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Research Academy

The Research Academy is an effort to identify and share the findings of the best new policy-relevant research from across the World Bank Group. Submissions to the Academy are solicited 2-3 times per year and are reviewed by a committee headed by Research Director Asli Demirgüç-Kunt. Staff and consultants from across the World Bank Group are welcome to submit their work to the Academy at


What criteria does the Research Academy use to select winning papers?
Papers submitted to the Academy can cover any topic under the wide umbrella of development economics. All papers should meet the following criteria:

  • The paper has highly relevant policy conclusions for World Bank Group clients;
  • The paper is a self-contained analysis (i.e., 30-70 pages in length) that makes a significant contribution to our understanding of development;
  • The paper may focus on specific regions, but the conclusions of the paper should be of interest to staff from across the Bank.
  • The paper should be of recent vintage, i.e., published as a working paper or similar within the last 12 months.

Previous Academies

Research Academy 2014

May 1, 2014 - The Research Department and the Office of the Chief Economist of the Global Practices invite World Bank Group staff and consultants to submit papers to the second round of the Research Academy on these five themes: 

  • Science of Delivery: Service Delivery and Aid Effectiveness 
  • Job Creation, Competitiveness, and Productivity 
  • Risk Management and Vulnerability 
  • Inclusion and Shared Prosperity 
  • International Cooperation and Global Public Goods

Selection Process

The Research Director, Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, and Global Practices Chief Economist, Jeff Lewis, convene a committee of rotating experts selected from across the World Bank Group based on the topic of submissions. The papers are reviewed in two rounds based on the following criteria: (1) technical quality; (2) originality; and (3) operational relevance. In the first round, each paper is rated by two members of the committee, and the papers with the highest average rating proceed to the second round. In the second round, each paper is rated by all members of the committee, and the winners are selected.

Deadline: June 9, 2014.

Research Academy 2013

WASHINGTON, Sep. 25, 2013 – Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, research director for the World Bank, discusses the results of the first round of the Research Academy, a new initiative to identify the best policy-relevant research from across the World Bank Group.

Winners of the First Round of the Research Academy 

Harnessing Emotional Connections to Improve Financial Decisions: Evaluating the Impact of Financial Education in Mainstream Media
Bilal Zia, Senior Economist (Development Research Group, Finance & Private Sector Development Team) and Gunhild Berg, Financial Sector Specialist, (Africa Region, Financial and Private Sector Development Network)

Can a soap opera be an effective instrument to deliver financial literacy messages and improve financial behavior? Find out what one joint research and operational World Bank team discovered while working with the South African soap opera "Scandal." Audio Interview

Report Cards: The Impact of Providing School and Child Test Scores on Educational Markets
Jishnu Das, Senior Economist (Development Research Group, Human Development Team), in collaboration with Tahir Andrabi (Pomona College) and Asim Ijaz Khwaja (Harvard University, BREAD, and NBER)

Can a simple, relatively low-cost intervention like a report card on school and child performance boost educational outcomes? A randomized control trial in Pakistani villages provides reasons for optimism. Audio Interview

Spillovers from Conditional Cash Transfers: Bolsa Familia and Crime in Urban Brazil
Laura Chioda, Lead Economist (Latin America and Caribbean Region Chief Economist's Office), in collaboration with João M. P. De Mello (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro) and Rodrigo R. Soares (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and IZA)

Brazil's Bolsa Familia is the largest conditional cash transfer (CCT) program in the world, covering over 11 million families. Evidence suggests that it has had a positive impact on educational outcomes and extreme poverty, but might it also have a an impact on the incidence of crime?

Demand versus Returns? Pro-Poor Targeting of Business Grants and Vocational Skills Training
Renos Vakis, Lead Economist (Latin America and Caribbean Region, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network) and Patrick Premand, Economist (Africa, Human Development Network), in collaboration with Karen Macours (Paris School of Economics)

What does it take to increase the productive capacities of the poor? A team of World Bank staff examines the results of an unusual experiment in Nicaragua that randomly provided business grants and vocational training to households in rural communities and finds that conventional wisdom on targeting these types of programs may need a rethink. Audio Interview

Last updated: 2014-06-19

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