Journal articles published externally

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These are journal articles by World Bank authors published externally.

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  • Publication
    Women in Paid Employment: A Role for Public Policies and Social Norms in Guatemala
    (Taylor and Francis, 2023-05-03) Almeida, Rita K.
    With only 32% of women in the labor market, Guatemala has one of the lowest rates of female labor force participation (FLFP) in the Latin America and Caribbean region and in the world. We explore information from different micro data sets, including the most recent population censuses (2002 and 2018) to assess the drivers of recent progress. Between 2002 and 2018, FLFP increased from an average of 26% to 32% nationwide. This increase was partly explained by increases in the school attainment of women, reduction in fertility and the country’s structural transformation towards services. However, a large part of the increase remains unexplained. Exploring 2018 data, we show that social norms, attitudes towards women and public policies are important determinants of FLFP. The analysis suggests that, taken together, these factors can all become an important source of increased participation of women in the labor market moving forward.
  • Publication
    Explaining Differences in the Returns to R&D in Argentina: The Role of Contextual Factors
    (Taylor and Francis, 2022-01-31) Arza, Valeria; Cirera, Xavier; López, Emanuel; Colonna, Agustina
    Argentinean firms’ investments in R&D are well below its regional peers. One potential explanation for this fact is the existence of low and heterogeneous returns for these investments. This paper uses novel microdata to estimate the returns to R&D and analyse the role of contextual factors in shaping its heterogeneity. The findings confirm that returns are indeed heterogeneous and depend on some important factors related to the market context, such as measures of uncertainty; and the knowledge context, such as knowledge spillovers. Acknowledging that heterogeneity of returns depends on firms’ context is crucial for designing innovation policies to boost private R&D returns.
  • Publication
    Borrower Leakage from Costly Screening: Evidence from SME Lending in Peru
    (Elsevier, 2021-11) Arraiz, Irani; Bruhn, Miriam; Roth, Benjamin N.; Ruiz-Ortega, Claudia; Stucchi, Rodolfo
    We provide evidence that commercial lenders in Peru suffer leakages in their loan approval process. Leveraging a discontinuity in the loan approval process of a large bank, we find that receiving a loan approval from the bank causes loan applicants to receive offers from other financial institutions as well. Competing lenders captured almost three quarters of the new loans to previously financially excluded borrowers. Importantly, many of these borrowers never took a loan from our partner bank, even after our partner bank approved them. Lenders may therefore underinvest in screening new borrowers and expanding financial inclusion, as their competitors reap some of the benefit. Our results highlight that information spillovers between lenders may operate outside of credit registries.
  • Publication
    Violence and Newborn Health: Estimates for Colombia
    (John Wiley and Sons, Ltd., 2021-10-15) Rodriguez, Laura
    This paper examines the relationship between maternal exposure to violence during pregnancy and newborn birthweight. The identification strategy exploits variation in the timing of exposure and in the geographic location of expectant mothers across Colombian municipalities. Exposure to violence in early pregnancy had a large negative impact on birthweight, primarily for boys, and the effect was mitigated by their mothers' education. Girls' birthweight was affected mainly by shocks in later stages of gestation. Furthermore, their mothers were more likely to engage in potentially harmful behaviors during the pregnancy. This evidence exposes the importance of parental responses in shaping the effect of exposure to violence on newborn health.
  • Publication
    Prioritizing Job Creation without Undermining Public Works Construction among Road Improvement Projects in Rural Nicaragua
    (Taylor and Francis, 2021-04-20) Garz, Seth; Perova, Elizaveta
    We evaluate the impacts of a road rehabilitation workfare project in Nicaragua. Our results reveal that the substitution of labour-intensive manual paving of dirt roads for commercial paving technology did not undermine the primary goal of increasing access to a paved road, which grew by 16.4 percentage points. The project did not increase overall employment, but was associated with an increase in working as a labourer; though, we do not find specific substitution away from agriculture or self-employment as identified in other work. We also find impacts on education and health, extending similar findings from African and Asian regions.
  • Publication
    Intra-Household Labour Allocation, Migration, and Remittances in Rural El Salvador
    (Taylor and Francis, 2020-05) Acosta, Pablo
    Migration can affect labor participation decisions back home, either by stimulating work to replace foregone labor, or reducing it through the role of remittances. Using evidence from a rural panel for El Salvador with a comprehensive module on agricultural income shocks, this study finds that migration and remittances generate only minor labor reallocation effects within households. Contradicting previous evidence based on cross section data, no impact is registered for off-farm labor supply. However, remittances and migration tend to increase female participation and hours worked in agricultural activities, and reduce time dedicated to off-farm and domestic activities. No major effects are found on self-employment.
  • Publication
    The Political Economy of Multidimensional Child Poverty Measurement: A Comparative Analysis of Mexico and Uganda
    (Taylor and Francis, 2020-03-11) Cuesta, Jose; Biggeri, Mario; Hernandez-Licona, Gonzalo; Aparicio, Ricardo; Guillen-Fernandez, Yedith
    As part of the 2030 Agenda, much effort has been exerted in comparing multidimensional child poverty measures both technically and conceptually. Yet, few countries have adopted and used any of these measures in policymaking. This paper explores the reasons for this absence from a political economy perspective. It develops an innovative political economy framework for poverty measurement and a hypothesis whereby a country will only produce and use reliable and sustainable multidimensional child poverty (MDCP) measures if and only if three conditions coalesce: consensus, capacity and polity. We explore this framework with two relevant case studies, Mexico and Uganda. Both countries satisfy the capacity condition required to measure MDCP but only Mexico satisfies the other two conditions. Our proposed political economy framework is normatively relevant because it identifies the conditions that need to change across multiple contexts before the effective adoption and use of an MDCP measure becomes more likely.
  • Publication
    Nutrient Status of Cattle Grazing Systems in the Western Brazilian Amazon
    (Taylor and Francis, 2020-02-09) Rueda, B.L.; McRoberts, K.C.; Blake, R.W.; Nicholson, C.F.; Valentim, J.F.; Fernandes, E.C.M.; Tejada Moral, Manuel
    Low-input cultivated pastures to feed cattle have dominated land use after forest clearing for decades in the western Brazilian Amazon. This study was undertaken to help understand the inherent nutrient supply dynamics underwriting cattle performance on three farms in the state of Acre. We assessed soil chemical and physical properties associated over time with different land uses following forest clearing. This information permitted specifying a conceptual model of nutrient stocks and flows under the observed grazing system, which produced insights about the dynamics of soil nutrient degradation. Above ground forage mass, topsoil nutrient concentrations and soil bulk density were measured. Land covers were Brachiaria spp. grasses, a grass-Pueraria phaseoloides mix, cropland and forest. Most soil nutrient parameters initially decreased after clearing, gradually recovering over time with grass-only pastures; however, 20 yr-old pastures had 20% less forage mass. Most pasture system nutrients on these farms resided in topsoil and roots, where large stocks of mature forage supported soil fertility with recycled nutrients from litter. Estimates of partial topsoil nutrient balances were negative. This suggested that corresponding nutrient stocks and the accumulation of forage mass were probably maintained primarily through the sum of inflows from cattle excreta, the subsoil, soil organic matter, and litter mineralization with scant input of commercial fertilizer. Therefore, herd management to increase animal system productivity via higher stocking rates on vegetatively younger forage requires monitoring of nutrient stocks and flows and fertilization that assures replenishment of the nutrients extracted. Otherwise, rapid depletion of soil nutrient stocks will lead to system degradation and failure.
  • Publication
    Can Wage Subsidies Boost Employment in the Wake of an Economic Crisis? Evidence from Mexico
    (Taylor and Francis, 2020-01-31) Bruhn, Miriam
    This paper measures the employment effect of a program in Mexico that granted firms wage subsidies during the recent economic crisis. I use monthly administrative data at the industry level, along with Euclidean distance matching to construct groups of eligible and ineligible durable goods manufacturing industries that display statistically identical preprogram trends in employment. Difference-in-difference results show a positive but not statistically significant effect of the wage subsidies on employment during the program’s eight-month duration. The size of the effect increases to 18 per cent after the program ended and the results indicate that employment after the program recovered faster in eligible industries than in ineligible industries. Additional analysis suggests that the program did not incentivize firms to retain workers with job-specific skills as originally intended. Instead, the payment of subsidy funds, which only happened towards the end of the program, seems to have provided liquidity for hiring back workers.
  • Publication
    Supporting Pathways to Prosperity in Forest Landscapes – A PRIME Framework
    (Elsevier, 2019-08-07) Shyamsundar, Priya; Ahlroth, Sofia; Kristjanson, Patricia; Onder, Stefanie
    We develop a framework to conceptualize the multiple ways forests contribute to poverty reduction and inform development interventions in forest landscapes. We identify five key strategies for reducing poverty in forest landscapes: a) improvements in productivity (P) of forest land and labor; b) governance reform to strengthen community, household and women’s rights (R) over forests and land; c) investments (I) in institutions, infrastructure and public services that facilitate forest-based entrepreneurship; d) increased access to markets (M) for timber or non-timber forest products; and e) mechanisms that enhance and enable the flow of benefits from forest ecosystem services (E) to the poor. We test the utility of the framework through a review of the forestry portfolio of the World Bank Group, the largest public investor in forestry. Many of these projects include several, but not all, PRIME components. We devote particular attention to forest-related investments in two contrasting countries, Vietnam and Mexico, to examine synergies among the pathways. Results suggest that each strategy in the PRIME framework may play an important role in alleviating poverty, but pronounced impacts may require multiple pathways to be jointly pursued. The PRIME framework can guide research to address knowledge gaps on pathways to prosperity in forest landscapes, serve as an easily remembered checklist for managers, and nudge forest program designers in government and development organizations, who are interested in poverty reduction, to focus on the importance of both a comprehensive framework and synergies across different pathways.