A field shot of people in the World Bank’s women's anti-poverty program in India (Photo: Nammu Hassan)
A field shot of people in the World Bank’s women's anti-poverty program in India (Photo: Nammu Hassan)

UA to Host World Bank Development Economics Workshop

The event, scheduled for Nov. 14 and 15, invites discussion regarding the implications of the 2017 World Development Report.
Nov. 7, 2017
Extra Info: 

University of Arizona and World Bank Development Economics Workshop

The event will take place in two locations on the UA campus and is open to the public. 

Public lecture: Tuesday, Nov. 14, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Environment and Natural Resources 2 building, Room S107

All-day forum: Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Marley Building, Room 230, featuring six speakers and discussion 

Full program

Speaker bios

For more about WDR 2017

Tauhid Rahman, CALS associate professor of agricultural and resource economics, has many ongoing research projects with economists from the World Bank.
Tauhid Rahman, CALS associate professor of agricultural and resource economics, has many ongoing research projects with economists from the World Bank.
The pilot of an economic development experiment in Bihar, India, with Tauhid Rahman (center) (Photo: Ashutosh Kumar)
The pilot of an economic development experiment in Bihar, India, with Tauhid Rahman (center) (Photo: Ashutosh Kumar)

People automatically think of the World Bank as the leading global lending institution for financing — especially in developing countries — various anti-poverty, education, health and infrastructure improvement projects and programs.

Less commonly known is its vital role in setting the agenda for international development discourse. The World Development Report, or WDR, the annual flagship publication of the World Bank, is its most important contribution to development thinking and is one of the most eagerly awaited development reports worldwide, generating intense discussions among countries, policy makers, development institutions and academia.

At the University of Arizona, students, faculty and the general public have the chance to participate in those discussions at a workshop on Nov. 14 and 15 on campus. The workshop is supported by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The UA is one of six universities to hold discussions regarding the annual report — and the farthest west in the U.S. The others are Cornell, Columbia, Duke, Harvard and Princeton.

The two-day event begins with a university-wide public lecture on Nov. 14 by Luis F. Lopez-Calva, co-director of WDR 2017 and manager of World Bank's development practice in Central Asia and Europe. Before World Bank, he was the chief economist of the United Nations Development Program. A panel of lectures and conversations follows on Nov. 15, presented by leading scholars in the field.

"Since 2015, the UA has been organizing this annual workshop to continue the discussions generated by each year's WDR — it is a result of my ongoing research collaborations with economists from the World Bank," said Tauhid Rahman, associate professor of agricultural and resource economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. His projects include a behavioral study of a women's empowerment program, JEEViKA, a partnership between the government of Bihar, India, and the World Bank.

"The 2017 workshop is particularly exciting because the invited speakers come from different disciplines, including psychology, political science, law and economics," Rahman said. This year's lineup includes officials from the World Bank, along with faculty from the UA's School of Government and Public Policy, Eller College of Management and James E. Rogers College of Law.

Each WDR provides in-depth analysis of a specific aspect of economic development. Past WDRs have discussed issues such as agriculture, public services delivery, transition economies, labor, infrastructure, health, the environment, risk management, poverty, and psychological and social foundations of economic development.

In contrast, WDR 2017 focuses on governance and the law. The report addresses questions that are at the heart of economic development. For example:

Why are carefully designed, sensible policies too often not adopted or implemented? When they are, why do they often fail to generate development outcomes such as security, growth and equity? And why do some bad policies endure? 

"WDR17 has far-reaching implications for a global development agenda," Rahman said. "It is a landmark report which, unlike previous reports, focuses on the reasons why policy and institutional reforms often fail. While the idea that governance and law matter for development is nothing new, the fact the World Bank — the most important source of development financing for the developing countries — would endorse it is a public acknowledgment of a paradigm shift in development thinking." 

Participants in the workshop will be able to explore these issues through discussions with the presenters.

"The biggest beneficiaries of this annual workshop are our students," Rahman said. "It exposes them to current global thinking on development and allows them to interact with leading practitioners of development economics from academia and international development institutions. This keeps the UA involved in global development discussions."