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Country Social Analysis

LogoCountry Social Analysis (CSA) is a macro-level analytical approach, developed to improve the World Bank’s understanding of a country’s political and social context.
The CSA assesses how power, institutions and governance affect relevant socio-economic variables, such as economic opportunities or access to services by different social groups. Additionally, it provides political analysis with a focus on how actors and processes contribute to political stability and their role in facilitating pro-poor reform. On this basis, the CSA identifies social and political risks related to the country context as well as the World Bank’s portfolio, and it provides policy recommendations to manage these risks, to promote social inclusion and to improve governance.


The Country Social Analysis approach has been piloted in 22 countries. Generally, CSAs have served as inputs to broader strategy documents, such as World Bank Country Assistance Strategies (CAS) or Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP); yet many have also included recommendations for specific sectors or World Bank operations. The report “Understanding Socio-economic and Political Factors to Impact Policy Change” provides a comparative analysis of CSA and other donor approaches to social and political analysis on the country-level. It reviews the format, methodology and policy impact of these different approaches and summarizes the emerging lessons learned from this work.


Donor partnerships and collaboration are key to making Country Social Analysis efficient and policy-relevant. In May 2006 the World Bank Social Development Department convened an inter-agency forum, “Making Macro Social Analysis Work for Policy Dialogue ”, to stimulate discussion on the conceptual and practical dimensions of social and political analysis, and to explore the potential for donor cooperation in this area.   


The Social Development Department’s work on CSA has received generous support from the Trust Fund for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development (TFESSD) and the Japan Policy and Human Resources Development Fund (PHRD).

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Country Social Analysis Cases