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Public Sector Reform: What Works and Why? An IEG evaluation of World Bank Support

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  • Independent Evaluation Group

Abstract

The World Bank support for public sector reform has grown notably in recent years. To address the questions of what is working and why in this area, the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) has examined Bank lending and other support for public sector reform in four areas: public financial management, administrative and civil service, revenue administration, and anticorruption and transparency. A majority of countries that borrowed to support public sector reform improved their performance in some dimensions, but there were shortcomings in important aspects. Middle-income borrowers saw improvements in their public sector quality more frequently than low-income borrowers, even though the low-income group usually had greater needs for public sector improvement. Performance usually improved for public financial management, tax administration, and transparency, but not for civil service. Direct measures to reduce corruption, such as anticorruption laws and commissions, rarely succeeded, as they often lacked the necessary support from political elites and the judicial system.

Suggested Citation

  • Independent Evaluation Group, 2008. "Public Sector Reform: What Works and Why? An IEG evaluation of World Bank Support," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6484.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:6484
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    File URL: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/6484/448180PUB0Box310only109780821375891.pdf?sequence=1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Islam, Roumeen, 2003. "do more transparent government govern better?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3077, The World Bank.
    2. Paul, S., 1990. "Institutionnal Reforms In Sector Adjustment Operations; The World Bank'S Experience," World Bank - Discussion Papers 92, World Bank.
    3. Schick, Allen, 1998. "Why Most Developing Countries Should Not Try New Zealand's Reforms," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 13(1), pages 123-131, February.
    4. Brian Levy, 2007. "Governance Reform : Bridging Monitoring and Action," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6742.
    5. Brian Levy & Sahr Kpundeh, 2004. "Building State Capacity in Africa : New Approaches, Emerging Lessons," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14878.
    6. Reinikka, Ritva & Svensson, Jakob, 2006. "Using Micro-Surveys to Measure and Explain Corruption," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 359-370, February.
    7. Pollitt, Christopher & Bouckaert, Geert, 2004. "Public Management Reform: A Comparative Analysis," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780199268498.
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