Financial Crisis

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 advances work on internationally recognized databases—including Doing Business, Women Business and the Law, and Enterprise Surveys—and fosters research on financial sector development, among other topics.


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.


Aart Kraay

Director of Research
Meet the management team »


Bob Rijkers

Senior Economist

Eeshani Kandpal

More researchers »

Located with the Development Economics Vice-presidency, the Global Indicators Group produces primary data and analysis that increase transparency and accountability. All 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 WBG 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 focus 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 Business, Subnational Doing Business, Enterprise Surveys and Women Business and the Law.

Who We Are
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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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    Women, Business and the Law

    Women, Business and the Law (WBL) measures gender inequality in the law. The dataset diagnoses legal barriers limiting women’s full economic participation and encourages policymakers to reform discriminatory laws and regulations. Its fifth edition covers 189 economies and 7 topics: Accessing institutions, Using property, Getting a job, Providing incentives to work, Going to court and Protecting women from violence.
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    Enabling the Business of Agriculture

    Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA) focuses on identifying and monitoring regulations and policies that affect agriculture and agribusiness markets. The project aims to inform and encourage policy decisions that support inclusive participation in agricultural value chains and foster an environment that is conducive to local and regional business in agriculture.
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    Digital Business Indicators

    Digital Business Indicators measure the laws, regulations, and bureaucratic processes that affect digital businesses in 21 pilot countries. Five topics are covered: connectivity, data privacy and security, logistics, payment, and digital market regulations. It advocates a research agenda that will develop the best regulatory and policy practices for governments seeking to promote the digital economy.

Senior Manager

Rita Ramalho

Senior Manager, Global Indicators Group

Enabling the Business of Agriculture

Raian Divanbeigi

Program Manager, Enabling the Business of Agriculture Unit, Global Indicators Group

Doing Business

Santiago Croci

Program Manager, 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

The Development Economics Knowledge Management unit (DECKM) plays a critical role in managing the wealth of knowledge that the World Bank generates through its operations. Like many development organizations, the World Bank generates knowledge in everything it does, across diverse activities and its operations. Strong structures and approaches to manage this knowledge are indispensable to ensure that this knowledge is used to its full potential, to prevent knowledge loss, to understand what works and avoid repeating mistakes.

Knowledge and its effective management are vital to ensure high-quality development projects, and, ultimately, to deliver development impact. The programs within DECKM align to support the key goal of managing knowledge, learning, and data effectively to facilitate World Bank operations and maximize development impact.

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    Knowledge Management (KM)

    Knowledge Management (KM) works to build a cohesive knowledge management program at the World Bank to bring value to stakeholders and positively impact the broader knowledge agenda. This program draws upon and promotes best practices for partners and clients, and helps to gather together and promote the sharing of knowledge as a global public good.
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    Text and Data Analytics

    Text and Data Analytics helps practitioners navigate and utilize the vast amounts of data and documentation inside and outside the World Bank to support their work. The team creates practical knowledge packages through research, literature reviews, and data analysis to support stakeholders. Its services ensure that useful knowledge and insights from data and text analytics add value to the work of World Bank staff.
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    South-South Experience Exchange Facility (South-South Facility)

    The South-South Experience Exchange Facility (South-South Facility) enables sharing of development experiences and knowledge among World Bank client countries by supporting knowledge exchange activities. Helping developing countries to share tacit knowledge among themselves around similar development challenges they face enables them to find solutions that work within their social and economic context.

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    Open Learning Campus

    The Open Learning Campus (OLC) works to equip World Bank staff with operational knowledge and capabilities to tackle the toughest development challenges. It helps transform knowledge from the World Bank and partners into actionable learning for clients and staff.

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    Global Delivery Initiative

    The Global Delivery Initiative (GDI) works with a variety of partners to document and disseminate delivery knowhow in operations to improve project outcomes. GDI is a partnership of over 40 organizations that collaborate to bring together and share operational knowledge to improve development outcomes.
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    Geospatial Operational Support Team

    Geospatial Operational Support Team (GOST) helps World Bank task teams unlock the potential of geospatial technology (e.g., satellite imagery, GPS data) to plan, implement and monitor their projects more effectively. GOST delivers “data public goods” for the World Bank (e.g., improving procurement, building strategic partnerships, and curating geospatial data).

Margot Brown

Director, Development Economics Knowledge Management
Meet the management team »