Advisor for the World Development Report 2017

Professor Patricia Justino is working on the World Development Report 2017 as an advisor to the lead author of the chapter on "Security, Conflict and the Absence of Violence", as well as producing a background paper for the WDR chapter.

Development is a complex process in which geography, history, markets and institutions interact to shape different social and economic configurations. Typically, policy discussions and technical advice consider proximate factors (i.e. coverage and quality of education, provision of health services, investment climate, infrastructure, etc.) to explain development performance. However it may be argued that there are underlying determinants in terms of the societies’ capacity to deliver on collectively-valued goals. These underlying determinants refer to the way in which institutions are shaped, legitimised and equipped to deliver on such goals. Our understanding, however, of policy options to address these underlying determinants and propel countries to achieve key development outcomes remains inadequate.

There is a vast and rich literature about the two-way interaction between aggregate governance measures and development outcomes, particularly growth. However, the literature is inconclusive. Much of the ambiguity in understanding the effect of governance on development results from empirical challenges such as the difficulties in successfully measuring “governance” or changes in attitudes and evolving norms, as well as the inability to easily untangle the diverse channels through which quality of institutions affects development or capture incremental improvements in institutional quality.

The World Development Report (WDR) 2017 will attempt to overcome some of these challenges and fill this gap by proposing a framework to “unpack” these processes, looking into specific micro-foundations of the relationship. Specifically, the report will analyse the role of Governance and the Law in the social and economic advancement of nations by examining (i) the heterogeneity of outcomes across countries, as well as (ii) the drivers of change over time. This will be done by taking stock of the historical experience and the evolving literature on economic development, law and institutional change. Ultimately, the WDR 2017 will bring a degree of realism in expectation, and seek to make explicit the assumptions about governance that underlie popular policy advice.

Key contact

Photo of Patricia Justino, IDS Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Research Fellow

T: +44 (0)1273 915752


More details
Project Dates:
January 2016 - June 2019
Project Status:
World Bank Group
Research Themes / Programmes:
Building Inclusive, Secure Societies
Conflict, Violence and Security