Published yesterday, the 2017 World Development Report: Governance and the Law, explores how the unequal distribution of power within a society can hamper the effectiveness of policies.
It argues that power asymmetries can help to explain why apparently strong anti-corruption laws and bodies can still fail to curb corruption. It also proposes that this is the reason decentralisation does not always improve local services, and why well-seemingly well-crafted fiscal policies do not reduce volatility or produce long-term savings.
The report noted that institutions often took the blame when policies or technical solutions failed to deliver results. However, it called on countries and donors to think more broadly” to improve governance so that policies succeed.
Better governance, it said, was “the process by which state and non-state groups interact to design and implement policies, working within a set of formal and informal rules that are shaped by power”.
Introducing the report, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim said: “As demand for effective service delivery, good infrastructure, and fair institutions continues to rise, it is vital that governments use scarce resources as efficiently and transparently as possible.”
He said this meant harnessing private sector expertise, working closely with civil society and redoubling the fight against corruption.
“Without better governance, our goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity will be out of reach,” he concluded.