Each year, the World Bank Group issues the World Development Report, a sweeping analysis of a particular dimension of economic development, such as job creation, gender, infrastructure, and climate. This year’s Report, just released, tackles a cutting-edge dimension that lies at the heart of Common Hope for Health’s work: decision-making and behavior.
Jim Yong Kim, World Bank President and a member of CHH’s Advisory Council, summarizes the Report’s theme eloquently in his Foreword:
Recent research has advanced our understanding of the psychological, social, and cultural influences on decision making and human behavior and has demonstrated that they have a significant impact on development outcomes.
Research also shows that it is possible to harness these influences to achieve development goals. The Report describes an impressive set of results. It shows that insights into how people make decisions can lead to new interventions that help households to save more, firms to increase productivity, communities to reduce the prevalence of diseases, parents to improve cognitive development in children, and consumers to save energy. The promise of this approach to decision making and behavior is enormous, and its scope of application is extremely wide.
As it happens, Common Hope for Health is actively engaged with two of the areas described by Dr. Kim: community health and early childhood development. In a chapter exploring behavioral approaches to improving worker productivity, the Report also cites original research by CHH President, Scott Lee.
At 215 pages long, the World Development Report is much to digest. But it is a richly rewarding read, and is a timely articulation of the scientific basis for CHH’s mission. Check out the full report or this two-page summary.