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 - 3 of 3
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    Technology Within and Across Firms
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-11) Cirera, Xavier ; Comin, Diego ; Cruz, Marcio ; Lee, Kyung Min
    This study collects data on the sophistication of technologies used at the business function level for a representative sample of firms in Vietnam, Senegal, and the Brazilian state of Ceara. The analysis finds a large variance in technology sophistication across the business functions of a firm. The within-firm variance in technology sophistication is greater than the variance in sophistication across firms, which in turn is greater than the variance in sophistication across regions or countries. The paper documents a stable cross-firm relationship between technology at the business function and firm levels, which it calls the technology curve. Significant heterogeneity is uncovered in the slopes of the technology curves across business functions, a finding that is consistent with non-homotheticities in firm-level technology aggregators. Firm productivity is positively associated with the within-firm variance and the average level of technology sophistication. Development accounting exercises show that cross-firm variation in technology accounts for one-third of cross-firm differences in productivity and one-fifth of the agricultural versus non-agricultural gap in cross-country differences in firm productivity.
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    Technology and Resilience
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-03-01) Cirera, Xavier ; Comin, Diego Adolfo ; Cruz, Marcio ; Lee, Kyungmin ; Torres Coronado, Jesica
    This paper estimates the impact of technology sophistication pre-COVID-19 on the performance of firms during the early stages of the pandemic. It exploits a unique data set covering firms from Brazil, Senegal, and Vietnam, using a treatment effect mediation framework to decompose the results into direct and indirect effects. Increasing pre-pandemic technology sophistication by one standard deviation is associated with 3.8 percentage points higher sales. Both effects are positive, but the direct effect is about five times larger than the indirect effect. The total effect on sales is markedly nonlinear with significantly smaller estimates of the reduction in sales for firms with more sophisticated pre-pandemic technology. The results are robust to different measures of digital responses and matching estimators.
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    Firm-Level Adoption of Technologies in Senegal
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-05) Cirera, Xavier ; Comin, Diego ; Cruz, Marcio ; Lee, Kyung Min
    Technology is key to boost productivity and generate more and better quality jobs in Senegal. This paper uses a novel approach to measure technology adoption at the firm level and applies it to a representative sample of firms in Senegal. It provides new measures of technology adoption at the firm level, which identify the purposes for which technologies are used and analyzes some of the key barriers to improving technology adoption at the firm level in Senegal. First, the adoption of general-purpose information and communications technologies, such as computers, the internet, and cloud computing for business purpose, is low but very heterogeneous and positively associated with size and formal status. Second, most firms still rely on pre-digital technologies to perform general business functions, such as business administration, production planning, supply chain management, marketing, sales, and payment. Third, most firms, including large and formal firms, still rely on manual methods or manually operated machines to perform critical pro duction tasks that are sector specific, such as harvesting in agriculture or packaging in food processing. The paper presents evidence of three main challenges to improve technology adoption: access to finance, information, and knowledge (firm capabilities), and access to markets and competition.