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Bureaucracy and State Capability: Frontier Diagnostics

December 4, 2018

Washington, D.C.

  • The workshop will focus on novel measures of state capability and public administration functioning.  World Bank staff and external experts will provide an overview of current research on the measurement of the functioning of government and discuss current initiatives to expand our understanding of how the public sector works through the use of new diagnostic tools. We will develop our collective research agenda in assessing state capability and showcase research to a wider audience.

    We invite you to participate in the following morning sessions, which will take place in MC 13-121 from 9am to 12.30pm on December 4th:

    Keynote address by Professor Imran Rasul from UCL on bureaucracy, state capability, and economic development, which will focus why government bureaucracies are important for state capability, and how they can be better measured and made more productive.

    Launch of the Worldwide Bureaucracy Indicators, a new cross-country dataset on public sector employment and wages complied by the WB, covering over 100 countries from 2000-2016.

    Sessions on existing research discussing how surveys of bureaucrats can provide a granular understanding of organizational capabilities, particularly of management practices, bureaucrats’ experiences, attitudes, and behaviors, and novel approaches to measuring productivity.

    A panel discussion on how measuring and understanding bureaucracy is being used to improve US government performance, and how it will be integral to achieving the goals of the WB’s Human Capital Project, chaired by Shanta Devarajan.

  • Bureaucracy and State Capability: Frontier Diagnostics                                                          MC 13-121
    8:45-9:00            Registration and Breakfast
    9:00-9:15       Welcome and Introduction

    Asli Demirguc-Kunt, Director of Research, World Bank

    Jim Brumby, Director, Governance Global Practice

    9:15-9:45       Keynote Address: Bureaucracy, State Capability, and Economic Development

    Imran Rasul, Professor of Economics, University College London

    This lecture will explore why government bureaucracies are important for state capability, how they can be better measured and made more productive drawing on the latest academic research.

    9:45-10:00                  Launch of the Worldwide Bureaucracy Indicators

    Zahid Hasnain, Senior Public Sector Specialist, Governance Global Practice, World Bank

    This session will launch the Worldwide Bureaucracy Indicators (WWBI), a new cross-country dataset on public sector employment and wages compiled by the World Bank, covering over 100 countries from 2000-2016.

    10:00-10:45        Measuring Bureaucracy through Surveys

    Katherine Bersch, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Davidson College

    Philip Keefer, Principal Advisor, Inter-American Development Bank

    Daniel Rogger, Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

    Christian Schuster, Associate Professor of Public Management, University College London

    This session will discuss how surveys of bureaucrats can provide a granular understanding of organizational capabilities, particularly of management practices, bureaucrats' experiences, attitudes behaviors, and novel approaches to measuring productivity.

    10:00-10:45        Tea and Coffee Break
    11:00-12:15                                                           Frontier Diagnostics and Government Reform

    Chair: Shanta Devarajan, Senior Director for Development Economics, World Bank

    Robert Goldenkoff, Director of Strategic Issues, United States Government Accountability Office

    Asmeen Khan, Manager, Governance Global Practice, World Bank

    Rob Seidner, Performance Manager, United States Office of Management & Budget

    Michael Woolcock, Lead Social Scientist, Development Research Group, World Bank

    This panel will discuss the challenges associated with embedding diagnostic tools inside public administrations and how measurements of bureaucracy are being used to improve US government performance.

    12:15-12:30    Closing Remarks
     Debbie Wetzel, Director of the Governance Global Practice, World Bank
    12:30   Lunch
  • Chairs


    Jim Brumby

    Director, Public Service and Performance, Governance Global Practice

    Jim Brumby began his post as Director, Public Service and Performance, Governance Global Practice, on March 1, 2015. He previously served as the Practice Manager for the EAP región based in Jakarta, Indonesia and as the Sector Manager and Lead Economist for the Indonesia country program. Throughout his professional life he has been engaged in public management reform at the state, national, and international levels, joining the Bank in 2007 where he had a leading role in public financial management reform in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management group. In 2009 he was appointed Sector Manager, Public Sector & Governance, with line responsibility for the Vice Presidency’s staff working on a number of critical areas in governance including anti-corruption, legal and judicial reform, public financial management, and civil service reform. His experience also spans a number of managerial positions in IMF, OECD, and Victoria State Government in Australia.


    Asli Demirgüç-Kunt

    Director of Research, Development Research Group

    Asli Demirgüç-Kunt is the Director of Research at 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. She is the lead author of the World Bank Policy Research Report 2007 Finance for All? Policies and Pitfalls in Expanding Access and has also created the World Bank’s Global Financial Development Report. The author of over 100 publications, she has published widely in academic journals. Her research has focused on the links between financial development and firm performance and economic development. Banking crises, financial regulation, access to financial services, and inclusion including SME finance are among her areas of research. She has been the President of International Atlantic Economic Society (2013-14) and Director of Western Economic Association (2015-18). Prior to coming to the Bank, she was an Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in economics from the Ohio State University.


    Shanta Devarajan

    Senior Director, Development Economics at the World Bank

    Previously, he was the Chief Economist of the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa Region. Since joining the World Bank in 1991, he has been a Principal Economist and Research Manager for Public Economics in the Development Research Group, and the Chief Economist of the Human Development Network, the South Asia Region and Africa Region. He was a director of the World Development Report 2004, Making Services Work for Poor People. Before 1991, he was on the faculty of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. A member of the Overseas Development Institute’s Board of Trustees, and the author or co-author of more than 100 publications, Mr. Devarajan’s research covers public economics, trade policy, natural resources and the environment, and general equilibrium modeling of developing countries. Born in Sri Lanka, Mr. Devarajan received his B.A. in mathematics from Princeton University and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.



    Katherine Bersch

    Assistant Professor of Political Science, Davidson College

    Dr. Katherine Bersch is a Assistant Professor of Political Science at Davidson College. She is also a research affiliate with The Governance Project at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. Her research is broadly focused on democratic quality in developing countries, with an emphasis on governance reform and state capacity in Latin America. Bersch’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Comparative Politics, Governance, the European Journal of Development Research, Information Polity, Centeno, Kohli, and Yashar’s edited volume, States in the Developing World, and the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage. Her book manuscript, When Democracies Deliver: Governance Reform in Latin America, is under contract with Cambridge University Press. She is the recipient of the 2015 LAPIS Award from the Latin American Studies Association for her coauthored paper on state capacity, and her research has been supported by a U.S. Student Fulbright Grant, a Boren Fellowship from the National Security Education Program, an Eisenhower-Roberts Fellowship, a Mike Hogg Endowed Fellowship, and a National P.E.O. Scholar Award. She holds a Ph.D. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.


    Robert Goldenkoff

    Director of Strategic Studies, United States Government Accountability Office

    Robert Goldenkoff has over 25 years of federal program evaluation experience. Currently he is a Director on GAO’s Strategic Issues team where he leads reviews of government-wide civil service reforms, as well as ways of improving the cost-effectiveness of the federal statistical system. He is also an adjunct faculty member of GAO’s Learning Center. Outside of GAO, Robert serves on the Advisory Board of the George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School of Public Affairs and Public Administration, and his articles on management, science policy, and other subjects have been published in Technology Review, Government Executive, Policy Studies Journal, The Public Manager, and Public Administration Review. He received his B.A. (political science) and Master of Public Administration degrees from the George Washington University, and was a Presidential Management Fellow.


    Zahid Hasnain

    Senior Public Sector Specialist, Governance Global Practice, World Bank

    Zahid Hasnain is the Global Lead for Public Employment and Management at the World Bank Group. He has been with the World Bank for 15 years, where he has worked on public administration reform, public sector performance, public financial management, transparency and accountability, and digital governance. He has published a number of papers in peer reviewed journals on these topics, was a core member of the World Development Report 2016 “Digital Dividends”, and has led analytical and lending projects for the World Bank in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Indonesia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Serbia, and Vietnam. Zahid has a Bachelors degree in Physics and Government from Cornell University, a Masters in Development from University of Cambridge, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago.


    Philip Keefer

    Principal Advisor, Inter-American Development Bank

    Philip Keefer is a Principal Advisor at the Inter-American Development Bank. Prior to this he served as a Lead Research Economist in the Development Research Group of the World Bank. The focus of his work, based on experience in countries ranging from Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic to Indonesia, México, Perú and Pakistan, is the determinants of political incentives to pursue economic development. His research, on issues such as the impact of insecure property rights on growth; the effects of political credibility on policy; the sources of political credibility in democracies and autocracies; and the influence of political parties on conflict, political budget cycles, and public sector reform, has appeared in journals ranging from the Quarterly Journal of Economics to the American Political Science Review.


    Asmeen Khan

    Practice Manager, Governance Global Practice, World Bank

    Asmeen Khan is currently Practice Manager, Strategy and Operations, in the Governance Global Practice. Asmeen has worked for over 25 years on topics related to local governance, decentralization, social accountability, community driven development in South and East Asia, based in the Thailand, India and Indonesia Field Offices. Prior to joining the Bank, Asmeen worked for the Ford Foundation and Oxfam.


    Imran Rasul

    Professor of Economics, University of College London

    Imran Rasul is a Professor of Economics at University of College London. He is also co-director of the ESRC Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy (CPP), Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), and co-director, Entrepreneurship Research Program, International Growth Centre (IGC). Imran Rasul obtained his PhD in Economics from the LSE in 2003. His research interests include labor, development and public economics and his work has been published in leading journals such as the Journal of Political Economy, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Econometrica and the Review of Economic Studies. He is currently a co-editor of the Journal of the European Economic Association, and has been a co-editor of the Review of Economic Studies (2009-13). He was awarded the 2007 IZA Young Economist Prize, the 2008 CESIfo Distinguished Affiliate Award, and an ERC-starter grant in 2012.


    Daniel Rogger

    Research Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

    Daniel Rogger is a Research Economist in the Impact Evaluation Unit of the Development Research Group. His areas of interest are political economy, and organizational and public economics. Dan’s research aims to understand how to build organizations that effectively deliver public services. He does large scale surveys and research in collaboration with civil service organizations across the world. Dan did his PhD in economics at University College London (UCL), his Masters in Economics at the University of Cambridge, and his undergraduate degree in economics at UCL. Previously, he has worked as an Economist in the Presidency of Nigeria, an Associate Researcher for the UK's Department for International Development, and as a PhD scholar at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.


    Christian Schuster

    Associate Professor of Public Management, University College London

    Christian Schuster is an Associate Professor in Public Management in the School of Public Policy at the University College London; He joined UCL in 2015. Previously, he was a Visiting Scholar at Sciences Po (2016), the LSE Fellow in Political Science and Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (2014-2015), a Visiting Research Scholar in the Research Department of the Inter-American Development Bank (2013-2014) and an Economist with the World Bank (2009-2011). He also recurrently consults for the IDB and World Bank. He received his PhD in Government from the LSE. His research focuses on the management of public servants and is based on data from original civil service surveys, experiments and elite interviews. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Comparative Political Studies, the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Governance, Regulation & Governance, the European Journal of Political Research, Public Administration Review and Public Administration, and has won the Haldane Prize for the best article published in Public Administration in 2017.


    Rob Seidner

    Performance Manager, United States Office of Management & Budget

    Rob Seidner is the Federal Human Capital Policy Performance Manager in the Executive Office of the President of the U.S., Office of Management and Budget (OMB). His portfolio includes developing Government-wide policies and advising OMB leadership on crosscutting human capital strategies. This includes staffing, employee performance, diversity/inclusion, labor relations, recruitment, shared services, HR effectiveness, civil service reform, assessments, and agency-specific human capital topics and legislation, as well as oversite of the Civil Service agencies. Rob is a lead staffer for developing and implementing the workforce portions of the President’s Management Agenda, the President’s Analytic Perspective Budget chapter, Executive Orders, Presidential Memorandums, and Statements of Policy. He started in the Federal Government as a Presidential Management Intern at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), serving as a human capital lead evaluator in Chicago before moving to OPM headquarters to work on talent and recruitment issues. Rob also completed the President’s Management Council detail program and served at the Department of Transportation’s Office of the Secretary. Rob received a Bachelors of Art degree in Political Science and Psychology from Brandeis University and a MBA from Brandeis’ Heller School for Social Policy & Management. He has more than a half-dozen publications on human resources theory and Federal human capital management.


    Debbie Wetzel

    Senior Director, Governance Global Practice, World Bank

    Debbie Wetzel, a U.S. national with more than 25 years of experience in development work around the world, is the World Bank Senior Director for Governance since April 4, 2016. Ms. Wetzel was previously Director of Strategy and Operations for the Middle East and North Africa Region and prior to that served as Country Director for Brazil, from March 2012 until July 2015. Ms. Wetzel was the World Bank Group’s Chief of Staff to the World Bank President from 2010 to 2012. She has also served as Director for Governance and Public Sector, directing the Bank's work on taxation, public expenditures, decentralization, public sector reform and strengthening, governance and anti-corruption. From 2006 to 2009, she led the World Bank’s Economic and Public Sector Programs in Brazil, based in Brasilia. During that period she developed numerous programs with state and federal governments to help improve the effectiveness of public expenditures and achieve better results. Ms. Wetzel began her career at the World Bank in 1986 as a Consultant, joining the Young Professionals Program in 1993. She also worked at the Centre for the Study of African Economies in Oxford England in the early 1990s. During her career, she has worked in Central and Eastern Europe, Ghana, Hungary, Ukraine, Vietnam, Russia, the former Soviet Republics, West Africa and Zambia. Ms. Wetzel has a Doctorate in Economics from the University of Oxford and a Masters in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies. Her BA is from Smith College. She is the author of publications on fiscal decentralization, public finance, governance, and sub-national affairs.


    Michael Woolcock

    Lead Social Scientist, Development Research Group, World Bank

    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.