Essama-Nssah, Boniface

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Poverty and growth, Program evaluation, Social impact of public policy
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Last updated January 31, 2023
B. Essama-Nssah worked for 17 years for the World Bank in Washington, DC, before he retired as a senior economist in 2011.  During his tenure at the Bank, he performed economic analyses, prepared policy research and technical papers, and conducted an annual training course on impact evaluation methodologies for staff from the World Bank and client countries.  Before joining the World Bank, Essama-Nssah worked for two years as a senior research associate on the Food and Nutrition Program at Cornell University, and for six years as head of the Economics Department and vice dean of the Faculty of Law and Economics of the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon.  He currently works as a consultant focusing on poverty and growth incidence analysis, program evaluation, and analysis of the social impact of public policy. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Citations 3 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
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    A Poverty-Focused Evaluation of Commodity Tax Options
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-06) Essama-Nssah, B.
    The difficulties faced by many developing countries in raising revenue from direct taxes have forced them to rely heavily on indirect taxes to finance development interventions. The purpose of this paper is to show how to identify socially desirable options for commodity taxation in the context of a poverty reduction strategy. Within the logic of social evaluation the author assesses tax options on the basis of value judgments underlying members of the additively separable class of poverty measures. The criterion hinges on both the pattern of consumption of each commodity and the price elasticity of the poverty measure used. An application of this methodology to data for Guinea shows that many components of food expenditure (particularly cereals, grains, and roots) would be good candidates for exemption from value-added tax. Even though expenditure on health and education is distributed in favor of the non-poor, their importance for human capital development argues for a program of targeted subsidies in a broader context of cost recovery.
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    Reading Tealeaves on the Potential Impact of the Privatization of Tea Estates in Rwanda
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-03) Essama-Nssah, B. ; Ezemenari, Kene ; Korman, Vijdan
    The Poverty Reduction Strategy of the Government of Rwanda seeks to unlock the growth and poverty reduction potential of the tea sector through the privatization of tea estates. This paper uses the logic of causal inference and data from the 2004 Quantitative Baseline Survey of the tea sector to assess the potential impact of the privatization program. This entails a normalized comparison of productivity outcomes to account for household heterogeneity in terms of observable and non-observable determinants of these outcomes. The paper also compares living standards between tea and non-tea households. Three main findings emerge from the analysis. Productivity outcomes are generally better in the private sector than in the public sector. Male-headed households outperform female-headed households along all dimensions considered here. And tea households tend to be better off than non-tea households.
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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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    Accounting for Heterogeneity in Growth Incidence in Cameroon
    ( 2010-11-01) Essama-Nssah, B. ; Bassole, Leandre ; Paul, Saumik
    This paper presents counterfactual decompositions based on both the Shapley method and a generalization of the Oaxaca-Blinder approach to identify proximate factors that might explain differences in the distribution of economic welfare in Cameroon in 1996-2007. In particular, the analysis uses re-centered influence function regressions to link the growth incidence curve for 2001-2007 to household characteristics and account for heterogeneity of impact across quantiles in terms of the composition (or endowment) effect and structural (or price) effect. The analysis finds that the level of the growth incidence curve is explained by the endowment effect while its shape is driven by the price effect. Observed gains at the bottom of the distribution are due to returns to endowments. The rest of the gains are accounted for by the composition effect. Further decomposition of these effects shows that the composition effect is determined mainly by household demographics while the structural effect is shaped by the sector of employment and geography. Finally, analysis of the rural-urban gap in living standards shows that, for the poorest households in both sectors, differences in household characteristics matter more than the returns to those characteristics. The opposite is true for better-off households.
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    A Counterfactual Analysis of the Poverty Impact of Economic Growth in Cameroon
    ( 2010-03-01) Essama-Nssah, B. ; Bassole, Leandre
    The Government of Cameroon has declared poverty reduction through strong and sustainable economic growth the central objective of its socioeconomic policy. This paper uses available household survey data to assess the performance of the economy with respect to this objective over the period 1996-2007. The authors use counterfactual decompositions based on both the Shapley method and the generalized Oaxaca-Blinder framework to identify proximate factors that might explain differences in observed outcomes over time, across regions and households. The concept of pro-poorness provides a basis for a normative evaluation of these outcomes. The analysis of changes in the size distribution of economic welfare reveals that formal sector employment, access to credit, education, and urban residence are characteristics that bring significantly high returns to households. Employment in smallholder agriculture has a negative impact on welfare across quantiles. Economic growth was accompanied by significant poverty reduction between 1996 and 2001. But poverty barely decreased between 2001 and 2007 due to very weak growth. Over the same period, household investment in human capital took a serious hit. Given the additional finding that the pattern of growth is characterized by urban bias and regional disparity, the overall assessment is that economic growth has been weakly pro-poor in Cameroon. There is therefore a need to re-examine and possibly reform the mechanisms governing the allocation of public resources designed to support individuals' efforts to improve their standard of living.