Skip to Main Navigation
Find more details about our communication and engagement events

The report

The World Bank’s latest World Development Report 2021: Data for Better Lives focuses on how data can improve the lives of poor people and advance development objectives.

Download the report

You can download the whole report or just the overview, main messages or individual chapters separately.

World Development Report 2021

Part 1. Advancing development objectives through data

Chapter 1. Harnessing the value of data for the poor

Chapter 2. Data as a force for public good

Chapter 3. Data as a resource for the private sector

Chapter 4. Creative reuses of data for greater value

Part 2. Aligning data governance with the social contract

Chapter 5. Data infrastructure policy: Ensuring equitable access for poor people and poor countries

Chapter 6. Data policies, laws, and regulations: Creating a trust environment

Chapter 7. Creating value in the data economy: The role of competition, trade, and tax policy

Chapter 8. Institutions for data governance: Building trust through collective action

Part 3. Moving toward an integrated national data system

Chapter 9. Creating an integrated national data system

Data and analysis

Download and explore the data behind the WDR 2021.

externalStatistical Performance Indicators (SPI)The indicators measure statistical performance across 174 countries. They are grouped into five dimensions, which capture whether foundations such as financing, skills, and governance needed for a strong statistical system are in place. Under each dimension is a set of indicators to measure performance providing a time series extending at least from 2016 to 2019 in all cases, with some indicators going back to 2004.externalGlobal Data Regulation SurveyThe Global Data Regulation diagnostic is a comprehensive assessment of laws and regulations on data governance. It covers both the enabler and safeguard regulatory practices in 80 countries. The questionnaire comprises 37 questions designed to determine if a country has adopted good regulatory practice on data governance.externalData Governance IndicatorsThe DGI dataset is a subset of the Digital Government/GovTech Systems and Services (DGSS) dataset. The indicators are categorized based on WDR2021 report’s four pillars of data governance framework (infrastructure, laws & regulations, policies, and institutions). They aim to inform a maturity model (MM) approach to data governance and contain both qualitative and quantitative metrics to monitor the state of the data governance practices within the public sector.externalThe World Development Report 2021 (WDR2021) Dataset CollectionThis data catalog collection provides access to all available source data and R/STATA replication files (for specific figures) necessary to create the figures and maps that appear in the report.

Background research

The World Bank working papers on WDR 2021 topics.

externalMeasuring the Statistical Performance of Countries: An Overview of Updates to the World Bank Statistical Capacity IndexHai-Anh Dang, Mustafa Dinc, Juderica Diaz, Hiroko Maeda, John Pullinger, Umar Serajuddin, Brian Stacy, and Dereje Wolde.National statistical systems are facing significant challenges. These challenges arise from increasing demands for high quality and trustworthy data to guide decision making, coupled with the rapidly changing landscape of the data revolution. To emphasize the urgent need for transformation and to help create a mechanism for learning amongst national statistical systems, the World Bank has developed new Statistical Performance Indicators (SPI) to monitor the statistical performance of countries.externalPolicy Choices Can Help Keep 4G and 5G Universal Broadband AffordableEdward J Oughton, Niccolo Comini, Vivien Foster, and Jim W. Hall.The United Nations Broadband Commission has committed the international community to accelerate universal broadband, but the costs of meeting these objectives in the context of rapid technological change are not well understood. This paper compares the global cost-effectiveness of different infrastructure strategies for the developing world to achieve universal 4G or 5G mobile broadband.externalMobile Internet Adoption in West AfricaCarlos Rodriguez Castelan, Rogelio Granguillhome Ochoa, Samantha Lach, and Takaaki MasakiMobile broadband internet is the main technology through which individuals access the internet in developing countries. To understand the barriers to broadband adoption, this paper exploits data from harmonized household expenditure surveys for 2018/19 for seven countries in West Africa—a subregion with one of the lowest levels of mobile internet penetration in the world—to identify the main factors that limit mobile broadband internet adoption.externalA Demand-Side View of Mobile Internet Adoption in the Global SouthRong ChenMobile technologies show great potential to accelerate internet access and usage, especially in lower income countries. A better understanding of key drivers and main constraints for mobile internet access is a prerequisite to design targeted policy solutions. This study uses a household survey on information and communications technology access and usage at the household and individual levels in 22 countries in the Global South.externalMapping Data Governance Legal Frameworks Around the World : Findings from the Global Data Regulation DiagnosticRong ChenA robust data governance regulatory environment, encompassing both safeguards that protect the rights of market players and enablers that facilitate use/reuse of data, provide an important foundation for trust in the data economy. This paper presents the methodology and findings from a Global Data Regulation Diagnostic, which is a detailed assessment of laws and regulations on data governance across 80 countries..externalAchieving Privacy : Costs of Compliance and Enforcement of Data Protection RegulationAnupam Chander, Meaza Abraham, Sandeep Chandy, Yuan Fang, Dayoung Park, and Isabel YuIs privacy a luxury for the rich world? There is a dearth of literature evaluating whether data privacy is too costly for companies to implement, or too expensive for governments to enforce. This paper is the first to offer a review of costs of compliance, and to summarize national budgets for enforcement. The study shows that while privacy may prove costly for companies to implement, it is not too costly for governments to enforce.externalRegulating Personal Data : Data Models and Digital Services TradeMartina Francesca Ferracane and Erik van der MarelWhile regulations on personal data diverge widely between countries, it is possible to identify three main models based on their distinctive features: one model based on open transfers and processing of data, a second model based on conditional transfers and processing, and third a model based on limited transfers and processing. These three data models have become a reference for many other countries when defining their rules on the cross-border transfer and domestic processing of personal data. The study reviews their main characteristics and systematically identifies for 116 countries worldwide to which model they adhere for the two components of data regulation (i.e. cross-border transfers and domestic processing of data).externalSmall Area Estimation of Non-Monetary Poverty with Geospatial DataTakaaki Masaki, David Newhouse, Ani Rudra Silwal, Adane Bedada, and Ryan EngstromThis paper uses data from Sri Lanka and Tanzania to evaluate the benefits of combining household surveys with geographically comprehensive geospatial indicators to generate small area estimates of non-monetary poverty. The preferred estimates are generated by utilizing subarea-level geospatial indicators in a household-level empirical best predictor mixed model with a normalized welfare measure.externalConfronting Data InequalityAngelina Fisher and Thomas StreinzData conveys significant social, economic, and political power. Unequal control over data — a pervasive form of digital inequality — is a problem for economic development, human agency, and collective self-determination that needs to be addressed. This paper takes some steps in this direction by analyzing the extent to which law facilitates unequal control over data and by suggesting ways in which legal interventions might lead to more equal control over data.