Skoufias, Emmanuel

Poverty Reduction and Equity Department, World Bank
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Fields of Specialization
labor and demographic economics; economics of nutrition; agricultural economics; applied econometrics; program evaluation
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Poverty Reduction and Equity Department, World Bank
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Emmanuel Skoufias is a Lead Economist at the World Bank working on poverty and distributional issues.  He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Minnesota and prior to joining the Bank he was faculty at the University of Colorado in Boulder and Pennsylvania State University, a Senior Researcher at the Inter-American Development Bank, and a Senior Research Fellowat the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) where he led the impact evaluation of the PROGRESA program of Mexico. Emmanuel has published papers in a variety of academic journals on the targeting of social programs, the impacts of transfer programs, child health and nutrition, the role of public transfers in redistributing income, land tenancy, regional welfare disparities, risk sharing, vulnerability, and the impacts of climate change on different dimensions of welfare. Currently he is co-leading the SecureNutrition Knowledge Platform that focuses on the linkages between agriculture, food security, and nutrition.
Citations 82 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 57
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    Indigenous Peoples in Latin America : Economic Opportunities and Social Networks
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-05) Patrinos, Harry Anthony ; Skoufias, Emmanuel ; Lunde, Trine
    Despite significant changes in poverty overall in Latin America, the proportion of indigenous peoples living in poverty did not change much from the early 1990s to the present. While earlier work focused on human development, much less has been done on the distribution and returns to income-generating assets and the effect these have on income generation strategies. The authors show that low income and low assets are mutually reinforcing. For instance, low education levels translate into low income, resulting in poor health and reduced schooling for future generations. Social networks affect the economic opportunities of individuals through two important channels-information and norms. However, the analysis shows that the networks available to indigenous peoples do not facilitate employment in nontraditional sectors.
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    An Evaluation of the Performance of Regression Discontinuity Design on PROGRESA
    (World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2004-09) Buddelmeyer, Hielke ; Skoufias, Emmanuel
    While providing the most reliable method of evaluating social programs, randomized experiments in developing and developed countries alike are accompanied by political risks and ethical issues that jeopardize the chances of adopting them. In this paper the authors use a unique data set from rural Mexico collected for the purposes of evaluating the impact of the PROGRESA poverty alleviation program to examine the performance of a quasi-experimental estimator, the Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD). Using as a benchmark the impact estimates based on the experimental nature of the sample, we examine how estimates differ when we use the RDD as the estimator for evaluating program impact on two key indicators: child school attendance and child work. Overall the performance of the RDD was remarkably good. The RDD estimates of program impact agreed with the experimental estimates in 10 out of the 12 possible cases. The two cases in which the RDD method failed to reveal any significant program impact on the school attendance of boys and girls were in the first year of the program (round 3). RDD estimates comparable to the experimental estimates were obtained when we used as a comparison group children from non-eligible households in the control localities.
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    Expanding Microfinance in Brazil : Credit Utilization and Performance of Small Firms
    (Taylor and Francis, 2013-06-18) Skoufias, Emmanuel ; Leite, Phillippe ; Narita, Renata
    We take advantage of the natural experiment generated by the exogenous change in government policy towards microcredit to evaluate the impact of the increased supply of microcredit on the utilisation of credit by micro-entrepreneurs. Based on micro-entrepreneurs' survey and administrative data from a microcredit programme in Brazil, we show that: the increased supply of microcredit raised formal credit utilisation and this does not crowd out the use of informal credit sources; formal credit taking improves business performance; and returns are larger for women- than for men-owned firms, but males employ significantly more workers after taking formal credit than females.
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    Geographic Disparities in Well-Being and Fiscal Expenditures in Thailand : 2000 vs. 2009
    (Taylor and Francis, 2013-06-09) Skoufias, Emmanuel ; Olivieri, Sergio
    This article investigates (1) the extent to which the differences in the standard of living between regions in Thailand are due to differences in the returns to characteristics or differences in the characteristics themselves; and (2) whether the current allocation of fiscal expenditures by the central authorities is related to the main determinants of spatial disparities in welfare among the provinces. The analysis reveals that the lower level of welfare in the rural areas within any given region is primarily because of differences in characteristics of the population in rural vs. urban areas. Differences in returns generally account for the most part of the welfare differences between urban areas of different regions and Bangkok or rural areas of other regions compared with the rural northeast. The analysis of fiscal expenditures and their relation to welfare disparities suggests that there are many opportunities to improve the role of fiscal expenditure allocation by the central government as an instrument of addressing the needs of the provinces in terms of low returns.
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    The Poverty Impacts of Cash and In-Kind Transfers : Experimental Evidence from Rural Mexico
    (Taylor and Francis, 2013-10-21) Skoufias, Emmanuel ; Unar, Mishel ; González-Cossío, Teresa
    The unique experimental design of the Food Support Programme (Programa de Apoyo Alimentario) is used to analyse in-kind and cash transfers in the poor rural areas of southern states of Mexico. The intent-to-treat effect on poverty of cash transfers of real value 25 per cent less than the market value of in-kind transfers is identical to that of in-kind transfers. Potential explanations of this result are investigated by looking into the differences in impacts of in-kind and cash transfers on food consumption and non-food expenditures and on the allocation of family labour between agricultural and non-agricultural activities. Both in-kind and cash transfers have identically large positive impacts on food consumption. Non-food expenditures are also higher in the localities with cash transfers, whereas they remain unaffected in the localities with in-kind transfers. Both kinds of transfers have a significant impact on the time allocation of males (and not females) who switch from agricultural to non-agricultural activities. But, the availability of cash transfers has a significantly higher marginal effect than in-kind transfers on the shift towards non-agricultural activities. Overall, the findings suggest that cash transfers may be better able than in-kind transfers at mitigating the impact of market imperfections, thus increasing both equity and efficiency.
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    Disquiet on the Weather Front : The Welfare Impacts of Climatic Variability in the Rural Philippines
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-08) Safir, Abla ; Piza, Sharon Faye ; Skoufias, Emmanuel
    Three recent rounds (2003, 2006, and 2009) of the Family Income and Expenditure Survey are matched to rainfall data from 43 rainfall stations in the Philippines to quantify the extent to which unusual weather has any negative effects on the consumption of Filipino households. It is found that negative rainfall shocks decrease consumption, in particular food consumption. Rainfall below one standard deviation of its long-run average causes food consumption to decrease by about 4 percent, when compared with rainfall within one standard deviation. Positive deviations above one standard deviation have a limited impact. Moreover, for households close to a highway or to a fixed-line phone, consumption appears to be fully protected from the impact of negative rainfall shocks.
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    Shorter, Cheaper, Quicker, Better : Linking Measures of Household Food Security to Nutritional Outcomes in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Uganda, and Tanzania
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-08) Tiwari, Sailesh ; Skoufias, Emmanuel ; Sherpa, Maya
    Using nationally representative household survey data from five countries -- three from South Asia (Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal) and two from Sub-Saharan Africa (Tanzania and Uganda) -- this paper conducts a systematic assessment of the correlation between various measures of household food security and nutritional outcomes of children. The analysis, following the universally accepted and applied definition of food security, is based on some of the most commonly used indicators of food security. The results show that the various measures of household food security do appear to carry significant signals about the nutritional status of children that reside within the household. This result holds even after the analysis controls for a wide array of other socio-economic characteristics of the households that are generally also thought to be associated with the quality of child nutrition. If using these food security indicators as proxy measures for the underlying nutritional status of children is of some interest, then the results show that simple, cost-effective, and easy-to-collect measures, such as the food consumption score or the dietary diversity score, may carry at least as much information as other measures, such as per capita expenditure or the starchy staple ratio, which require longer and costlier surveys with detailed food consumption modules. Across five different countries in South Asia and Africa, the results suggest that the food consumption score, in particular, performs extremely well in comparison with all other measures from the perspective of nutritional targeting as well as for monitoring nutritional outcomes.
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    Electoral Accountability and Local Government Spending in Indonesia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-02) Skoufias, Emmanuel ; Narayan, Ambar ; Dasgupta, Basab ; Kaiser, Kai
    This paper takes advantage of the exogenous phasing of direct elections in districts and applies the double-difference estimator to measure impacts on (i) human development outcomes and (ii) the pattern of public spending and revenue generation at the district level. The analysis reveals that four years after the switch to direct elections, there have been no significant effects on human development outcomes. However, the estimates of the impact of Pilkada on health expenditures at the district level suggest that directly elected district officials may have become more responsive to local needs at least in the area of health. The composition of district expenditures changes considerably during the year and sometimes the year before the elections, shifting toward expenditure categories that allow incumbent district heads running as candidates in the direct elections to "buy" voter support. Electoral reforms did not lead to higher revenue generation from own sources and had no effect on the budget surplus of districts with directly elected heads.
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    Climate Variability and Child Height in Rural Mexico
    ( 2011) Skoufias, E. ; Vinha, K.
    We examine the impacts of weather shocks, defined as rainfall or growing degree days, a cumulative measure of temperature, more than a standard deviation from their respective long run mean, on the stature of children between 12 and 47 months of age in Mexico. We find that after a positive rainfall shock children are shorter regardless of their region or altitude. Negative temperature shocks have a negative impact on height in the central and southern parts of the country as well as in higher altitudes. Although on average there are no statistically significant impacts from positive temperature shocks, certain sub-populations - namely boys, children between 12 and 23 months at the time of measurement, and children of less educated mothers - in some of the regions are negatively impacted. The results also suggest that potentially both agricultural income and communicable disease prevalence contribute to the effects.
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    Does Access to Information Empower the Poor? Evidence from the Dominican Republic
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-05-01) Skoufias, Emmanuel ; Narita, Renata ; Narayan, Ambar
    This paper summarizes the results of the impact evaluation of the Access to Information pilot project on empowerment of citizens in poor municipalities in the Dominican Republic. Among the dimensions of empowerment investigated are civic knowledge, awareness and use of the right to information, perceptions of and trust in public services and institutions, civic participation, and measures of local governance. Data were collected in two rounds: a baseline round at the end of 2010 and a follow-up round in mid-2012. No impact is found on awareness and the use of information under the specific Access to Information rules. However, it is observed that individuals address more general complaints to governments as a result of the Access to Information program regardless of whether these are classified under the ATI law or not. Some positive and statistically significant impacts are found on local government responsiveness, prioritization and decisions about the municipal budget, and trust in and satisfaction with some local government services.