Documents & Reports

Stephen Knack

Lead Economist

STEPHEN KNACK is a Lead Economist in the Development Research Group (Human Development and Public Services Team) and in PREM Anchor (Public Sector Governance). His recent research addresses the impact of aid on policy reform and on public sector capacity and accountability.  He is a specialist on actionable governance indicators for monitoring progress of public sector reforms, and has oversight responsibility for the public sector management and governance items in the Bank's annual Country Policy and Institutional Assessments.  Prior to joining the Bank in 1999, Knack was a Research Associate at the University of Maryland's IRIS Center, and Assistant Professor in the School of Public Affairs at American University.  He received a PhD in Economics from the University of Maryland in 1991.

The author's works below are drawn from the World Bank's institutional archives. You can also download other documents by this author.

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Russian Federation - National and regional trends in regulatory burden and corruption : policy note : Russian Federation - National and regional trends in regulatory burden and corruption (Russian)

Using data from business environment and enterprise performance survey (BEEPS) and other enterprise surveys, studies have shown that firm entry, growth and productivity are impeded by corruption and overly burdensome regulation. ... See More +

Working Paper 75569 SEP 05, 2013

Kisunko, Gregory; Knack, Stephen; Islam, Roumeen; Ponamariov, Branco

It's only words : validating the CPIA governance assessments (English)

This study analyzes the validity of the World Bank's Country Policy and Institutional Assessments governance ratings, an important factor in allocating the Bank's concessionary International Development Association funds. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS6526 JUN 01, 2013

Knack, Stephen

Building or bypassing recipient country systems : are donors defying the Paris declaration ? (English)

The 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness sets targets for increased use by donors of recipient country systems for managing aid. It also calls for donors to be more responsive to the quality of recipient country systems: the optimal level of their use, in terms of maximizing the development effectiveness of aid, is believed to vary with their quality. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS6423 APR 01, 2013

Knack, Stephen

Russian Federation - National and regional trends in regulatory burden and corruption : policy note : Russian Federation - National and regional trends in regulatory burden and corruption (English)

Using data from business environment and enterprise performance survey (BEEPS) and other enterprise surveys, studies have shown that firm entry, growth and productivity are impeded by corruption and overly burdensome regulation. ... See More +

Working Paper 75569 FEB 24, 2013

Kisunko, Gregory; Knack, Stephen; Islam, Roumeen; Ponamariov, Branco Russian

Research digest newsletter Vol. 6 (No. 3) (English)

In this issue: measuring financial inclusion; aid effectiveness; good jobs for South Asia; retirement behavior among China's older workers; do middle classes bring institutional reforms? ... See More +

Newsletter 77974 DEC 01, 2012

Knack, Stephen

Political ideology, quality at entry and the success of economic reform programs (English)

This study investigates how government ideology matters for the success of World Bank economic policy loans, which typically support market-liberalizing reforms. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS6130 JUL 01, 2012

Knack, Stephen; Smets, Lodewijk; Molenaers, Nadia

When do donors trust recipient country systems ? (English)

The 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness sets targets for increased use by donors of recipient country systems for managing aid. The target is premised on a view that country systems are strengthened when donors trust recipients to manage aid funds, but undermined when donors manage aid through their own separate parallel systems. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS6019 APR 01, 2012

Knack, Stephen

Aid tying and donor fragmentation (English)

This study tests two opposing hypotheses about the impact of aid fragmentation on the practice of aid tying. In one, when a small number of donors dominate the aid market in a country, they may exploit their monopoly power by tying more aid to purchases from contractors based in their own countries. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS5934 JAN 01, 2012

Knack, Stephen; Smets, Lodewijk

The correlation between human capital and morality and its effect on economic performance : theory and evidence (English)

This paper incorporates morality -- defined as lower utility from consuming goods obtained through appropriative rather than productive activities -- into a simple static general equilibrium model in which agents choose whether to be producers or appropriators. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS5720 JUN 01, 2011

Balan, David J.; Knack, Stephen

Trends in corruption and regulatory burden in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (English)

This study assesses levels and trends in corruption and the administrative burden from government regulation of private firms. It is largely based on the fourth round of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)-World Bank Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Surveys (BEEPS) covering over 11,000 firms in 29 countries in Europe and Central Asia (ECA). ... See More +

Publication 59465 JAN 06, 2011

Knack, Stephen; Kisunko, Gregory

Crossing the threshold : an analysis of IBRD graduation policy (English)

According to World Bank policy, countries remain eligible to borrow from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development until they are able to sustain long-term development without further recourse to Bank financing. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS5531 JAN 01, 2011

Knack, Stephen; Heckelman, Jac C.; Rogers, F. Halsey

Aid quality and donor rankings (English)

This paper offers new measures of aid quality covering 38 bilateral and multilateral donors, as well as new insights about the robustness and usefulness of such measures. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS5290 MAY 01, 2010

Knack, Stephen; Eubank, Nicholas; Rogers, F. Halsey

Aid and trust in country systems (English)

The 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness sets targets for increased use by donors of recipient country systems for managing aid. A consensus view holds that country systems are strengthened when donors trust recipients to manage aid funds, but undermined when donors manage aid through their own separate parallel systems. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS5005 JUL 01, 2009

Knack, Stephen; Eubank, Nicholas

Sovereign rents and the quality of tax policy and administration (English)

The availability of windfall revenues from natural resource exports or foreign aid potentially weakens governments' incentives to design efficient tax systems. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS4773 NOV 01, 2008

Knack, Stephen

Individual and country-level factors affecting support for foreign aid (English)

In recent years donor countries have committed to dramatic increases in the supply of foreign aid to developing countries. Meeting and sustaining such commitments will require sufficient support among donor country voters and taxpayers. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS4714 SEP 01, 2008

Knack, Stephen; Paxton, Pamela

The worldwide governance indicators and tautology : causally related separable concepts, indicators of a common cause, or both ? (English)

Aggregate indexes of the quality of governance, covering large samples of countries, are widely used in research and in aid policy. Few studies examine the validity of these indexes, however. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS4669 JUL 01, 2008

Knack, Stephen; Langbein, Laura

Measuring corruption in Eastern Europe and Central Asia : a critique of the cross-country indicators (English)

This paper assesses corruption levels and trends among countries in the transition countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA) based on data from several sources that are both widely used and cover most or all countries in the region. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS3968 JUL 01, 2006

Knack, Stephen

Foreign aid and market-liberalizing reform (English)

Market-oriented economic policies-reflected in limited economic activity by government, protection of private property rights, sound monetary policy, outward orientation regarding trade and efficient tax and regulatory policy-have been strongly linked to faster rates of economic growth. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS3557 APR 01, 2005

Heckelman, Jac; Knack, Stephen

Mapped in or mapped out? The Romanian poor in inter-household and community networks (English)

This paper analyses patterns of economic and social interactions that sustain the poor or, alternatively, isolate them yet further from other households, from the communities in which they live and, by extension, from social networks and economic opportunities. ... See More +

Publication 29790 JUN 01, 2004

Chiribuca, Dan; Amelina, Maria; Knack, Stephen

Donor fragmentation and bureaucratic quality in aid recipients (English)

This paper analyzes the impact of donor fragmentation on the quality of government bureaucracy in aid-recipient nations. A formal model of a donor's decision to hire government administrators to manage donor-funded projects predicts that the number of administrators hired declines as the donor's share of other projects in the country increases, and as the donor's "altruism" (concern for the success of other donors' projects) increases. ... See More +

Policy Research Working Paper WPS3186 JAN 01, 2004

Knack, Stephen; Rahman, Aminur;

Title Document Date Report No. Document Type Also available in
Russian Federation - National and regional trends in regulatory burden and corruption : policy note : Russian Federation - National and regional trends in regulatory burden and corruption (Russian)
See More +
SEP 05, 2013 75569 Working Paper
It's only words : validating the CPIA governance assessments (English)
See More +
JUN 01, 2013 WPS6526 Policy Research Working Paper
Building or bypassing recipient country systems : are donors defying the Paris declaration ? (English)
See More +
APR 01, 2013 WPS6423 Policy Research Working Paper
Russian Federation - National and regional trends in regulatory burden and corruption : policy note : Russian Federation - National and regional trends in regulatory burden and corruption (English)
See More +
FEB 24, 2013 75569 Working Paper Russian
Research digest newsletter Vol. 6 (No. 3) (English)
See More +
DEC 01, 2012 77974 Newsletter
Political ideology, quality at entry and the success of economic reform programs (English)
See More +
JUL 01, 2012 WPS6130 Policy Research Working Paper
When do donors trust recipient country systems ? (English)
See More +
APR 01, 2012 WPS6019 Policy Research Working Paper
Aid tying and donor fragmentation (English)
See More +
JAN 01, 2012 WPS5934 Policy Research Working Paper
The correlation between human capital and morality and its effect on economic performance : theory and evidence (English)
See More +
JUN 01, 2011 WPS5720 Policy Research Working Paper
Trends in corruption and regulatory burden in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (English)
See More +
JAN 06, 2011 59465 Publication
Crossing the threshold : an analysis of IBRD graduation policy (English)
See More +
JAN 01, 2011 WPS5531 Policy Research Working Paper
Aid quality and donor rankings (English)
See More +
MAY 01, 2010 WPS5290 Policy Research Working Paper
Aid and trust in country systems (English)
See More +
JUL 01, 2009 WPS5005 Policy Research Working Paper
Sovereign rents and the quality of tax policy and administration (English)
See More +
NOV 01, 2008 WPS4773 Policy Research Working Paper
Individual and country-level factors affecting support for foreign aid (English)
See More +
SEP 01, 2008 WPS4714 Policy Research Working Paper
The worldwide governance indicators and tautology : causally related separable concepts, indicators of a common cause, or both ? (English)
See More +
JUL 01, 2008 WPS4669 Policy Research Working Paper
Measuring corruption in Eastern Europe and Central Asia : a critique of the cross-country indicators (English)
See More +
JUL 01, 2006 WPS3968 Policy Research Working Paper
Foreign aid and market-liberalizing reform (English)
See More +
APR 01, 2005 WPS3557 Policy Research Working Paper
Mapped in or mapped out? The Romanian poor in inter-household and community networks (English)
See More +
JUN 01, 2004 29790 Publication
Donor fragmentation and bureaucratic quality in aid recipients (English)
See More +
JAN 01, 2004 WPS3186 Policy Research Working Paper