Instruments of lesson-drawing comparing the knowledge brokerage of the OECD and the World Bank

Chanwoong BAEK

This study examines the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank, the two largest global actors in the education sector, in their capacity as knowledge brokers. For these actors, positioning themselves between research and policy and circulating their versions of evidence has become a popular governance instrument to amplify their impact at the national level. To compare the strategies and targets of the OECD and the World Bank, we analyze three publication series: the OECD’s Education Policy Outlook and Reviews of National Policies for Education and the World Bank’s Systems Approach for Better Education reports. The results reveal significant differences between the OECD’s and the World Bank’s approaches to producing evidence and brokering knowledge. We interpret the differences against the backdrop of the idiosyncrasies of the two organizations: The World Bank sees itself as a transnational actor, and its knowledge production and brokerage are highly decontextualized transcending national experiences. By contrast, the OECD is an intergovernmental organization that views itself as a facilitator of cross-national peer exchange. Situating the findings within the broader framework of the global–national nexus, we argue that the World Bank’s approach promotes vertical policy learning, while the OECD’s approach pursues horizontal policy learning.