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Evaluation of Bank Research

The Senior Vice President and Chief Economist requested an independent evaluation of all research activities carried out by the World Bank, both in its Development Economics Vice-Presidency and in other Bank units, between 1998 and 2005.

The evaluation draws on all outputs of research projects as well as World Development Reports, Policy Research Reports and flagship reports. Overall, this represents more than 4,000 journal articles, books and databases.

The evaluation was carried out by an panel consisting of Angus Deaton (Chair), Princeton University; Kenneth Rogoff, Harvard University; Abhijit Banerjee, M.I.T.; and Nora Lustig, Director of the Poverty Group at UNDP. The panel, in turn, selected thematic evaluators and asked them to review a random sample of 186 research projects. The evaluators are Daron Acemoglu (MIT), Francesco Caselli (LSE), Tim Besley (LSE), Sebastian Edwards (UCLA), Gordon Hanson (UC San Diego), Nina Pavcnik (Dartmouth College), Esther Duflo (MIT), Murray Leibbrandt and Martin Wittenberg (U of Cape Town), Nancy Birdsall (CGD), Josh Angrist (MIT), Sebastian Galiani (U de San Andrés, Argentina), Jonathan Morduch (NYU), Marianne Bertrand (U. of Chicago), Justin Lin (Beijing U.), Chris Udry (Yale), Marcel Fafchamps (Oxford), Edward Glaeser (Harvard), Michael Kremer (Harvard), Andrew Foster (Brown U.), Geoffrey Heal (Columbia U.), Peter Diamond (MIT), Antoinette Schoar (MIT) and Jan Svejnar (U. of Michigan).

The evaluators were asked to evaluate the publications from the sample projects paying particular attention to reliability, rigor, completeness and relevance and, in addition, to give their overall assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of Bank research in their area of expertise based on the sample and their general knowledge of Bank research. The sample was chosen randomly, with a bias towards more recent and ongoing projects in order to better evaluate the current direction of the Bank’s research.  The sample also included 50 of the best outputs selected by the Development Research Group to ensure that full consideration was given to what researchers themselves consider to be their best research. The Panel also conducted interviews of Bank staff and management; developing country policymakers, NGOs and other users of Bank research.

Final Report of the Evaluation Panel

Chief Economist’s Response

Response from former Chief Economist, Sir Nicholas Stern

Reponse from former Chief Economist, Joseph Stiglitz

Response from Development Research Group

Annexes to the report
Annex 1: Terms of Reference
Annex 2: Biographies of Panel and Evaluators
Annex 3: Flagships PRRs WDRs reviewed by evaluators
Annex 4: Projects & Publications reviewed by evaluators

Reports of the 24 Thematic Evaluators

Complete List of World Bank Research Publications, 1998 - 2006

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