03. Journals

2,963 items available

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These are journal articles published in World Bank journals as well as externally by World Bank authors.

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    Migration and Economic Mobility in Tanzania : Evidence from a Tracking Survey
    (MIT Press, 2011-08) Beegle, Kathleen ; De Weerdt, Joachim ; Dercon, Stefan
    This study explores to what extent migration has contributed to improved living standards of individuals in Tanzania. Using a thirteen-year panel survey, we find that migration between 1991 and 2004 added 36 percentage points to consumption growth. Although moving out of agriculture resulted in much higher growth than staying in agriculture, growth was always greater in any sector if the individual physically moved. As to why more people do not move given the high returns to geographical mobility, analysis finds evidence consistent with models in which exit barriers set by home communities prevent the migration of some categories of people.
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    Aggregate Income Shocks and Infant Mortality in the Developing World
    (MIT Press, 2011-08) Baird, Sarah ; Friedman, Jed ; Schady, Norbert
    Health and income are strongly correlated both within and across countries, yet the extent to which improvements in income have a causal effect on health status remains controversial. We investigate whether short-term fluctuations in aggregate income affect infant mortality using an unusually large data set of 1.7 million births in 59 developing countries. We show a large, negative association between per capita GDP and infant mortality. Female infant mortality is more sensitive than male infant mortality to negative economic shocks, suggesting that policies that protect the health status of female infants may be especially important during economic downturns.
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    Poverty Reduction without Economic Growth? Explaining Brazil's Poverty Dynamics, 1985-2004
    ( 2010) Ferreira, Francisco H.G. ; Leite, Phillippe G. ; Ravallion, Martin
    Brazil's slow pace of poverty reduction between the mid-1980s and the mid-2000s reflects both low growth and a low growth elasticity of poverty reduction. Using GDP data disaggregated by state and sector for a twenty-year period, this paper finds considerable variation in the poverty-reducing effectiveness of growth--across sectors, across space, and over time. Growth in the services sector was substantially more poverty-reducing than was growth in either agriculture or industry. Growth in industry had different effects on poverty across different states and its impact varied with initial conditions related to human development and worker empowerment. But because there was so little of it, economic growth actually played a relatively small role in accounting for Brazil's poverty reduction between 1985 and 2004. The taming of hyperinflation (in 1994) and a substantial expansion in social security and social assistance transfers, in large part mandated by the 1988 Constitution, accounted for the bulk of the overall reduction in poverty.
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    Local Inequality and Project Choice: Theory and Evidence from Ecuador
    ( 2008) Araujo, M. Caridad ; Ferreira, Francisco H.G. ; Lanjouw, Peter ; Ozler, Berk
    This paper provides evidence consistent with elite capture of Social Fund investment projects in Ecuador. Exploiting a unique combination of data sets on village-level income distributions, Social Fund project administration, and province-level electoral results, we test a simple model of project choice when local political power is unequally distributed. In accordance with the predictions of the model, poorer villages are more likely to receive projects that provide excludable (private) goods to the poor, such as latrines. Controlling for poverty, more unequal communities are less likely to receive such projects. Consistent with the hypothesis of elite capture, these results are sensitive to the specific measures of inequality and elite power used in the empirical analysis, and are strongest for expenditure shares at the top of the distribution.
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    The Rise and Fall of Brazilian Inequality: 1981-2004
    ( 2008) Ferreira, Francisco H.G. ; Leite, Phillipe G. ; Litchfield, Julie A.
    Brazil's Gini coefficient rose from 0.57 in 1981 to 0.63 in 1989, before falling back to 0.56 in 2004. Poverty incidence rose from 0.30 in 1981 to 0.33 in 1993, before falling to 0.22 in 2004. This paper presents a preliminary investigation of the determinants of Brazil's distributional reversal over this period. The rise in inequality in the 1980s appears to have been driven by increases in educational attainment in a context of convex returns, and by high and accelerating inflation. Although the secular decline in inequality, which began in 1993, is associated with declining inflation, it also appears to have been driven by four structural and policy changes, namely, declining returns to education; pronounced rural-urban convergence; increases in social assistance transfers targeted to the poor; and a possible decline in racial inequality. Falling inequality has made a substantial contribution to poverty reduction.
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    Beyond Oaxaca-Blinder: Accounting for Differences in Household Income Distributions
    ( 2008) Bourguignon, Francois ; Ferreira, Francisco H.G. ; Leite, Phillippe G.
    This paper develops a method to decompose differences across distributions of household income, based on counterfactual distributions that 'lie between' the actually observed distributions. Our approach decomposes differences between any two income distributions (or functionals such as inequality or poverty measures) into shares due to price effects; occupational structure effects; and endowment effects. Comparing the household income distributions of the USA and Brazil in 1999, we find that most of Brazil's excess inequality (of 13 Gini points) is accounted for by underlying inequalities in the distributions of education and of non-labor income, notably pensions (between four and six Gini points each). Steeper returns to education in Brazil also make an important contribution (of two to five points). Differences in occupational structure and in racial and demographic composition are much less important.