Learn how the World Bank Group is helping countries with COVID-19 (coronavirus). Find Out


Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics 2020: Global Unrest

September 3-4, 2020

Washington, DC

Image of the ABCDE 2020 Demonstrators in Brazil

    Given the COVID-19 outbreak and how things are likely to evolve in the next few months, the organizing committee of the Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE) 2020 has decided to postpone the event that was originally planned for June 22-23, 2020. The new conference dates are September 3 and 4, 2020.

    We are grateful for the interest but we are no longer accepting submissions. Please see the updated call for papers below. Authors of selected papers will be notified by email on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.

    For those who have already submitted a paper, please rest assured that your paper will be reviewed by the program committee in due course. 

    The Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE), organized by the World Bank’s Development Economics (DEC) Vice Presidency, is one of the world's best-known series of conferences for the presentation and discussion of new knowledge on development. The conference aims to promote the exchange of cutting-edge knowledge among researchers, policymakers, and development practitioners.

    The next conference will take place at World Bank Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The theme of the conference will be “Global Unrest”. 


  • Social unrest across regions is intensifying, from East Asia to Latin America, even as much of this unrest stems from frustrations experienced more locally — within regions and countries. The forms, sources, and intensity of this unrest vary considerably: in some places it is long-simmering concerns over rising economic inequality and lack of opportunities, in others it is more recent populist mobilization regarding social identity and civil rights, while still in others it is the performance and legitimacy of government itself. Perhaps paradoxically, this social discontent is occurring at a time when most national and global development indicators continue to show steady, if uneven, improvement. 

    Conference Themes

    The ABCDE organizing committee is issuing a call for innovative papers that examine the drivers of global unrest, its similarities and differences with previous episodes of widespread civic discontent, whether and how such unrest can be addressed, and whether there may be common threads connecting these developments. Of interest are papers that explore these issues with respect to one or more of the following sub-themes:

    • Rising Inequality
    • Rising Aspirations
    • Unmet Expectations
    • Resistance to Authoritarianism
    • The Role of Social Media
    • The Use and Abuse of Evidence
    • Potential Links with the Coronavirus Pandemic  

    Papers that do not fit into these sub-themes, but are related to the main topic of the conference, are also welcome. Selected papers will be presented in the plenary sessions of the conference. 

    Submission of Papers

    The submission is now closed. The program committee will evaluate all papers in terms of originality, analytical rigor, and policy relevance. Authors of accepted papers will be informed by email by Tuesday, June 23, 2020. A final draft report will be required by Monday, July 27, 2020.

    For external authors of selected papers, travel and accommodation expenses for the conference will be covered. Additional information on the overall conference program will be posted on the ABCDE website regularly. The ABCDE secretariat can be contacted via email at abcde@worldbank.org.

  • Tim Besley

    Tim Besley

    London School of Economics and Political Science

    Tim Besley is School Professor of Economics and Political Science and W. Arthur Lewis Professor of Development Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He has served as an external member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee and in 2015 he became a founding member of the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission. Professor Besley was educated at Aylesbury Grammar School and Oxford University where he became a prize fellow of All Souls College. He taught subsequently at Princeton before being appointed Professor in the economics department at the LSE in 1995. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society, the British Academy, and the European Economic Association. He is also a foreign honorary member of the American Economic Association and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a past President of the International Economic Association, Econometric Society and European Economic Association as well as a past co-editor of the American Economic Review. In 2005, he won the Yrjö Jahnsson Award of the European Economics Association which is granted every other year to an economist aged under 45 who has made a significant contribution to economics in Europe. His research, which mostly has a policy focus, is in the areas of Development Economics, Public Economics and Political Economy. In 2018, he was knighted for services to economics and public policy.

  • Organizing Committee Chair


    Norman Loayza

    Lead Economist, Development Research Group

    Norman Loayza is a Lead Economist in the Development Research Group at the World Bank. He is currently leading the Asia hub of the Research Group, based in Malaysia. He was director of the World Development Report 2014, Risk and Opportunity: Managing Risk for Development. His research has dealt with various areas of economic and social development, including macroeconomic management, economic growth, microeconomic flexibility, private and public saving, financial depth and stability, natural disasters, and crime and violence. His advisory experience at the World Bank has also ranged across different topics in various regions and countries.

    Program Committee


    Rabah Arezki

    Chief Economist, Middle East and North Africa Region

    Rabah Arezki is the Chief Economist for Middle East and North Africa Region (MNA) at the World Bank. Previously, Rabah Arezki was the Chief of the Commodities Unit in the Research Department at the International Monetary Fund. He also was a senior fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution, an external research associate at the University of Oxford, a resource person for the African Economic Research Consortium and a research fellow at the Economic Research Forum.

    Photo of Marta Reynal-Querol

    Marta Reynal-Querol

    Research Professor, London School of Economics

    Marta Reynal-Querol (PhD, London School of Economics) is ICREA Research Professor at UPF and Barcelona GSE Research Professor. She is also Research Fellow of the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Conflict Resolution and the European Journal of Political Economy, and member of the Council of the European Economic Association (EEA). She worked for the World Bank between 2001 and 2005. Professor Reynal has been the recipient of both a Starting Grant (2008) and a Consolidator Grant (2014) from the European Research Council (ERC). In 2011, she recieved the Banco Herrero Prize for the most outstanding Spanish economist under 40 years old.


    Mahvish Shaukat


    Mahvish Shaukat is an Economist in the Macroeconomics and Growth Team in the Development Research Group. Her research studies issues in governance, political economy, and public finance, with the goal of understanding how institutions and incentives shape state efficacy and citizen welfare. She received her PhD in economics from MIT in 2019.

Conference Details

  • Date: September 3–4, 2020
  • Venue: Washington, DC
  • abcde@worldbank.org