Go, Delfin Sia

Development Prospects Group, World Bank
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Development and Growth Economics; Africa Development; Economic Modeling and Tools for Fiscal Analysis; Aid Effectiveness and Management
Development Prospects Group, World Bank
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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.  
Citations 11 Scopus

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Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
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    Economy-wide and Distributional Impacts of an Oil Price Shock on the South African Economy
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-09) Essama-Nssah, B. ; Go, Delfin S. ; Kearney, Marna ; Korman, Vijdan ; Robinson, Sherman ; Thierfelder, Karen
    As 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.
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    How Significant is Africa's Demographic Dividend for Its Future Growth and Poverty Reduction?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-12) Ahmed, S. Amer ; Cruz, Marcio ; Go, Delfin S. ; Maliszewska, Maryla ; Osorio-Rodarte, Israel
    Africa will be undergoing substantial demographic changes in the coming decades with the rising working age share of its population. The opportunity of African countries to convert these changes into demographic dividends for growth and poverty reduction will depend on several factors. The outlook will likely be good if African countries can continue the gains already made under better institutions and policies, particularly those affecting the productivity of labor, such as educational outcomes. If African countries can continue to build on the hard-won development gains, the demographic dividend could account for 11 to 15 percent of gross domestic product volume growth by 2030, while accounting for 40 to 60 million fewer poor in 2030. The gains can become much more substantial with even better educational outcomes that allow African countries to catch up to other developing countries. If the skill share of Africa's labor supply doubles because of improvements in educational attainment, from 25 to about 50 percent between 2011 and 30, then the demographic dividends can expand the regional economy additionally by 22 percent by 2030 relative to the base case and reduce poverty by an additional 51 million people.
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    Estimating Parameters and Structural Change in CGE Models Using a Bayesian Cross-Entropy Estimation Approach
    (World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2015-01) Go, Delfin S. ; Lofgren, Hans ; Mendez Ramos, Fabian ; Robinson, Sherman
    This paper uses a three-step Bayesian cross-entropy estimation approach in an environment of noisy and scarce data to estimate behavioral parameters for a computable general equilibrium model. The estimation also measures how labor-augmenting productivity and other structural parameters in the model may have shifted over time to contribute to the generation of historically observed changes in the economic arrangement. In this approach, the parameters in a computable general equilibrium model are treated as fixed but unobserved, represented as prior mean values with prior error mass functions. Estimation of the parameters involves using an information-theoretic Bayesian approach to exploit additional information in the form of new data from a series of social accounting matrices, which are assumed were measured with error. The estimation procedure is "efficient" in the sense that it uses all available information and makes no assumptions about unavailable information. As illustration, the methodology is applied to estimate the parameters of a computable general equilibrium model using alternative data sets for the Republic of Korea and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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    Africa at a Turning Point? : Growth, Aid, and External Shocks
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2008) Go, Delfin S. ; Page, John
    This 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.
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    Wage Subsidy and Labor Market Flexibility in South Africa
    ( 2009-03-01) Go, Delfin S. ; Kearney, Marna ; Korman, Vijdan ; Robinson, Sherman ; Thierfelder, Karen
    In 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.
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    Tax Policy to Reduce Carbon Emissions in South Africa
    ( 2009-05-01) Devarajan, Shantayanan ; Go, Delfin S. ; Robinson, Sherman ; Thierfelder, Karen
    Noting 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.