Acosta, Pablo Ariel

Global Practice on Social Protection and Jobs
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Labor economics, Migration, Skills and workforce development, International trade, Social protection and labor, Social protection and growth
Global Practice on Social Protection and Jobs
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Last updated: January 31, 2023
Pablo A. Acosta, an Argentinean national, graduated from his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006 and joined the World Bank in 2008 where he works as a Senior Economist in the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice. Prior to his position at the World Bank, he worked at the CAF Latin American Development Bank, at the Ministry of Economy in Argentina, and the Foundation for Latin American Economic Research (FIEL). His main areas of work and research are social protection, labor economics, migration, skills, and wage inequality.
Citations 16 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 31
  • Publication
    Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in Brazil
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-10) Shamsuddin, Mrittika; Acosta, Pablo Ariel; Battaglin Schwengber, Rovane; Fix, Jedediah; Pirani, Nikolas
    As more and more Venezuelans leave their country, fleeing the economic and social crisis, the number of Venezuelans in Brazil has risen steadily since 2016, constituting about 18 percent of Brazil's 1.3 million refugee and migrant population as of October 2020. Although the economic gains of immigration are well-documented in the literature, the impacts of forced displacement on the labor market and government budget are mixed and have mainly focused on developed countries. This paper extends the previous literature by exploring the short-run fiscal impact of Venezuelan refugees and migrants on the public expenditure and revenue of Roraima, the state bordering the República Bolivariana de Venezuela at the north and the main gateway of the Venezuelan refugees and migrants entering Brazil, and by investigating their impact on its labor market. Using various administrative and survey data and a regression discontinuity framework, the paper finds that the population shock caused by the influx of forcibly displaced Venezuelans in the short-run did not have any statistically significant effect on the fiscal variables of Roraima. On the labor market, the paper finds that the population shock translated into an increase in unemployment among women and a decrease in employment among women and low skilled workers in the short-run. The effects on earnings are heterogenous across industries, but mainly positive for the high skilled and male workers, suggesting a need for cross-cutting policies that target the most vulnerable host population as well as the forcibly displaced.
  • Publication
    Integration of Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in Brazil
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-03) Shamsuddin, Mrittika; Acosta, Pablo Ariel; Battaglin Schwengber, Rovane; Fix, Jedediah; Pirani, Nikolas
    An unprecedented number of Venezuelans have left behind the worsening economic and social crisis at home to look for better future prospects. Brazil is hosting about 261,000 Venezuelans as migrants, asylum seekers, or refugees, which, at 18 percent, constitutes the largest share of Brazil’s 1.3 million refugees and migrants population (as of October 2020). Although previous literature on other host countries found that Venezuelan refugees and migrants are struggling to secure high-paying jobs that are commensurate with their education, little is known about their access to education and social protection. This paper fills this gap by analyzing various administrative and census data to explore whether Venezuelan migrants and refugees face differential access to education, the formal labor market and social protection programs. It finds that even though there is minimum legal constraints and work permits are relatively easy to obtain, Venezuelan refugees and migrants face challenges integrating into the education system, social protection programs and the formal labor market. The results suggest that Venezuelan refugees and migrants have faced downgrading in grades at school and occupations at work. They are more likely to attend overcrowded schools than their host community counterparts and more likely to do inferior jobs characterized by temporality, lower wages and higher hours worked. Overall, the results suggest that improvement in school capacity, accreditation of Venezuelan education or degrees and relocation to places with favorable employment opportunities may facilitate integration.
  • Publication
    The Scars of Civil War: The Long-Term Welfare Effects of the Salvadoran Armed Conflict
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-10) Baez, Javier E.; Acosta, Pablo; Caruso, German; Carcach, Carlo
    This paper estimates the long-term effects on human capital accumulation and subsequent labor market outcomes of in utero and early childhood exposure to the civil war in El Salvador (1980-92), the second longest and deadliest civil conflict in Central America. Identification is obtained from spatial and intertemporal variation in the intensity of the conflict drawn from historical archive data comprising records of human casualties, disappearances, and refugees. The results show that people born in highly violent areas during the civil war saw a reduction in their probability of being employed by 6 percentage points, and of getting a high-skilled job by 5 percentage points, 20 to 30 years after it happened. The civil war also reduced their education by 0.8 year, as well as their enrollment and literacy rates. Subgroup analysis indicates that exposed males and indigenous groups experienced the largest losses in human capital and had weaker performance in the labor market.
  • 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
    Investing in People: Social Protection for Indonesia's 2045 Vision
    (World Bank, Jakarta, 2020-04-30) Holmemo, Camilla; Acosta, Pablo; George, Tina; Palacios, Robert J.; Pinxten, Juul; Sen, Shonali; Tiwari, Sailesh
    The Government of Indonesia's Vision for 2045 sets an ambitious path that will require significant investments in human capital and social protection Indonesia continues to set ambitious goals for its growth and development. The Government of Indonesia's (GoI) vision for 2045—when the country celebrates 100 years of independence—is to achieve high income status and reduce poverty to nearly zero. In addition to sustained growth and income opportunities for all, an inclusive and efficient social protection (SP) system will be essential to meet these ambitious goals. In most countries today, effective risk-sharing and SP policies play important roles in building equity, resilience and opportunity, and in strengthening human capital. Indonesia is no different. Risk sharing interventions can reduce and prevent poverty, and make growth more equitable by safeguarding households' human and physical capital. Over the past two decades, Indonesia's SP system has been fundamentally transformed. In particular, it has moved from the dominance of regressive consumer subsidies and ad-hoc crisis response to targeted and household based social assistance programs, with a massive coverage expansion. In terms of social insurance, recent years have seen an ongoing building and integration of its policies and institutions. This has all been made possible through better spending allocations and a build-up of the needed platforms to deliver programs effectively and efficiently.
  • Publication
    Making Payments More Efficient for the Philippines Conditional Cash Transfer Program
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-09-29) Acosta, Pablo; Garcia Garcia Luna, Jose Antonio; de Guzman, Aisha; Okamura, Yuko
    The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (Pantawid Pamilya) has rapidly expanded to become the largest social protection and human development program in the Philippines. Over the last decade, the evolution of the Pantawid Pamilya was not only about its size and coverage, but also related to the program design and the quality of implementation. Payment is one of key elements which improved over time; however, severe challenges that hamper their efficiency remain unaddressed. For instance, the 4Ps has not taken full advantage of the existing payment system in the Philippines yet. The Pantawid Pamilya has great potential to increase the use of electronic payments, which significantly saves time and removes paperbased documentation. Thus, this note recommends the Government of the Philippines to develop a strategic payment reform agenda, under which 4Ps should allow beneficiaries to receive payments at any transaction account of their choice. In parallel, it is key to revisit business processes and invest in the management information system to reduce manual transactions to achieve more efficient payment. Beyond efficiency, the Pantawid Pamilya program can also strategically leverage different financial modalities/service providers to promote the financial inclusion agenda for beneficiaries. While service providers currently see the Pantawid Pamilya payout as a goodwill rather than a business opportunity, there is great potential for beneficiaries to become the customers of their products and services with a mainstream account.
  • Publication
    Pantawid Pamilya 2017 Assessment: An Update of the Philippine Conditional Cash Transfer’s Implementation Performance
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-09) Acosta, Pablo; Zapanta, Arianna
    This is the fourth benefit incidence analysis of the Philippines’ conditional cash transfer program that uses standard measures to assess the implementation performance of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. The analysis shows that despite the program’s rapid expansion since it was piloted in 2007, it maintains good targeting accuracy, progressivity, and cost efficiency in delivering assistance to the poor. However, the recent halt in program expansion and use of outdated targeting system have resulted in lower coverage levels and incidence rates among the poor. Also, the inability to adjust benefit levels with inflation has resulted in lower generosity of benefits. Still, using the latest nationwide household survey data for 2017, the analysis shows that Pantawid Pamilya helps reduce poverty incidence and income inequality by 1.3 percentage point and 0.6 percentage point, respectively. Adjustments in the benefit level and program coverage are recommended to maintain the program’s relevance, adequacy of assistance, sustained impact on beneficiary welfare.
  • Publication
    Investing in Skills to Promote Inclusive Growth in Mindanao
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-09) Acosta, Pablo; Igarashi, Takiko; Zapanta, Arianna
    In 2015, the World Bank embarked on a collaborative effort to understand and address the jobs challenge in Mindanao through the Mindanao Jobs Report (MJR). Good jobs — jobs that raise real income and lift people out of poverty — were needed for more than two million Mindanawons who were either unemployed or underemployed at the time of writing. In addition, large cohorts of youth would enter the labor force in the next few years and better jobs were needed for the many Mindanawons who were currently employed informally and who accounted for more than half of total employment in Mindanao. Following extensive consultations with many of Mindanao's leaders and stakeholders, the report came up with recommendations around the three areas, namely: (1) raising agricultural productivity and improving farm-to-market connectivity; (2) boosting human development; and (3) addressing drivers of conflict and fragility and building up institutions in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and conflict-affected areas.
  • Publication
    Identifying the Vulnerable to Poverty from Natural Disasters: The Case of Typhoons in the Philippines
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-05) Kawasoe, Yasuhiro; Skoufias, Emmanuel; Strobl, Eric; Acosta, Pablo
    This paper builds on the existing literature assessing retrospectively the quantitative effects of natural disasters on different dimensions of household welfare, to make progress toward the ex ante identification of households that are vulnerable to poverty due to natural disasters, especially typhoons. A wind field model for the Philippines is employed to estimate local wind speeds at any locality where a tropical typhoon directly passes over or nearby. The estimated wind speeds are merged with the household Family Income and Expenditure Surveys at the barangay level, and consumption expenditures are then regressed against wind speed (or a related damage index) and household socioeconomic characteristics. The estimated coefficients from the regression model are then used to estimate ex ante household vulnerability to poverty (the likelihood that household consumption falls below the poverty line) in the event of future natural disasters of different intensities.
  • Publication
    Who Benefits from Dual Training Systems?: Evidence from the Philippines
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-05-03) Igarashi, Takiko; Acosta, Pablo
    Rising youth unemployment rates have been increasingly recognized as a serious challenge in developing and advanced economies, as the trend indicates a potential skills gap between the demands of the workforce and recent graduates. Effective dual education programs utilizing a combination of classroom instruction and practical skill training present an approach to developing a skilled workforce and meeting workforce demands. To evaluate the impact of the Philippine Dual Training System on labor market outcomes, this paper analyzes data from a recent survey tracking graduates from the Dual Training System and regular vocational training programs provided by technical vocational training institutes. The data analysis reveals that the Dual Training System has a significantly higher rate of return on labor market earnings compared with regular, classroom-only vocational training programs, particularly among high school graduates who did not perform well academically during basic education. The magnitude of the impact of the Dual Training System is also likely to increase in correlation with the intensity of the on-the-job component.