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 - 10 of 11
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(World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2014-07) Devarajan, Shantayanan ; Dissou, Yazid ; Go, Delfin S. ; Robinson, ShermanThis paper develops a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model to analyze and derive simple budget rules in the face of volatile public revenue from natural resources in a low-income country like Niger. The simulation results suggest three policy lessons or rules of thumb. When a resource price change is positive and temporary, the best strategy is to save the revenue windfall in a sovereign fund, and use the interest income from the fund to raise citizens' consumption over time. This strategy is preferred to investing in public capital domestically, even when private investment benefits from an enhanced public capital stock. Domestic investment raises the prices of domestic goods, leaving less money for government to transfer to households; public investment is not 100 percent effective in raising output. In the presence of a negative temporary resource price change, however, the best strategy is to cut public investment. This strategy dominates other methods, such as trimming government transfers to households, which reduces consumption directly, or borrowing, which incurs an interest premium as debt rises. In the presence of persistent (positive and negative) shocks, the best strategy is a mix of public investment and saving abroad in a balanced regime that provides a natural insurance against both types of price shocks. The combination of interest income from the sovereign fund, transfers to households, and output growth brought about by public investment provides the best protective mechanism to smooth consumption over time in response to changing resource prices.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-12) Ahmed, S. Amer ; Cruz, Marcio ; Go, Delfin S. ; Maliszewska, Maryla ; Osorio-Rodarte, IsraelAfrica 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.
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, ShermanThis 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.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-05) Lakatos, Csilla ; Maliszewska, Maryla ; Osorio-Rodarte, Israel ; Go, DelfinThis paper explores the economic impacts of two related tracks of China's expected transformation—economic slowdown and rebalancing away from investment toward consumption—and estimates the spillovers for the rest of the world, with a special focus on Sub-Saharan African countries. The paper finds that an average annual slowdown of gross domestic product in China of 1 percent over 2016–30 is expected to result in a decline of gross domestic product in Sub-Saharan Africa by 1.1 percent and globally by 0.6 percent relative to the past trends scenario by 2030. However, if China's transformation also entails substantial rebalancing, the negative income effects of the economic slowdown could be offset by the positive changes brought along by rebalancing through higher overall imports by China and positive terms of trade effects for its trading partners. If global supply responds positively to the shifts in relative prices and the new sources of consumer demand from China, a substantial rebalancing in China could have an overall favorable impact on the global economy. Economic growth could turn positive and higher on average, by 6 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa and 5.5 percent globally, as compared with the past trends scenario. Finally, rebalancing reduces the prevalence of poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa compared with the isolated negative effects of China's slowdown, which slightly increase the incidence of poverty. Overall, China's slowdown and rebalancing combined are estimated to increase gross domestic product in Sub-Saharan Africa by 4.7 percent by 2030 and reduce poverty, but the extent of this varies by country.
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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-06) Devarajan, Shantayanan ; Go, Delfin S. ; Maliszewska, Maryla ; Osorio-Rodarte, Israel ; Timmer, HansAfter an impressive acceleration in growth and poverty reduction since the mid-1990s, many African countries continue to register robust growth in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Will this growth persist, given the tepid recovery in developed countries, numerous weather shocks, and civil conflicts in Africa? This paper "stress tests" African economies. The findings indicate that Africa's long-term growth is fairly impervious to a prolonged recession in high-income countries. Growth is, however, much more sensitive to a disruption of capital flows to the region, and to internal shocks, such as civil conflict and drought, even if the latter follow historical patterns. The broad policy implication is that with proper domestic production conditions African countries can sustain robust long-term growth. Because of the economic dominance of the agriculture sector and the share of food in household budgets, countries will need to increase the resilience of agriculture and protect it from unfavorable climate change impacts, such as drought. As in the past, civil conflicts and violence will pose by far the greatest threat to Africa's performance.
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.