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Policy Research Working Paper 6851

Knowledge is central to development. The World Bank
invests about one-quarter of its budget for country
services in knowledge products. Still, there is little
research about the demand for these knowledge products
and how internal knowledge flows affect their demand.
About 49 percent of the World Bank’s policy reports,
which are published Economic and Sector Work or
Technical Assistance reports, have the stated objective
of informing the public debate or influencing the
development community. This study uses information on
downloads and citations to assesses whether policy reports

meet this objective. About 13 percent of policy reports
were downloaded at least 250 times while more than 31
percent of policy reports are never downloaded. Almost
87 percent of policy reports were never cited. More
expensive, complex, multi-sector, core diagnostics reports
on middle-income countries with larger populations tend
to be downloaded more frequently. Multi-sector reports
also tend to be cited more frequently. Internal knowledge
sharing matters as cross support provided by the World
Bank’s Research Department consistently increases
downloads and citations.

This paper is a product of the Operations and Strategy Unit, Development Economics Vice Presidency. It is part of a larger
effort by the World Bank to provide open access to its research and make a contribution to development policy discussions
around the world. Policy Research Working Papers are also posted on the Web at The authors
may be contacted at

The Policy Research Working Paper Series disseminates the findings of work in progress to encourage the exchange of ideas about development
issues. An objective of the series is to get the findings out quickly, even if the presentations are less than fully polished. The papers carry the
names of the authors and should be cited accordingly. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those
of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/World Bank and
its affiliated organizations, or those of the Executive Directors of the World Bank or the governments they represent.

Produced by the Research Support Team