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What We Do

The Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC) seeks to increase understanding of development policies and programs by providing intellectual leadership and analytical services to the Bank and the development community. To meet the challenge of development, the World Bank must be an agent of change. To be effective in this role it must combine the power of ideas and knowledge with finance.


Under the leadership of the  Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, it aims to improve the effectiveness of Bank operations, and meet the needs of its client countries and the world development community for high-quality services.  

DEC's purpose
The Lending, Learning and Knowledge Cycle
Internal Dimension
External Dimension
Thematic Knowledge Program

Global Monitoring Program

DEC's purpose,broadly stated, is to accelerate poverty reduction and contribute to progress towards achieving the  Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by providing countries with the knowledge it creates, to enable them to make more informed policy choices. Its knowledge is also used to inform the Bank's public advocacy initiatives at the global level. 

Creating knowledge involves research, data, analysis, global monitoring and projections, statistical capacity-building, and policy review and advice. DEC’s structure reflects all of these dimensions, comprising the Research Group, Data Group, Development Prospects Group, and Development Policy Review Group. DEC also includes a Research Support Unit which sponsors research projects in other parts of the Bank, and a Partnership Unit that produces the Bank’s two scholarly journals on development, and the Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics. A “Knowledge for Change” Program facilitates donors’ participation in Bank-led research, and a Communications Unit manages dissemination of DEC’s products.

DEC’s role in knowledge creation activities has an internal and an external dimension. These two dimensions interact, creating a Lending, Learning and  Knowledge Cycle.

Lending Learning Knowledge Cycle

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Internal Dimension
Knowledge is an essential input to Bank operations and lending. The Bank’s research program produces publications, data, and analytical tools, all of which are used in the Bank’s advisory services to developing-country governments, known within the Bank as Economic and Sector Work (ESW), Policy Dialogue, and Technical Advice (TA).

Assessments have found that the quality and effectiveness of Bank operations is enhanced by prior high-quality analytical economic and sector work. The quality of such analytical work is strongly related to the use of  research materials and, frequently, to the engagement of researchers in operational analytical tasks.  Indeed, research often contributes directly to shaping lending strategies and operations. In addition to research, development practitioners and policymakers need access to good-quality country-level data and comparative data, including on MDG-related progress. This must be combined with high-quality global monitoring and consistent projections, to enable policymakers to adjust development strategies to a rapidly-changing external environment.

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External Dimension
The Bank’s multilateral governance and funding invest it with a responsibility to mobilize its knowledge to influence the economics and politics of the global environment in which development efforts are undertaken. DEC undertakes a part of this mandate, by producing and disseminating research, data-gathering and analytical work that contributes to global development knowledge and advocacy.

DEC produces publications and data to address the specific needs of clients, as well as issues and themes crucial to understanding the development process itself. These include the  World Development ReportsGlobal Monitoring Reports, Policy Research ReportsWorld Development IndicatorsGlobal Economic Prospects and Global Development Finance, as well as the Bank’s two development journals, books, articles, and Policy Research Working Papers. Other Bank flagship publications, including the Global Monitoring Report, draw heavily on DEC’s data and analysis. These products, supported by dissemination efforts, boost developing countries’ access to key information and analytical capacity, strengthening their ability to engage on the global stage.

DEC’s work, including research, data, prospects and policy review, is broadly organized into two programs, both of which produce publications and analytical services. These are the Thematic Knowledge Program and the Global Monitoring Program.

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ThematicKnowledge Program
Focused on issues relating to investment climate, trade and investing in people, the Thematic Knowledge Program explores the implications of Bank’s two-pillar development strategy: building the climate for investment, job creation, increased productivity, and sustainable growth; and empowering and investing in poor people to enable them to participate in development.

Global Monito ring Program
This is the focal point for statistical data work, analysis of trends and global projections. It includes monitoring and reporting on MDGs and producing major publications addressing global issues, such as regional trade agreements, and capital flows to developing countries, including foreign direct investment, debt, official development assistance, and remittances. Data quality, availability and timeliness has become even more important to enable the focus on results highlighted in the Monterrey,  Doha and Johannesburg agreements.

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