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Knowledge Base: Flagship Reports

WDR2021: Data for Better Lives examine the tremendous potential of the changing data landscape to improve the lives of poor people and, at the same time, identify the significant risks that should be managed to avoid negative development impacts.

WDR2020: Global Value Chains: Trading for Development 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.

WDR2019: The Changing Nature of Work studies how the nature of work is changing as a result of advances in technology today. Fears that robots will take away jobs from people have dominated the discussion over the future of work, but the World Development Report 2019 finds that on balance this appears to be unfounded.

WDR2018: Learning to Realize Education’s Promise is the first ever devoted entirely to education. It explores four main themes: 1) education’s promise; 2) the need to shine a light on learning; 3) how to make schools work for learners; and 4) how to make systems work for learning.

WDR 2017: Governance and the Law addresses these fundamental questions: Why are carefully designed, sensible policies too often not adopted or implemented? When they are, why do they often fail to generate development outcomes such as security, growth, and equity? And why do some bad policies endure?

WDR2016: Digital Dividends assembles the best available evidence on the Internet’s potential impact on economic growth, on equity, and on the efficiency of public service provision. The report analyzes what factors have allowed some governments, firms and households to benefit from the Internet, and identify the barriers that limit gains elsewhere.

WDR2015: Mind, Society and Behavior shows how a richer view of human behavior can help achieve development. It shows how a more subtle view of human behavior provides new tools for interventions.

WDR2014: Risk and Opportunity—Managing Risk for Development  examines how improving risk management can lead to larger gains in development and poverty reduction. It argues that improving risk management is crucial to reduce the negative impacts of shocks and hazards, but also to enable people to pursue new opportunities for growth.

WDR 2013: Jobs helps explain and analyze the connection between jobs and important dimensions of economic and social development. It provides analytical tools to identify the obstacles to sustained job creation and examine differences in the nature of jobs.

WDR 2012: Gender Equality and Development finds that women's lives around the world have improved dramatically, but gaps remain in many areas. The authors use a conceptual framework to examine progress to date, and then recommend policy actions.

WDR 2011: Conflict, Security, and Development.  Conflict causes human misery, destroys communities and infrastructure, and can cripple economic prospects. The goal of this World Development Report is to contribute concrete, practical suggestions to the debate on how to address and overcome violent conflict and fragility.

WDR 2010: Development and Climate Change.  The main message of the report is that a "climate-smart" world is possible if we act now, act together, and act differently.

WDR 2009: Reshaping Economic Geography. Places do well when they promote transformations along the dimensions of economic geography: higher densities as cities grow; shorter distances as workers and businesses migrate closer to density; and fewer divisions as nations lower their economic borders and enter world markets to take advantage of scale and trade in specialized products. WDR 2009 concludes that the transformations along these three dimensions of density, distance, and division are essential for development and should be encouraged.

WDR 2008: Agriculture for Development. In the 21st century, agriculture continues to be a fundamental instrument for sustainable development and poverty reduction. WDR 2008 concludes that agriculture alone will not be enough to massively reduce poverty, but it is an essential component of effective development strategies for most developing countries.

WDR 2007: Development and the Next Generation. Developing countries which invest in better education, healthcare, and job training for their record numbers of young people between the ages of 12 and 24 years of age, could produce surging economic growth and sharply reduced poverty, according to this report.

WDR 2006: Equity and Development. Inequality of opportunity, both within and among nations, sustains extreme deprivation, results in wasted human potential and often weakens prospects for overall prosperity and economic growth, concludes this report.

WDR 2005: A Better Investment Climate for Everyone. Accelerating growth and poverty reduction requires governments to reduce the policy risks, costs, and barriers to competition facing firms of all types - from farmers and micro-entrepreneurs to local manufacturing companies and multinationals - concludes this report.

WDR 2004: Making Services Work for Poor People. This report warns that broad improvements in human welfare will not occur unless poor people receive wider access to affordable, better quality services in health, education, water, sanitation, and electricity. Without such improvements, freedom from illness and from illiteracy are two of the most important ways poor people can escape poverty and will remain elusive to many.