Documents & Reports

Varun Gauri

Senior Economist

VARUN GAURI is Senior Economist with the Development Research Group of the World Bank. His research draws on theories and methods form economics, political science, and philosophy to study how national and international governance systems affect human welfare in poor societies. He has published articles in leading journals on topics that include the enforcement of social and economic rights, the political economy of responses to HIV/AIDS, the strategic choices of development NGOs, customary legal systems, and health care and education governance. He is the author of School Choice in Chile, co-editor of Courting Social Justice: The Judicial Enforcement of Social and Economics Rights in the Developing World, and co-author of the 2007 World Development Report. Currently, he is leading research projects on the determinants of compliance with judicial rulings on human rights, grievance redress in basic service delivery, and the international regime for development assistance. He received a BA in philosophy and literature from the University of Chicago, a Masters and PhD in Public Policy from Princeton University, and has held positions as Visiting Lecturer in Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and Visiting Professor in the Department of Economics at ILADES in Santiago, Chile.

The list below is of World Bank working papers and publications. You can also see (and in some cases download) other publications by this author.  

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A public strategy for compliance monitoring (English)

Theoretical accounts of compliance with court orders emphasize the importance of transparency. Most empirical studies of compliance center on high profile political cases, largely ignoring the high-volume, quotidian claims against the state for basic services that constitute the largest share of court dockets in many jurisdictions. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS6523 JUN 01, 2013

Cullell, Jorge Vargas; Gauri, Varun; Staton, Jeffrey K.

MDGs that nudge : the Millennium Development Goals, popular mobilization, and the post-2015 development framework (English)

The Millennium Development Goals, which expire in 2015, were a global agreement to promote human development and reduce poverty. But they did not create a legalized institutional regime, in which precise obligations would be delegated to specific actors, nor were they, in many respects, compatible with the incentives of the countries whose heads of state endorsed them. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS6282 NOV 01, 2012

Gauri, Varun

The law's majestic equality ? the distributive impact of litigating social and economic rights (English)

Optimism about the use of laws, constitutions, and rights to achieve social change has never been higher among practitioners. But the academic literature is skeptical that courts can direct resources toward the poor. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS5999 MAR 01, 2012

Brinks, Daniel M.; Gauri, Varun

Inter-subjective meaning and collective action in developing societies : theory, evidence, and policy implications (English)

The capacity to act collectively is not just a matter of groups sharing interests, incentives, and values (or being sufficiently small), as standard economic theory predicts, but a prior and shared understanding of the constituent elements of problem(s) and possible solutions. ... See More +

Journal Article 79457 FEB 01, 2012

Gauri, Varun; Woolcock, Michael; Desai, Deval

Human rights based approaches to developmen t: concepts, evidence, and policy (English)

This paper assesses the benefits, risks, and limitations of human rights based approaches to development, which can be catalogued on the basis of the institutional mechanisms they rely on: global compliance based on international and regional treaties; the policies and programming of donors and executive agencies; rights talk; and legal mobilization. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS5938 JAN 01, 2012

Gauri, Varun; Gloppen, Siri

Human rights as demands for communicative action (English)

A key issue with human rights is how to allocate duties correlative to rights claims. But the philosophical literature, drawing largely on naturalistic or interactional accounts of human rights, develops answers to this question that do not illuminate actual human rights problems. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS5951 JAN 01, 2012

Brinks, Daniel M.; Gauri, Varun

Redressing grievances and complaints regarding basic service delivery (English)

Redress procedures are important for basic fairness. In addition, they can help address principal-agent problems in the implementation of social policies and provide information to policy makers regarding policy design. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS5699 JUN 01, 2011

Gauri, Varun

Intersubjective meaning and collective action in 'fragile' societies : theory, evidence and policy implications (English)

The capacity to act collectively is not just a matter of groups sharing interests, incentives and values (or being sufficiently small), as standard economic theory predicts, but a prior and shared understanding of the constituent elements of problem(s) and possible solutions. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS5707 JUN 01, 2011

Gauri, Varun; Desai, Deval; Woolcock, Michael

Education, labor rights, and incentives : contract teacher cases in the indian courts (English)

Since the liberalization of India's economy beginning in the early 1990's, the government has increasingly employed contract workers to perform various state functions, including in the education sector. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS5365 JUL 01, 2010

Robinson, Nick; Gauri, Varun

The publicity "defect" of customary law (English)

This paper examines the extent to which dispute resolvers in customary law systems provide widely understandable justifications for their decisions. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS5349 JUN 01, 2010

Gauri, Varun

How do local-level legal institutions promote development ? (English)

This paper develops a framework and some hypotheses regarding the impact of local-level, informal legal institutions on three economic outcomes: aggregate growth, inequality, and human capabilities. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS5108 NOV 01, 2009

Gauri, Varun

Public interest litigation in India : overreaching or underachieving ? (English)

Public interest litigation has historically been an innovative judicial procedure for enhancing the social and economic rights of disadvantaged and marginalized groups in India. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS5109 NOV 01, 2009

Gauri, Varun

How do local-level legal institutions promote development? An exploratory essay (English)

This paper develops a framework and some hypotheses regarding the impact of local-level, informal legal institutions on three economic outcomes: aggregate growth, inequality, and human capabilities. ... See More +

Working Paper (Numbered Series) 51844 NOV 01, 2009

Gauri, Varun

Do international treaties promote development ? the convention on the rights of the child and basic immunization (English)

Little evidence is available on whether changing global rules so as to promote human rights can enhance development outcomes. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was almost universally ratified by the mid-1990s, but it is unclear whether treaty ratification was associated with better or wider protection of children’s rights. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS4964 JUN 01, 2009

Gauri, Varun

World development report 2007 : development and the next generation (Russian)

The theme of the World Development Report (WDR) 2007 is youth, aged 12 to 24. It focuses on decisions concerning the five phases with the biggest long-term impact on how human capital is kept safe, developed, and deployed. ... See More +

World Development Report 35999 JAN 01, 2007

Fares, Jean; Gauri, Varun; McKenzie, David; Sinha, Nistha; Jimenez, Emmanuel Y.; Lundberg, Mattias K. A.; Murthi, Mamta; Ridao-Cano, Cristobal English, Japanese, Bahasa (Indonesian), Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese

World development report 2007 : development and the next generation (Arabic)

The theme of the World Development Report (WDR) 2007 is youth, aged 12 to 24. It focuses on decisions concerning the five phases with the biggest long-term impact on how human capital is kept safe, developed, and deployed. ... See More +

World Development Report 35999 JAN 01, 2007

Fares, Jean; Gauri, Varun; McKenzie, David; Sinha, Nistha; Jimenez, Emmanuel Y.; Lundberg, Mattias K. A.; Murthi, Mamta; Ridao-Cano, Cristobal English, Japanese, Bahasa (Indonesian), Russian, Spanish, French, Chinese, Vietnamese

World development report 2007 : development and the next generation : Informe sobre el desarrollo mundial : el desarrollo y la nueva generacion (Spanish)

The theme of the World Development Report (WDR) 2007 is youth, aged 12 to 24. It focuses on decisions concerning the five phases with the biggest long-term impact on how human capital is kept safe, developed, and deployed. ... See More +

World Development Report 35999 DEC 01, 2006

Fares, Jean; Gauri, Varun; McKenzie, David; Sinha, Nistha; Jimenez, Emmanuel Y.; Lundberg, Mattias K. A.; Murthi, Mamta; Ridao-Cano, Cristobal English, Japanese, Bahasa (Indonesian), Russian, French, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese

World development report 2007 : development and the next generation (English)

The theme of the World Development Report (WDR) 2007 is youth, aged 12 to 24. It focuses on decisions concerning the five phases with the biggest long-term impact on how human capital is kept safe, developed, and deployed. ... See More +

World Development Report 35999 SEP 23, 2006

Fares, Jean; Gauri, Varun; McKenzie, David; Sinha, Nistha; Jimenez, Emmanuel Y.; Lundberg, Mattias K. A.; Murthi, Mamta; Ridao-Cano, Cristobal Japanese, Bahasa (Indonesian), Russian, Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese

World development report 2007 : development and the next generation (Bahasa (Indonesian))

The theme of the World Development Report (WDR) 2007 is youth, aged 12 to 24. It focuses on decisions concerning the five phases with the biggest long-term impact on how human capital is kept safe, developed, and deployed. ... See More +

World Development Report 35999 SEP 23, 2006

Fares, Jean; Gauri, Varun; McKenzie, David; Sinha, Nistha; Jimenez, Emmanuel Y.; Lundberg, Mattias K. A.; Murthi, Mamta; Ridao-Cano, Cristobal English, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese

World development report 2007 : development and the next generation (Japanese)

The theme of the World Development Report (WDR) 2007 is youth, aged 12 to 24. It focuses on decisions concerning the five phases with the biggest long-term impact on how human capital is kept safe, developed, and deployed. ... See More +

World Development Report 35999 SEP 23, 2006

Fares, Jean; Gauri, Varun; McKenzie, David; Sinha, Nistha; Jimenez, Emmanuel Y.; Lundberg, Mattias K. A.; Murthi, Mamta; Ridao-Cano, Cristobal English, Bahasa (Indonesian), Russian, Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese

Title Document Date Report No. Document Type Also available in
A public strategy for compliance monitoring (English)
See More +
JUN 01, 2013 WPS6523 Policy Research Working Paper
MDGs that nudge : the Millennium Development Goals, popular mobilization, and the post-2015 development framework (English)
See More +
NOV 01, 2012 WPS6282 Policy Research Working Paper
The law's majestic equality ? the distributive impact of litigating social and economic rights (English)
See More +
MAR 01, 2012 WPS5999 Policy Research Working Paper
Inter-subjective meaning and collective action in developing societies : theory, evidence, and policy implications (English)
See More +
FEB 01, 2012 79457 Journal Article
Human rights based approaches to developmen t: concepts, evidence, and policy (English)
See More +
JAN 01, 2012 WPS5938 Policy Research Working Paper
Human rights as demands for communicative action (English)
See More +
JAN 01, 2012 WPS5951 Policy Research Working Paper
Redressing grievances and complaints regarding basic service delivery (English)
See More +
JUN 01, 2011 WPS5699 Policy Research Working Paper
Intersubjective meaning and collective action in 'fragile' societies : theory, evidence and policy implications (English)
See More +
JUN 01, 2011 WPS5707 Policy Research Working Paper
Education, labor rights, and incentives : contract teacher cases in the indian courts (English)
See More +
JUL 01, 2010 WPS5365 Policy Research Working Paper
The publicity "defect" of customary law (English)
See More +
JUN 01, 2010 WPS5349 Policy Research Working Paper
How do local-level legal institutions promote development ? (English)
See More +
NOV 01, 2009 WPS5108 Policy Research Working Paper
Public interest litigation in India : overreaching or underachieving ? (English)
See More +
NOV 01, 2009 WPS5109 Policy Research Working Paper
How do local-level legal institutions promote development? An exploratory essay (English)
See More +
NOV 01, 2009 51844 Working Paper (Numbered Series)
Do international treaties promote development ? the convention on the rights of the child and basic immunization (English)
See More +
JUN 01, 2009 WPS4964 Policy Research Working Paper
World development report 2007 : development and the next generation (Russian)
See More +
JAN 01, 2007 35999 World Development Report English, Japanese, Bahasa (Indonesian), Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese
World development report 2007 : development and the next generation (Arabic)
See More +
JAN 01, 2007 35999 World Development Report English, Japanese, Bahasa (Indonesian), Russian, Spanish, French, Chinese, Vietnamese
World development report 2007 : development and the next generation : Informe sobre el desarrollo mundial : el desarrollo y la nueva generacion (Spanish)
See More +
DEC 01, 2006 35999 World Development Report English, Japanese, Bahasa (Indonesian), Russian, French, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese
World development report 2007 : development and the next generation (English)
See More +
SEP 23, 2006 35999 World Development Report Japanese, Bahasa (Indonesian), Russian, Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese
World development report 2007 : development and the next generation (Bahasa (Indonesian))
See More +
SEP 23, 2006 35999 World Development Report English, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese
World development report 2007 : development and the next generation (Japanese)
See More +
SEP 23, 2006 35999 World Development Report English, Bahasa (Indonesian), Russian, Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese