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Community-Driven Development

A common organizing principal of community driven development (CDD) is the belief that a delegation of decision making powers and responsibilities to poor communities can enable them to become an effective channel of development. In the last decade, many governments and development agencies, including the World Bank, have embraced CDD programs with enormous optimism and enthusiasm, and investments in CDD programs have increased substantially.

However, reliable evidence on most aspects of community based development remains thin. The research program on CDD was initiated in 2003-04 with the objective of improving the knowledge base on the impact of community driven development.

The first output of this research program was a review paper1. The paper identifies the main policy questions related to the impact of CDD programs and assesses the state of knowledge in each area.The questions examined in the paper focus on key operational and policy concerns related to the impact of CDD programs. These include, in particular, the impact of CDD programs on: 

  • The quality and/or quantity of public services
  • The accountability of government, local or national
  • Transparency in the use of public funds
  • Targeting public/private benefits 
  • Management of community resources, including any community infrastructure
  • Inclusion of the most disadvantaged groups in community decision making and the benefits of development
  • Enhanced civic capacity and knowledge of civic rights and responsibilities

In addition, the paper examines issues related to the relationship between CDD programs and decentralization, in particular, concerns over the creation of parallel institutional structures at the local level; as well as issues related to scaling up CDD initiatives, including appropriate timeframes, the quality of community facilitators, the potential distributional consequences through cross community spillover effects (such as population movements induced by differential benefits) and other externalities across communities.

The studies undertaken within DECRG have focused on increasing evidence in all of the above areas. The research program, which is now well underway, is beginning to yield insights on many of the above dimensions. Research on CDD and local governance has also increased substantially in academia and  other research institutions over the past few years and there is now a growing body of evidence on the potential impact of such programs. Consequently, a policy research report (PRR) on local governance and local development which will bring together the insights gleaned from all of this work is now under preparation. The report, co-authored by Mansuri and Rao, will be released in 2010.

note2  updates the review paper by Mansuri and Rao and briefly describes the studies being undertaken in the RU group and in DECRG more broadly, as well as in the rest of the Bank.


1.  Mansuri, G., and V. Rao. 2004. "Community-Based and –Driven Development: A Critical Review." The World Bank Research Observer 19(1).

2. Mansuri, G., and V. Rao. Update Note on Community-Based and Driven Development, Development Research Group, World Bank.

Final Report

Policy Research Report: Localizing Development: Does Participation Work? (November 2012)

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Policy Research Working Papers
For more policy research working papers from the World Bank's institutional archives, search here using author’s last name, title or working paper number (“wpsxxxx”).
WPS6139Can participation be induced ? some evidence from developing countriesMansuri, Ghazala; Rao, Vijayendra2012/07
WPS3209Community-based (and driven) development : A critical reviewMansuri, Ghazala; Rao, Vijayendra2004/02

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