Cirera, Xavier

Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice
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Innovation and Entrepreneurship
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Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice
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Last updated August 7, 2023
Xavier Cirera is a senior economist in the Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation (FCI) Global Practice of the World Bank. His work focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship. He has led the evaluation of innovation policies, including through the development of public expenditure reviews in science, technology, and innovation implemented in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ukraine, and Vietnam. He is the coauthor of The Innovation Paradox: Developing-Country Capabilities and the Unrealized Promise of Technological Catch-Up and A Practitioner’s Guide to Innovation Policy: Instruments to Build Firm Capabilities and Accelerate Technological Catch-Up in Developing Countries. His most recent work focuses on the measurement and impact of technology adoption and diffusion. Before joining the World Bank, he served as a research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. He holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Sussex.
Citations 48 Scopus

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Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
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    Deconstructing the Missing Middle: Informality and Growth of Firms in Sub-Saharan Africa
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-11) Abreha, Kaleb Girma ; Cirera, Xavier ; Fattal Jaef, Roberto N. ; Maemir, Hibret Belete ; Davies, Elwyn ; Maemir, Hibret Belete
    This paper characterizes the firm size distribution by exploiting establishment-level censuses covering both formal and informal firms in Sub-Saharan Africa. The paper finds a "missing middle" in the employment-based size distribution of firms in four Sub-Saharan African countries. This "missing middle" hinges on the inclusion of informal firms, and it is not explained by state- or foreign-owned firms at the top of the size distribution, nor does it emerge from the size distribution of entrants. The paper reconciles these empirical results with a model of firm dynamics with endogenous informality and shows that calibrated values of entry barriers and productivity-dependent idiosyncratic distortions generate a "missing middle" that is consistent with its underlying drivers in the data.
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    The Innovation Imperative for Developing East Asia
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-02-23) Cirera, Xavier ; Mason, Andrew D. ; de Nicola, Francesca ; Kuriakose, Smita ; Mare, Davide S. ; Tran, Trang Thu
    After a half century of transformative economic progress that moved hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, countries in developing East Asia are facing an array of challenges to their future development. Slowed productivity growth, increased fragility of the global trading system, and rapid changes in technology are all threatening export-oriented, labor-intensive manufacturing—the region’s engine of growth. Significant global challenges—such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic—are exacerbating economic vulnerability. These developments raise questions about whether the region’s past model of development can continue to deliver rapid growth and poverty reduction. Against this background, The Innovation Imperative in Developing East Asia aims to deepen understanding of the role of innovation in future development. The report examines the state of innovation in the region and analyzes the main constraints that firms and countries face to innovating. It assesses current policies and institutions, and lays out an agenda for action to spur more innovation-led growth. A key finding of the report is that countries’ current innovation policies are not aligned with their capabilities and needs. Policies need to strengthen the capacity of firms to innovate and support technological diffusion rather than just invention. Policy makers also need to eliminate policy biases against innovation in services, a sector that is growing in economic importance. Moreover, countries need to strengthen key complementary factors for innovation, including firms’ managerial quality, workers’ skills, and finance for innovation. Countries in developing East Asia would also do well to deepen their tradition of international openness, which could foster openness in other parts of the world. Doing so would help sustain the flows of ideas, trade, investment, and people that facilitate the creation and diffusion of knowledge for innovation.