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Submitted by S. Akhtar Mahmood on
Thanks to Prof. Basu for highlighting this important issue. Just one reaction. Bank staff producing analytic reports are usually expected to come up with policy recommendations. Indeed, their reports may not be cleared without this. However, I have often seen the authors of analytic reports struggle to come up with policy recommendations, not because they are unable to think policy or their work was not of good quality but because sometimes the analytic work does not immediately yield policy prescriptions. As a result, we often see half-baked policy recommendations, or recommendations couched in very general terms. These do not enjoy credibility with our clients and other stakeholders. Moreover, once they become skeptical about one part of the work, i.e., the policy recommendations, some people may become cynical about the rest of the report as well even though the rest may be of high quality. A better approach will be to focus only on a good analysis and then have a patient process of jointly working with clients to come up with policy solutions based on the analysis, and augmented by any other knowledge the clients may have. Such an approach will help build trust and enhance knowledge arbitrage much more than a one-shot, high-profile dissemination event with ministers. S. Akhtar Mahmood Investment Climate Department. WBG