Public Administration Essay

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Please read the instruction which I upload first. Use the Statement of Work, annotated bibliography and capstone proposal to write the literature review. In addition, please force on Identity, Culture, and Norms / Macroeconomic stability / Social, Environmental, and Geographical Context these three categories to write this literature review!


Predictors of Project Success and Failure


Introduction. 2

References. 7


            In recent years, the World Bank has been implementing the concept of Science of Delivery in an attempt to apply to apply evidence-based solutions to various development challenges. Specific focus has been on the non-technical challenges that the organization encounters while implementing its projects, thereby hindering the realization of optimal outcomes. This literature review analyzes the dominant themes, knowledge gaps, shortcomings of available literature, and major methodological concerns.


            The most common themes in regards to the issue of culture, identity, and norms include the preservation of the cultural heritage of indigenous populations (World Bank, 2003), the ability by project implementers to ensure that the projects have a positive impact on the lives of indigenous peoples (Davis, 2010), and the internalization of human rights norms in a manner that corresponds with the expectations of indigenous populations (Sarfaty, 2005).

            The debate on the emergence of non-technical challenges as far as the issues of culture, identity, and norms are concerned has focused a lot on the regional differences that tend to occur in terms of the impact of cultural practices on the project implementation process. Consequently, the non-technical problems that the World Bank encounters in a country like Ecuador (World Bank, 2003) differ significantly from those that occur in a different country like the Gambia (International Monetary Fund, 2009).

            World Bank data provides crucial insights regarding differences in terms of the impact of culture, identity, and norms. However, the conclusiveness of evidence poses a serious problem because it may be unacceptable to compare findings of studies conducted in countries with different cultural identities and norms. There is also a lack of clarity regarding the extent to which the World Bank has control over non-technical challenges. No comparative studies on the extent of control over variables to address these challenges have been undertaken. The few non-comparative studies that are available are not sufficiently systematic (Davis, 2010; World Bank, 2003). A major lesson to be learned from an analysis of literature relating to this area of focus is that many World Bank projects suffer from numerous inefficiencies simply because the decision-making process is very slow due to the numerous stakeholders that must be consulted in order for the interests of indigenous cultural groups to be fully safeguarded. To deal with this problem, the World Bank is compelled in some situations to attempt to shape domestic law, alter some of the configurations of local cultural systems, and in some situations even overlook some of the issues relating to the indigenous peoples’ rights (Sarfaty, 2005).

A lot of research attention has also been directed towards the impact of macroeconomic instability on the effectiveness of World Bank projects (Guillaumont & Laajaj, 2006) and policy quality in specific countries and its effect on project outcomes (Denizer, Kaufmann & Kraay, 2011). There is also growing emphasis on the extent to which the quality of project outcomes is influenced by demand, counterfactual private sector supply, and the fiscal impact of the project (Vawda, 2001).

Regarding macroeconomic instability, the conventional view is that project outcomes are likely to be better in countries with macroeconomic stability (Burnside & Dollar, 2004; Kilby, 1995). However, findings indicate that there are situations where a high level of macroeconomic instability can increase the level of effectiveness as far as aid projects undertaken by the World Bank are concerned. Another crucial finding is that an increase in the amount of funding in the form of aid tends to lead to a decrease in the level of project success (Guillaumont & Laajaj, 2006).


In terms of policy quality, findings indicate that high quality policies lead to better project outcomes (Denizer, Kaufmann & Kraay, 2011). By extension, country-level performance as far as economic growth is concerned is also correlated with the level of success achieved through projects implementing using aid from the World Bank (Burnside & Dollar, 2004).

Insights from literature on fiscal impact of projects indicate that variance in terms of the success of development projects initiated by the World Bank tends to be more pronounced within countries than among countries. The main methodological weakness in this regard is that focus is normally on both macro and micro measures of policy quality. It may have been better for researchers to investigate macro measures independently of micro measures in order to give a clearer picture of the macroeconomic variables that influence the success of World Bank Projects. Moreover, such an approach can shed some light on the modifications that the World Bank can incorporate in its work in an effort to achieve better project outcomes. As far as such changes are concerned, a lot of emphasis is on project manager quality (Vawda, 2001; Denizer, Kaufmann & Kraay, 2011).

The level of conclusiveness of World Bank data on macroeconomic variables is considerably high (Vawda, 2001). However, a number of variables remain unaddressed in terms of how they can influence project outcomes under specific macroeconomic conditions. Some of these variables include the level of breakdown of activities to be undertaken, differences in project outcomes based on economic sector and loan amount, the contribution of the World Bank in the preparation for the project, institutional variables, and the complexity of projects in relation to the macroeconomic capabilities of the borrower (Kilby, C1995).

The overall impression that is created as far as World Bank data on macroeconomic stability and its influence on the performance of World Bank projects is that researchers have been provided with a comprehensive data set for their research work. However, this data set is yet to be used optimally to measure empirically project performance vis-à-vis the presence of confounding factors such as supervision and bank-borrower interaction (Kilby, C1995). Once these research gaps are closed, researchers will be able to provide a more empirical assessment of how macroeconomic stability influence project outcomes at the World Bank.

            Aspects of partnerships between the World Bank and various stakeholders such as NGOs and state have also been highlighted in literature (Bräutigam & Segarra, 2007). Similarly, the debate on the social learning and social risks associated with the project execution process is ongoing (Sener, 2015). The emergence of new ideas, and the level of government support for various World Bank project proposals. Other important issues that have dominated the debate include the political environment within which projects are implemented (Bräutigam & Segarra, 2007), the influence of trends in public expenditure management, and the role of the dominant economic activities on project preference (International Monetary Fund, 2009).

            Unfortunately, there are many research gaps as far as discourse on the social, environmental, and geographical aspects of project implementation at the World Bank are concerned (Sener, 2015). For instance, there is no consensus on the project implementation details, opinions, and perspectives that should be accorded priority in order to reduce social risks (Sener, 2015). Another example is that the World Bank is yet to establish standard norms for entrenching gender-equitable participation in project work (World Bank, 2005). This is primarily because social norms vary from one geographical context to another. Meanwhile, a major upside of this phenomenon is that consensus seems to have been reached within World Bank as far as nuances relating to the controversial idea of development being gender-neutral are concerned (World Bank, 2005). The next major milestone for the world’s leading financial institution will be to establish practical standards and systems aimed at resolving project implementation challenges in a manner that promotes gender equality.


Many countries continue to lobby for increased project funding from the World Bank without paying much attention to the issue of external debt sustainability. Without adequate debt sustainability analysis, the World Bank gets entangled in projects whose chances of achieving success are minimal. Fortunately, many of the project choices that the World Bank is often forced by circumstances to enter into tend to reinforce the participating countries’ traditional strengths as trading hubs. However, further research is needed to determine the specific practical steps that the organization takes to reconcile its project targets and the local social-cultural and economic realities of the participating countries.

In the realm of delivery challenges, there is an emerging pattern in literature, whereby emphasis is on most cases on the dearth of government and community support to World Bank project implementation staff (Mansuri & Rao, 2004). Similarly, the derailment of civil service reforms at the local level as a major source of delivery challenges has also been widely highlighted (Isham, Kaufmann & Pritchett, 1997; Kilby, 1995; Burnside & Dollar, 2004; Vawda, 2001). Other dominant issues highlighted in literature include the need to improve on and seek local and international support for project monitoring and evaluation practices, the poor quality of data being relied on by World Bank officials as a basis for improving program monitoring and measuring outcomes, and reliability of project performance ratings (Kilby, 1995).


Bräutigam, D. & Segarra, M. (2007). Difficult Partnerships: The World Bank, States, and NGOs. Latin American Politics and Society, 49(4), 149-181.

Burnside, C. & Dollar, D. (2004). Aid, Policies, and Growth: Revisiting the Evidence. World Bank Policy Research Paper, Number O-2834.

Davis, S. (2010). The World Bank and Indigenous Peoples. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.

Denizer, C., Kaufmann, D. & Kraay, A. (2011). Good Countries or Good Projects? Macro and Micro Correlates of World Bank Project Performance. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.

Guillaumont, P. & Laajaj, R. (2006). When instability increases the effectiveness of aid projects. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 4034, October 2006.

International Monetary Fund. (2009). The Gambia: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper—Annual Progress Report—Joint Staff Advisory Note. IMF Country Report No. 09/76.

Isham, J., Kaufmann, D. & Pritchett, L. (1997). Civil Liberties, Democracy, and the Performance of Government Projects. The World Bank Economic Review, 11(2), 219-242.

Kilby, C. (1995). Supervision and Performance: The Case of World Bank Projects. CentER Discussion Paper No. 1995-45. Online.

Mansuri, G. & Rao, V. (2004). Community-Based and -Driven Development: A Critical Review. The World Bank Research Observer, 19(1), 1-39.

Sarfaty, G. The World Bank and the Internalization of Indigenous Rights Norms. The Yale Law Journal, 114, 1791-1818.

Sener, M. (2015). How the World Bank manages social risks: Implementation of the Social Risk Mitigation Project in Turkey, Third World Quarterly, 36(4), 758-775

World Bank. (2003). Implementation completion report on a loan in the amount of us$25.0 million to the republic of Ecuador for an indigenous and afro-Ecuadorian peoples development project. January 21, 2003. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank

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