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 - 4 of 4
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    A Unified Framework for Pro-Poor Growth Analysis
    (World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2004-09) Essama-Nssah, B.
    Starting with a general impact indicator as an evaluation criterion, The author offers an integrative framework for a unified discussion of various concepts and measures of pro-poor growth emerging from the current literature. He shows that whether economic growth is considered pro-poor depends fundamentally on the choice of evaluative weights. In addition, the author's framework leads to a new indicator of the rate of pro-poor growth that can be interpreted as the equally distributed equivalent growth rate. This is a distribution-adjusted rate of growth that depends on the chosen level of inequality aversion. Illustrations based on data for Indonesia in the 1990s show a strong link between growth and poverty reduction in that country. A decomposition of the observed poverty outcomes reveals the extent to which changes in inequality have blunted the poverty impacts of both growth and contraction. Finally, the results also demonstrate that absolute and relative indicators of pro-poor growth can lead to conflicting conclusions from the same set of facts.
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    Assessing the Distributional Impact of Public Policy
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-09) Essama-Nssah, B.
    Economic development necessarily changes the welfare of socioeconomic groups to various degrees, depending on differences in their social arrangements. The challenge for policymakers is to select the changes that will be most socially desirable. The author demonstrates the usefulness of distributional analysis for social evaluation and, more specifically, for welfare evaluation, using data from the 1994 Integrated Household Survey in Guinea. Because the international community has declared poverty eradication a fundamental objective of development, the author uses a poverty-focused approach to social evaluation based on the maximum principle. This principle offers a unifying framework for analyzing the socioeconomic impact of public policy by using a wide variety of evaluation functions, inequality indicators (like the extended Gini coefficient), and poverty indices (such as Sen's index and the members of the Foster-Greer-Thorbecke family). The author also examines, within the context of commodity taxation, how to identify socially desirable policy options using both the dominance criterion and abbreviated social welfare functions. He includes computer routines for calculating various welfare indices and for plotting the relevant concentration curves.
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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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    Measuring the Pro-Poorness of Income Growth within an Elasticity Framework
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-10) Essama-Nssah, B. ; Lambert, Peter J.
    Poverty reduction has become a fundamental objective of development, and therefore a metric for assessing the effectiveness of various interventions. Economic growth can be a powerful instrument of income poverty reduction. This creates a need for meaningful ways of assessing the poverty impact of growth. This paper follows the elasticity approach to propose a measure of pro-poorness defined as a weighted average of the deviation of a growth pattern from the benchmark case. The measure can help assess pro-poorness both in terms of aggregate poverty measures, which are members of the additively separable class, and at percentiles. It also lends itself to a decomposition procedure, whereby the overall pattern of income growth can be unbundled, and the contributions of income components to overall pro-poorness identified. An application to data for Indonesia in the 1990s reveals that the amount of poverty reduction achieved over that period remains far below what would have been achieved under distributional neutrality. This conclusion is robust to the choice of a poverty measure among members of the additively separable class, and can be tracked back to changes in expenditure components.