Building State Capability for Policy Implementation
June 5, 2017Science of Delivery

Life for most people in most developing countries continues to steadily improve, but raising basic levels of human welfare from a low base was the (relatively) easy part of the development journey. To consolidate and expand these achievements, the key challenge going forward is building the state’s capability to implement incrementally more complex and contentious tasks (e.g., health care, justice, regulation, taxation, land administration) at scale.

Unfortunately, this capability seems to be stagnating or declining in most low-income countries, despite long-standing efforts. Implementation challenges will only intensify in the coming decades: the ailing delivery systems of low-income countries will have to serve roughly twice as many people, even as citizens’ expectations are on the rise. Responding to these challenges, by definition, will be hardest and most consequential in fragile states.

Our prevailing aid architecture was not designed for addressing the kinds of problems that have emerged as the ‘binding constraints’ on effective policy implementation, and that developing countries themselves have identified as priority concerns. Drawing on the recently published book Building State Capability co-authored with Lant Pritchett and Matt Andrews, Woolcock will outline a rather different approach to building state capability for policy implementation. 

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    Michael Woolcock, Lead Social Development Specialist, World Bank

    Michael Woolcock is Lead Social Development Specialist in the World Bank's Development Research Group, where he was worked since 1998. For eleven 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 'complex' development interventions.
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    Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, Director of Research Department, World Bank

    Asli Demirgüç-Kunt is the Director of Research in the World Bank. After joining the Bank in 1989 as a Young Economist, she has held different positions, including Director of Development Policy, Chief Economist of Financial and Private Sector Development Network, and Senior Research Manager, doing research and advising on financial sector and private sector development issues.
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    Franck Bousquet, Senior Director, Fragility, Conflict & Violence CCSA, World Bank

    Franck Bousquet is the Senior Director of the Fragility, Conflict & Violence CCSA. Previously he was the Director of Regional Programs, Partnerships and Integrated Solutions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region. Franck managed the World Bank’s regional engagement with partners in MENA, including the Arab bilateral and regional funds, the European Commission as well as other regional and international financial institutions. Franck also managed the World Bank regional programs in selected sectors and led specific initiatives requiring cross-sectoral collaboration.

The Policy Research Talks showcase the latest findings of the research department and their implications for World Bank operations. The goal of the monthly event is to facilitate a dialogue between researchers and operational staff, so that we can challenge and contribute to the World Bank's intellectual climate and re-examine conventional wisdom in current development theories and practices.  Read More »

Event Details
  • Time: 12:30 – 2:00 PM, June 5, 2017
  • Location: MC 13-121, World Bank Main Complex
  • CONTACT: Tourya Tourougui