Nudging the World Bank (and the sector) farther along

I have two new blog posts over on Reboot’s site, both focused on different aspects of the 2015 World Development Report: Mind, Society, and Behavior. If there’s an overall framing for both, it’s that the report shows the progress that we’ve made in our thinking across the sector, but it also represents how much farther we have to go.

The first post—The Wonk’s Guide to Irrational Humans—looks at behavioral economics, design, participatory methods, and adaptive programming. From the introduction:

Every year, the World Bank’s World Development Report offers a detailed look at the state of knowledge around a single development topic. While recent reports focused on topics like jobs, risk, or gender equity, this year’s edition, titled Mind, Society, and Behavior, reflects the growing attention being given to human decision-making in development. Among wonks, it has been called the “behavioral economics World Development Report.” In reality, it is broader than that, yet narrower than it could be.

More here.

The second post—The Wonk’s Guide to Economics without Politics—tackles the sector’s perennial shortcoming of letting economic thinking trump political analysis, as well as considerations of power and human agency. A key excerpt:

Development sector professionals have an amazing ability to wish politics away in our analysis and action. Despite the importance of interest groups and contested space to historical outcomes, we are reluctant to include these political factors when thinking about our own work in the present. We have to work harder to see these blind spots. Any analysis of promoting change or sector learning that ignores these factors impoverishes itself.

More here.

(Image credit: Reboot)