Michael Woolcock

Lead Social Development Specialist

World Bank

Michael Woolcock

Michael Woolcock is Lead Social Development Specialist in the World Bank's Development Research Group, where he has worked since 1998. He is also a (part-time) Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He is the author of over 75 journal articles and chapters, as well as eight books, most recently ‘Building State Capability: Evidence, Analysis, Action’ (Oxford University Press; with Matt Andrews and Lant Pritchett).

In 2004 he co-founded the World Bank’s global ‘Justice for the Poor’ initiative; from 2006-2009 was the founding Research Director of the Brooks World Poverty Institute at the University of Manchester and in 2012 co-founded the ‘Building State Capability’ program at Harvard’s Center for International Development. In 2012 he was a co-recipient of the ‘best book’ prize, and in 2014 the ‘best article’ prize, from the American Sociological Association’s section on Economic Development. In 2015-17 he was based in Malaysia, helping establish the World Bank’s first Knowledge and Research Hub.

He is on the editorial board of numerous journals, and is the Asia-Pacific representative on the Scientific Advisory Committee of UNESCO’s largest research program (Management of Social Transformations). An Australian national, he has an MA and PhD in comparative-historical sociology from Brown University.