Research for Development: A World Bank Perspective on Future Directions for Research

39 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Martin Ravallion

Martin Ravallion

Georgetown University

Alan Gelb

World Bank

Ann E. Harrison

University of California, Berkeley; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: September 1, 2010

Abstract

This paper provides an overview of the history of development research at the World Bank and points to new future directions in both what we research and how we research. Six main messages emerge. First, research and data have long been essential elements of the Bank's country programs and its contributions to global public goods, and this will remain the case. Second, development thinking is in a state of flux and uncertainty; it is time to reconsider both the Bank's research priorities and how it does research. Third, a more open and strategic approach to research is needed -- an approach that is firmly grounded in the key knowledge gaps for development policy emerging from the experiences of developing countries, including the questions that policy makers in those countries ask. Fourth, four major sets of problems merit high priority for our future research: (i) securing economic transformation; (ii) broadening opportunities to participate in the benefits of, and contribute to, such transformation; (iii) dealing with emerging risks at all levels; and (iv) assessing the results of development efforts, including external assistance. Fifth, a new multi-polar world requires a new multi-polar approach to knowledge; the Bank must learn from, and collaborate with, developing-country researchers and institutes. Sixth, greater emphasis must be given to producing the data and analytic tools for others to do the research themselves and providing open access to those tools. And open data initiative needs to be extended to open knowledge. This will better inform development policy debates and allow for deeper engagement with the direct stakeholders in the outcomes of those debates.

Keywords: Banks & Banking Reform, ICT Policy and Strategies, Tertiary Education, Economic Theory & Research, Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems

Suggested Citation

Ravallion, Martin and Gelb, Alan and Harrison, Ann E., Research for Development: A World Bank Perspective on Future Directions for Research (September 1, 2010). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5437, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1685050

Martin Ravallion (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Alan Gelb

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/agelb

Ann E. Harrison

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

Giannini Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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