Farole, Thomas C.

Global Practice on Social Protection and Jobs
Profile Picture
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Trade, Investment, Competitiveness, Economic Geography, Special Economic Zones, Private Sector Development
Global Practice on Social Protection and Jobs
Externally Hosted Work
Contact Information
Last updated: January 31, 2023
Thomas Farole is a Lead Economist in the World Bank’s Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice, where he works on the intersection between jobs and productivity, trade, and private sector development. Prior to joining the Jobs Group, he was a senior economist in the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice and country economist for Botswana. His recent articles have appeared in IZA World of Labor, The Journal of Economic Geography, and World Development. He holds a PhD in Economic Geography from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), an MSc in Local Economic Development from the LSE, and a BSc in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.        

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 35
  • Publication
    Towards a National Jobs Strategy in Kuwait
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022) Ajwad, Mohamed Ihsan; Koettl, Johannes; Radwan, Ismail; Farole, Thomas; Sanchez-Reaza, Javier; Chartouni, Carole; Alaref, Jumana Jamal Subhi; Rivera, Nayib; Sundararaman, Venkatesh; Afif, Zeina; Dexter, Gharam Alkastalani; Ajwad, Mohamed Ihsan
    This report is one of the main deliverables outlined in the legal arrangement of September 10, 2019, between the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (GS-SCPD) in Kuwait and the World Bank. A separate overview report is also available. The social contract in Kuwait is at risk. Kuwaiti citizens are used to the state providing public sector jobs, free education, free healthcare, and subsidized fuel to all citizens. These benefits have been bought and paid for using Kuwait’s oil revenues, however, the sustainability of the social contract has been questioned by three mutually reinforcing challenges. First, oil demand is projected to steadily decline the next few decades. This decline is partly the result of changing consumer preferences away from carbon-based fuel sources, and partly the result of increasingly cost-effective alternative energy sources becoming available. Second, with mounting fiscal deficits, the size of the wage bill for the government is a growing concern. Third, the needs in the labor market will continue to grow as Kuwait’s population is young and growing. Central to these structural challenges are challenges to Kuwait’s labor market. A growing number of young Kuwaitis are entering the labor market with high expectations of well-paid, secure, public sector jobs. In the private sector, employers are dependent on low-cost and largely unskilled foreign workers. The 2019 COVID-19 global pandemic, which has led to an oil price crisis and a global economic slowdown, has intensified the debate surrounding jobs challenges in Kuwait. These jobs challenges need to be addressed to ensure the sustainability of the economic growth model and avoid major social disruption. The government has asked The World Bank for assistance to formulate a National Jobs Strategy to help confront these challenges, based on evidence and best practices. Reforms are recommended in four areas, or pillars: (i) make the public sector more sustainable, (ii) improve human capital, (iii) support private sector growth, and (iv) build a social protection system. In addition, the jobs strategy covers two cross-cutting themes: behavioral economics, and monitoring and evaluation, also embedded in the four pillars. This introduction briefly explains the critical challenges facing Kuwait that require substantial changes in policy. The subsequent sections analyze the major issues of these four topics, with recommendations for policy change to improve sustainability and enhance incomes.
  • Publication
    Putting the Green Back in Greenbacks: Opportunities for a Truly Green Stimulus
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-07) Taheripour, Farzad; Chepeliev, Maksym; Damania, Richard; Farole, Thomas; Lozano Gracia, Nancy; Russ, Jason Daniel
    Can countries reorient their productive capacity to become more environmentally friendly and inclusive? To investigate this question, this paper uses a standard input-output modeling framework and data from 141 countries and regions to construct a new global data set of employment, value-added, greenhouse gas emissions (disaggregated into carbon dioxide and non-carbon dioxide elements), and air pollution (including nine categories of air pollutants such as fine particulate matter multipliers from supply-side investments. The analysis finds that many of the traditional sectors in agriculture and industry have large employment multipliers, but also generate male dominant, lower skill employment, and tend to have higher emissions multipliers. It is in economies dominated by these sectors that trade-offs to a “greener” transition will emerge most sharply. However, the analysis finds substantial heterogeneity in outcomes, so even in these economies, there exist other sectors with high employment multipliers and low emissions, including sectors that are more conducive to female employment. In addition, the analysis finds a high correlation between industries that generate greenhouse gas emissions, which cause long-term climate impacts, and those that generate air pollution, which have immediate harmful impacts on human health, suggesting that policies could be designed to confer longer climate benefits simultaneously with immediate health improvements. The results confirm some of the findings from recent research and shed new light on opportunities for greening economies.
  • Publication
    Jobs in the Horn of Africa: Synoptic Brief
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-06-21) Farole, Thomas; von der Goltz, Jan
    This note provides an overview of labor markets and job outcomes in the Horn of Africa. This background note was prepared for the Horn of Africa Regional Economic Memorandum. It provides an overview of issues related to jobs in the five countries of the region, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. It first discusses labor market characteristics, notably labor force participation, unemployment and underemployment,as well as demographics of the labor force. Secondly, it compares employment patterns, focusing on the type and sector of employment. Finally, it looks at the limited information available on jobs outcomes – notably, wage levels. It seeks to provides a relatively succinct synoptic summary of the common trends among the five countries as well as some distinct features. With the exception of Eritrea, the World Bank has recently analyzed jobs outcomes in all countries of the region.
  • Publication
    Managing the Employment Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis: Policy Options for Relief and Restructuring
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-07) Carranza, Eliana; Farole, Thomas; Gentilini, Ugo; Morgandi, Matteo; Packard, Truman; Santos, Indhira; Weber, Michael
    This note discusses policy options for managing the employment impacts of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis aimed at relief and restructuring. The note pays attention to the labor market and institutional context of most low and middle-income countries where informality is large and where existing institutions often lack mechanisms to effectively reach businesses and workers in the informal economy. The note covers complementary policies aimed, in the relief phase, at: 1) Helping businesses survive and retain workers; 2) providing protection for those who do lose their jobs and see their livelihoods significantly affected; and 3) facilitating alternative employment and employability support for those who are out of work (collectively known as active labor market programs, ALMP). The note further differentiates between these relief responses and the restructuring response when countries start to reopen for businesses and policies need to aim to support firms' and workers' transition to a "new normal", hopefully a "better normal" that supports a resilient recovery.
  • Publication
    Trade in Global Value Chains: An Assessment of Labor Market Implications
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-07-16) Farole, Thomas; Hollweg, Claire; Winkler, Deborah
    The paper is structured in six further sections following this introduction. Section two develops a conceptual framework, and reviews the literature on the relationship between trade integration and labor market outcomes. Section three outlines the empirical framework and data used in the analysis. Section four presents results on the relationship between overall trade integration (through exports) and labor market outcomes. Section five then focuses specifically on GVC trade, and assesses the relationship between labor market outcomes and GVC integration as a buyer and as a seller. Section six tests if select policy indicators mediate these relationships between trade integration and labor market outcomes. Finally, section seven concludes, with a summary of results and areas for future research.
  • Publication
    Rethinking Lagging Regions: Using Cohesion Policy to Deliver on the Potential of Europe's Regions
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018) Farole, Thomas; Ionescu-Heroiu, Marcel
    As the World Bank’s 2012 Golden Growth report emphasized, the European Union, since its founding, has been a ‘convergence machine,’ generating wealth and a higher quality of life for the poorest in the 28 EU member states. More recently, the Growing United report highlighted that while the convergence machine still works, it is not working for everyone. And among the fault lines emerging in the convergence machine, regional inequality represents a potent threat to Europe’s economic well-being, and to its social and political cohesion. In this context, Rethinking Lagging Regions highlights the nature and implications of regional inequalities in Europe and recommends how cohesion policy can be leveraged to maximize its impact on lagging regions, and on the businesses and people in these regions. The report has several key messages: regional inequalities are high and likely to rise; Europe’s lagging regions are going in opposite directions, but face common challenges; cohesion policy can maximize its impact on lagging regions by explicitly targeting regional potential and equality of opportunity rather than convergence; cohesion policy priorities can be rebalanced to help deliver on regional potential; and delivery of regional policy needs to engage ever more deeply at the ground level. This report aims to contribute to the debate on the future of cohesion policy, with a specific focus on lagging regions. It calls for a further shift in the objectives of cohesion policy towards an increasingly ‘region-centered’ approach that aims to maximize potential in all regions, while seeking convergence of opportunities for individuals, no matter where they live.
  • Publication
    Business Environment and Firm Performance in European Lagging Regions
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-12) Hallak, Issam; Farole, Thomas; Harasztosi, Peter; Tan, Shawn
    This paper explores the relationship between the regional business environment, lagging regions, and firm performance in four European countries: Italy, Poland, Romania, and Spain. It combines firm-level data from Orbis measuring sales, employment, productivity, and profitability, with indicators from recently completed Subnational Doing Business studies in the four countries to examine if and how the business environment is associated with firm outcomes, and whether this is mediated by being located in a lagging region. The results indicate that firms located in regions with better business environments indeed display better performance, in employment and sales growth, as well as profitability. Moreover, the paper finds evidence that being located in a lagging region aggravates the impact of a poor business environment on firm performance. The results also highlight that it matters to distinguish between regions that are "low income" (relatively poor) and those that are "low growth" (stagnating but not necessarily poor). Firm performance, the business environment, and the relationship between the two are much stronger in the latter than in the former. Overall, the results suggest that policies that improve the business environment in lagging regions would be beneficial to the performance of firms in these regions, in growth, profitability, and investment.
  • Publication
    Jobs in North Lebanon: Assessment of the Potato Value Chain
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-11-28) Farole, Thomas
    This paper applies a newly-developed survey instrument to assess the structure and dynamics of jobs in the potato value chain of North Lebanon. The analysis finds that while on-farm activities represent the largest source of jobs in the value chain, most of these are low-skilled, low quality jobs taken by seasonal workers, offering limited opportunities for young Lebanese workers. The best opportunities to develop high quality jobs would come through investment in downstream processing, which would have a spillover effect also on expanding lower-skilled jobs across the chain. Taking advantage of this opportunity will require addressing significant constraints in the trade and investment climate in North Lebanon.
  • Publication
    Bangladesh Jobs Diagnostic
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-10-01) Farole, Thomas; Bossavie, Laurent; Aterido, Reyes
    This Jobs Diagnostic presents the characteristics and constraints of the labor market in Bangladesh, identifies the objectives of the jobs agenda, and proposes a policy framework to progress toward them. This multisectoral diagnostic assesses the relationships between supply- and demand-side factors that interact to determine job creation, quality, and inclusion outcomes. Understanding the factors that influence jobs outcomes requires a holistic approach capturing issues such as access to markets, inputs, capital, technology, skills, and matching of supply and demand. Standard labor analysis tends to miss crucial aspects of the demand side of job creation, while growth diagnostics have no direct link to jobs. The Jobs Diagnostic thus intends to provide the comprehensive evidence base to support the development of a national jobs strategy that focuses on policies to foster an environment for more, better, inclusive jobs in Bangladesh.
  • Publication
    Magnet Cities: Migration and Commuting in Romania
    (World Bank, Bucharest, 2017) Cristea, Marius; Mare, Codruța; Moldovan, Ciprian; China, Andreea-Mirela; Farole, Thomas; Vințan, Adina; Park, Jane; Garrett, Keith Patrick; Ionescu-Heroiu, Marcel
    Romania is the fastest growing economy in the European Union (EU), and Bucharest and Romania’s secondary cities have been its main growth engines. However, while Bucharest has reached productivity levels comparable to those of other EU capitals, secondary cities in Romania still have some ways to go before competing on equal footing with secondary cities in the EU. Without strengthening these secondary cities, the Romanian economy cannot sustain growth in the coming years. The most competitive secondary cities are those that are most astute at attracting people, investments, and tourists. This report looks at the cities that have been most successful at attracting migrants and commuters, and proposes a number of recommendations aimed at making secondary cities more attractive and competitive. The report is primarily addressed to policy makers and to a lay audience interested in urban development issues.This report is structured along four main sections: 1) An analysis of development dynamics, with a particular focus on the importance of cities in driving growth and development; 2) An analysis of migration and commuter patterns in Romania; 3) An analysis of the cities and areas that have been most successful at attracting people, and an analysis of the urban areas that will likely attract most people in the future. 4) Recommendations on how EU, national, and local policies and investments can help make secondary cities more competitive.