Go, Delfin Sia
Development Prospects Group, World Bank
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Development and Growth Economics; Africa Development; Economic Modeling and Tools for Fiscal Analysis; Aid Effectiveness and Management
Development Prospects Group, World Bank
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated July 11, 2023
Delfin Go is Lead Economist in the Development Prospects Group and oversees the economic modeling and information team, which produces forward-looking and long-term scenarios that underpin special reports such as the Global Monitoring Report and the Global Development Horizons. Delfin was the lead author and task manager of the Global Monitoring Report 2011: Improving the Odds of Achieving the MDGs and the Global Monitoring Report 2010: The Millennium Development Goals After the Crisis. He was formerly Lead Economist in the office of the World Bank’s Africa Region Chief Economist, where he focused on macroeconomic issues, aid effectiveness and management, and conducted Country Policy and Institutional Assessments (CPIA) of African countries. He has also undertaken analytical work on debt issues, tools for fiscal analysis, and macro-micro linkages for probing the distributional consequences and the impact on growth, poverty, and other MDGs of alternative macroeconomic frameworks, external shocks, aid flows, as well as the composition of public expenditure. Previously, he served as the World Bank’s Country Economist and PREM Cluster Leader of Southern Africa (South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia) and Zambia. Go first joined the World Bank as a Research Economist at the Development Research Group. Go holds a Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-02) Arbache, Jorge ; Go, Delfin S. ; Page, JohnIn this paper, Arbache, Go, and Page examine the recent acceleration of growth in Africa. Unlike the past, the performance is now registered broadly across several types of countries-particularly the oil-exporting and resource-intensive countries and, in more recent years, the large- and middle-income economies, as well as coastal and low-income countries. The analysis confirms a trend break in the mid-1990s, identifying a growth acceleration that is due not only to favorable terms of trade and greater aid, but also to better policy. Indeed, the growth diagnostics show that more and more African countries have been able to avoid mistakes with better macropolicy, better governance, and fewer conflicts; as a result, the likelihood of growth decelerations has declined significantly. Nonetheless, the sustainability of that growth is fragile, because economic fundamentals, such as savings, investment, productivity, and export diversification, remain stagnant. The good news in the story is that African economies appear to have learned how to avoid the mistakes that led to the frequent growth collapses between 1975 and 1995. The bad news is that much less is known about the recipes for long-term success in development, such as developing the right institutions and the policies to raise savings and diversify exports, than about how to avoid economic bad times.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-09) Essama-Nssah, B. ; Go, Delfin S. ; Kearney, Marna ; Korman, Vijdan ; Robinson, Sherman ; Thierfelder, KarenAs crude oil prices reach new highs, there is renewed concern about how external shocks will affect growth and poverty in developing countries. This paper describes a macro-micro framework for examining the structural and distributional consequences of a significant external shock-an increase in the world price of oil-on the South African economy. The authors merge results from a highly disaggregative computable general equilibrium model and a micro-simulation analysis of earnings and occupational choice based on socio-demographic characteristics of the household. The model provides changes in employment, wages, and prices that are used in the micro-simulation. The analysis finds that a 125 percent increase in the price of crude oil and refined petroleum reduces employment and GDP by approximately 2 percent, and reduces household consumption by approximately 7 percent. The oil price shock tends to increase the disparity between rich and poor. The adverse impact of the oil price shock is felt by the poorer segment of the formal labor market in the form of declining wages and increased unemployment. Unemployment hits mostly low and medium-skilled workers in the services sector. High-skilled households, on average, gain from the oil price shock. Their income rises and their spending basket is less skewed toward food and other goods that are most affected by changes in oil prices.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2005-08) Go, Delfin S. ; Kearney, Marna ; Robinson, Sherman ; Thierfelder, KarenIn this paper, the authors describe South Africa's value added tax (VAT), showing that (1) the VAT is mildly regressive, and (2) it is an effective source of government revenue, compared with other tax instruments in South Africa. They evaluate the VAT in the context of other distortions in the economy by computing the marginal cost of funds-the effect of raising government revenue by increasing the VAT rates on household welfare. Then they evaluate alternative, revenue-neutral tax systems in which they reduce the VAT and raise income taxes. For the analysis, the authors use a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model with detailed specification of South Africa's tax system. Households are disaggregated into income deciles. They demonstrate that alternative tax structures can benefit low-income households without placing excess burdens on high-income households.
Publication(Washington, DC : World Bank, 2008) Go, Delfin S. ; Page, JohnThis book is a collection of essays that seeks to answer three interrelated sets of questions about Africa's recent growth recovery. The first set of essays addresses questions about the drivers and durability of Africa's growth. How different is current economic performance compared to Africa's long history of boom-bust cycles? Have African countries learned to avoid past mistakes and pursued the right policies? How much of the current performance depends on good luck such as favorable commodity prices or the recovery of external assistance and how much depends on hard-won economic policy reforms. A second set of essays looks at the role of donor flows. External assistance plays a larger role in Africa's growth story than in any other part of the developing world. As a result, the economic management of external assistance is a major public policy challenge, and donor behavior is a significant source of external risk. The third set of essays looks at questions arising from commodity price shocks especially from changes in the price of oil. Relative to factors such as policy failures, conflicts, and natural disasters, how important are commodity price shocks in explaining output variability in African countries? Compared to the oil price shocks in the 1970s, why have recent higher oil prices apparently had less impact on Africa's growth? Oil is also now an important source of revenue for several oil exporting countries in Africa; what are the economic challenges faced by those countries? How should one analyze the macroeconomic and distributional impact of external and oil price shocks? As the essays in this volume show, laying the policy and institutional basis for longer-term growth, managing volatile commodity prices and aid flows, and turning growth in average incomes into growth in all incomes remain formidable but manageable challenges if Africa is to reach its turning point.
Publication( 2009-03-01) Go, Delfin S. ; Kearney, Marna ; Korman, Vijdan ; Robinson, Sherman ; Thierfelder, KarenIn this paper, the authors use a highly disaggregate general equilibrium model to analyze the feasibility of a wage subsidy to unskilled workers in South Africa, isolating and estimating its potential employment effects and fiscal cost. They capture the structural characteristics of the labor market with several labor categories and substitution possibilities, linking the economy-wide results on relative prices, wages, and employment to a micro-simulation model with occupational choice probabilities in order to investigate the poverty and distributional consequences of the policy. The impact of a wage subsidy on employment, poverty, and inequality in South Africa depends greatly on the elasticities of substitution of factors of production, being very minimal if unskilled and skilled labor are complements in production. The desired results are attainable only if there is sufficient flexibility in the labor market. Although the impact in a low case scenario can be improved by supporting policies that relax the skill constraint and increase the production capacity of the economy especially towards labor-intensive sectors, the gains from a wage subsidy are still modest if the labor market remains very rigid.
Publication( 2009-05-01) Devarajan, Shantayanan ; Go, Delfin S. ; Robinson, Sherman ; Thierfelder, KarenNoting that South Africa may be one of the few African countries that could contribute to mitigating climate change, the authors explore the impact of a carbon tax relative to alternative energy taxes on economic welfare. Using a disaggregate general-equilibrium model of the South African economy, they capture the structural characteristics of the energy sector, linking a supply mix that is heavily skewed toward coal to energy use by different sectors and hence their carbon content. The authors consider a "pure" carbon tax as well as various proxy taxes such as those on energy or energy-intensive sectors like transport and basic metals, all of which achieve the same level of carbon reduction. In general, the more targeted the tax to carbon emissions, the better the welfare results. If a carbon tax is feasible, it will have the least marginal cost of abatement by a substantial amount when compared to alternative tax instruments. If a carbon tax is not feasible, a sales tax on energy inputs is the next best option. Moreover, labor market distortions such as labor market segmentation or unemployment will likely dominate the welfare and equity implications of a carbon tax for South Africa. This being the case, if South Africa were able to remove some of the distortions in the labor market, the cost of carbon taxation would be negligible. In short, the discussion of carbon taxation in South Africa can focus on considerations other than the economic welfare costs, which are likely to be quite low.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-01) Devarajan, Shantayanan ; Go, Delfin S. ; Page, John ; Robinson, Sherman ; Thierfelder, KarenDevarajan, Go, Page, Robinson, and Thierfelder argued that if aid is about the future and recipients are able to plan consumption and investment decisions optimally over time, then the potential problem of an aid-induced appreciation of the real exchange rate (Dutch disease) does not occur. In their paper, "Aid, Growth and Real Exchange Rate Dynamics," this key result is derived without requiring extreme assumptions or additional productivity story. The economic framework is a standard neoclassical growth model, based on the familiar Salter-Swan characterization of an open economy, with full dynamic savings and investment decisions. It does require that the model is fully dynamic in both savings and investment decisions. An important assumption is that aid should be predictable for intertemporal smoothing to take place. If aid volatility forces recipients to be constrained and myopic, Dutch disease problems become an issue.