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Who We Are

The Human Development Network: Who We Are and What We Do

Goals and Mission
To advance the analytical and operational quality of the World Bank’s promotion of sustainable and inclusive “investment in people,” the Office of the Chief Economist for the Human Development Network supports an evidence-based approach to development policy.

The Office of the Chief Economist pursues this goal by:
• Supporting research to strengthen the knowledge base for Human Development policy, particularly through systematic impact evaluations;
• Promoting the sharing of evidence on effective approaches to human development across the Bank;
• Coordinating the HD network's work on results measurement and on governance and service delivery;
• Advising on the quality of analytical work conducted by staff of the HD network;
• Being a resource for strategy formulation to the HD network's management;
• Training Bank staff and government officials on the value of an evidence-based approach to policy and program design.

Who We Are

Ariel Fiszbein is Chief Economist for the Human Development Network at the World Bank. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the World Bank in 1991 where he started his career as Country Economist for Colombia. He has held several positions including that of coordinator of the poverty reduction team at the World Bank Institute, coordinator of the Bank’s program in human development for the southern cone countries in Latin America, Lead Economist in the Human Development Department for Latin America and the Caribbean and Adviser to the Bank’s Chief Economist and senior vice-President for Development Economics. In the latter position, he coordinated for several years the Bank’s Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) initiative. He has published extensively on a range of issues of social policy. He has taught at the Universidad de San Andres in Buenos Aires and was the secretary of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA) between 1998 and 2005.

Bénédicte de la Brière is a Senior Economist in the Human Development Network, Office of the Chief Economist. With a focus on governance and service delivery, she mainly works on developing case studies, evaluations and tools for monitoring and verifying service delivery performance across education, health and social protection. In addition, she works on human rights and human development and acts as a liaison with the broader governance and anti-corruption community in the World Bank. She holds a Ph.D in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California at Berkeley.

Alaka Holla is an Economist in the Human Development Network, Office of the Chief Economist. Her area of research is focused on measuring the quality of service delivery, discrimination in access to services, and the relationships among prices, access, and quality in health and education markets. She is currently contributing to analytical work in Argentina, Cambodia, India, Nigeria, Serbia, and Tanzania. She holds a PhD in Economics from Brown University.

Santhosh Srinivasan is a consultant in the Human Development Network, Office of the Chief Economist. As a member of the governance team, his work mainly focuses on the development of a database of indicators that can be used towards benchmarking of relative country and project performance in the HD sub sectors of health, education, and social protection. He also acts as the liaison between the HDNCE team and the AGI database development team. Prior to joining HDNCE, Santosh worked for DEC research group on micro finance impact evaluations in Malawi and Pakistan. While at DEC, he also acted as the point person in field for a randomized evaluation initiative in Malawi. Santhosh holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

Laura B. Rawlings is Program Manager of the Spanish Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF), established in 2007 with a $14 million grant from the Government of Spain and a Lead Specialist for the Social Protection Network at the World Bank. Laura’s core responsibilities include promoting impact evaluations of social sector programs to build a knowledge base on development effectiveness and to support the World Bank and its clients in establishing more effective approaches to monitoring and evaluation. Previously, she worked as Sector Leader for Human Development on Central America for the World Bank where she was responsible for policy dialogue on social sector issues and for coordinating the World Bank’s health, education and social protection portfolio in the region. She has also worked in the World Bank’s Development Research Group on the evaluation of social programs and as a member of the Social Protection team in the Latin American and Caribbean region where she was responsible for several research initiatives and projects in the areas of conditional cash transfers, social funds and social protection systems. Prior to joining the World Bank she worked for the Overseas Development Council. An economist by training, she has published books and articles in the fields of evaluation and human development.

Carlos Asenjo is a Senior Economist in the Human Development Network's Chief Economist Office. As an economic adviser of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, for more than seven years he has contributed to the formulation and implementation of the Spanish policy for international development. He has participated in two DAC Peer Review exercises, and in the yearly production and negotiation of the ODA budget of Spain. He has designed the current structure of the Annual Plan for the Spanish Cooperation; and as head of the statistics unit, has led the reform of the Spanish ODA monitoring frame, and contributed to its coordination with the evaluation system. He has also been an economic theory professor at UAM, UCM and UNED, and an international development professor of an M.A. program at UFV in Spain. His main research work has focused on the institutional aspects of economic growth.

Adam Ross is an Economist in the Human Development Network, Office of the Chief Economist. He provides analytical and management support to multiple impact evaluations including a program of evaluations focused on results-based financing mechanisms for health services in Africa and South Asia and a slum upgrading program in Latin America. Adam also supports the Spanish Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF) activities including the field-based workshops. Adam earned his BA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and MPA in International Development from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Outside of the Bank, Adam serves as a board member and Vice President of an international NGO called American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad (AYUDA), Inc., which organizes educational programs for children living with diabetes throughout Latin America.

Paloma Acevedo is a Monitoring and Impact Evaluation Specialist in the Human Development Network, Office of the Chief Economist Office. As a member of the Spanish Impact Evaluation Trust Fund (SIEF) team she provides analytical and management support to teams working on impact evaluations. She is also leading the effort on dissemination of impact evaluation results vis - a - vis the SIEF website and coordinating with Bank teams. Paloma also supports some of the SIEF capacity building activities, including the field-based workshops. She holds a MSc in Economics from CEMFI (an Institution of the Bank of Spain) with a major in econometrics. Before joining the SIEF team she worked on impact evaluation in the research department (DECRG) focusing on areas of poverty, gender, microfinance, and building capacity for small businesses. Previous to that, she worked in the Central Bank of Spain as the Country Economist for Andean countries and conducted research on the generation of counterfactual scenarios to study debt management policies of developing countries. Outside the Bank, Paloma collaborates doing some research on development for ICEI (Institute of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid) and she is also part of the Advisory Board of Givology, an NGO that raises funds through the internet for students and communities in need of education support.

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