Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice, World Bank
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Education, Health, Nutrition, Labor, Poverty, Risk
Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice, World Bank
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Last updated September 15, 2023
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Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-06) Raju, Dhushyanth ; Younger, Stephen D.This paper estimates the monetary value of financial risk reduction associated with membership in Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme, based on recent national household survey data. The paper compares the risk premiums for distributions of out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures with and without insurance and find that the difference is small. This does not mean that the National Health Insurance Scheme has no value to members. Indeed, the findings show that the insured pay significantly less for healthcare than the uninsured on average. But that average reduction does not translate into a reduced spread of consumption net of out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures. Thus, the benefit of the National Health Insurance Scheme is entirely a transfer benefit, not a reduction in financial risk.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-04-13) Zeufack, Albert G. ; Calderon, Cesar ; Kabundi, Alain ; Kubota, Megumi ; Korman, Vijdan ; Raju, Dhushyanth ; Abreha, Kaleb Girma ; Kassa, Woubet ; Owusu, SolomonSub-Saharan Africa's recovery from the pandemic is expected to decelerate in 2022 amid a slowdown in global economic activity, continued supply constraints, outbreaks of new coronavirus variants, climatic shocks, high inflation, and rising financial risks due to high and increasingly vulnerable debt levels. The war in Ukraine has exacerbated the already existing tensions and vulnerabilities affecting the continent. Given the sources of growth in the region and the nature of the economic linkages with Russia and Ukraine, the war in Ukraine might have a marginal impact on economic growth and on overall poverty—as this shock affects mostly the urban poor and vulnerable people living just above the poverty line. However, its largest impact is on the increasing likelihood of civil strife as a result of food- and energy-fueled inflation amid an environment of heightened political instability. The looming threats of stagflation require a two-pronged strategy that combines short-term measures to contain inflationary pressures and medium-to-long-term policies that accelerate the structural transformation and create more and better jobs. In response to supply shocks, monetary policy in the region may prove ineffective to bring down inflation and other short-run options may be restricted by the lack of fiscal space. Concessional financing might be key to helping countries alleviate the impact of food and fuel inflation. Over the medium term, avoiding stagflation may require a combination of actionable measures that improve the resilience of the economy by shoring up productivity and job creation. Lastly, ongoing actions to enhance social protection—including dynamic delivery systems for rapid scalability and shock-sensitive financing—could be strengthened further to improve economic resilience against shocks and foster investments in productive assets.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-06) Raju, Dhushyanth ; Younger, Stephen D.Eswatini has notably high levels of poverty and inequality. Recurrent, negative shocks are an important contributing factor. This study assesses the performance of the largest social assistance programs in Eswatini, based on 2016/17 national household survey data. It examines the coverage rates of these programs, and their incidence and effectiveness in reducing poverty and inequality. The study also examines the association between program participation and negative shocks reported by households, in particular, drought and food price shocks associated with the 2015-2016 El Niño event. Across programs, benefits are concentrated among poor households. However, the performance of programs in reducing poverty and inequality tends to be limited because of low intended or actual benefit levels and shortfalls in intended or actual coverage of the poor. Households that receive program benefits are more likely to report a drought shock. Except in the case of emergency food aid, which is provided ex post, we interpret this pattern to indicate that programs tend to provide ex-ante coverage to those vulnerable to this shock. At a minimum, enhancing the performance of programs in addressing poverty, inequality, and the adverse effects of shocks would require that actual benefit levels equal intended levels (for example, by procuring sufficient food commodities to meet the needs of the school feeding program) and that intended benefit levels are fully aligned with program aims (for example, by providing grant amounts to schools that are large enough to allow for tuition-free government secondary education for orphaned and vulnerable children). Absent greater budgetary allocations to programs, addressing these benefit-related disconnects may require improving the targeting of select program benefits to poorer households such as by using a proxy means test. We simulate the effects of programs on poverty and inequality reduction from such hypothetical reforms.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-04) Raju, Dhushyanth ; Younger, Stephen D.This paper examines the monetary benefits and costs of the quantity of public schooling (that is, years of schooling completed) in Ghana. The paper also examines the monetary benefits and costs of some aspects of the quality of public schooling, measured by the gains in achievement produced by selected interventions in public schools. The analysis uses estimates of (i) labor-earnings returns to schooling and private spending on public schooling, based on the latest national household sample survey data; (ii) government spending on public schooling, based on administrative information; (iii) impacts on test scores, and costs, of education interventions in public schools, drawn from experimental studies; and (iv) conversions of impacts on test scores produced by education interventions to (future) labor earnings, all for Ghana. The results are a set of benefit-cost ratios in the style of the Copenhagen Consensus.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-01) Boko, Joachim ; Raju, Dhushyanth ; Younger, Stephen D.This paper assesses the performance of government spending on social protection programs in reducing poverty and inequality in Lesotho, applying benefit incidence and microsimulation methods to 2017-2018 household survey data. The paper investigates the distributional effects of actual spending on social protection programs as well as those of a hypothetical alternative in which the spending is targeted through a proxy means test (PMT) formula used by the government for some programs. In addition, the paper explores the responsiveness of social protection programs to adverse shocks commonly reported by households in Lesotho, where recent natural shocks have had substantial economic effects.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-11-24) Nxumalo, Mpumelelo ; Raju, DhushyanthStructural transformation can spur economic growth and development if it increases overall productivity growth. A labor market environment that enables workers and enterprises to transition smoothly across sectors and into more productive economic pursuits can enhance the effect of structural transformation on economic growth. This study examines Ghana’s recent record of structural transformation and labor market performance. Based on the findings, the study proposes ways to further transform the country’s economy, in a way that stimulates stronger, sustained growth and produces gainful, productive, and inclusive private employment. The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and associated global economic crisis have posed a substantial setback to Ghana’s economic progress and plans, but these challenges also underscore the need for structural transformation that can both strengthen economic performance and improve labor conditions and outcomes.
Barriers to Growth-Enhancing Structural Transformation: The Role of Subnational Differences in Intersectoral Productivity Gaps(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-06) Paul, Saumik ; Raju, DhushyanthThe movement of workers from the farm sector to a more productive nonfarm sector has failed to generate significant gains in labor productivity in recent decades in many developing countries. This paper offers a new perspective on the barriers to growth-enhancing structural transformation, combining structural modeling with enterprise census data from Ghana. The paper argues that subnational differences in the intersectoral productivity gap between the nonfarm informal and formal sectors constrain the productivity gain from structural transformation. In Ghana, intersectoral productivity gaps among the richer regions are on average three times larger than among the poorer regions. The disparity in regional intersectoral productivity gaps is modeled as reflecting the disparity in the regional misallocation of labor between the informal and formal sectors. Misallocation is identified as the output wedge between the informal and formal sectors. Simulations suggest that a more productive nonfarm informal sector reduces the disparity in regional intersectoral productivity gaps and, in turn, increases national productivity and the contribution of structural transformation to national productivity. For example, a 90-percent reduction in the disparity in regional intersectoral productivity gaps raises Ghana’s national aggregate productivity by 11.9 percent and the contribution of structural transformation to productivity by 19.7 percent.
Shocks and Social Safety Net Program Participation in Ghana - Descriptive Evidence from Linking Climate Risk Maps to Programs Beneficiary Rolls(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-01-27) Nxumalo, Mpumelelo ; Raju, DhushyanthThis study discusses the association between household exposure to negative shocks and social safety net program participation in Ghana. To examine this issue, we link data from high-resolution geospatial maps of drought and flood risks to government administrative data on safety net program beneficiaries at the district level. We find that drought risk is positively associated with household participation in selected, main public social safety net programs. (The corresponding evidence for flood risk is weaker.) We interpret the finding to be a result of pre-shock program coverage of drought-prone areas, in part achieved indirectly through the intentional targeting of poor areas by the programs.
Covariate Shocks and Child Undernutrition: A Review of Evidence from Low- and Middle-Income Countries(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-06) Debebe, Zelalem Yilma ; Raju, DhushyanthUnexpected adverse events that affect areas or populations widely (covariate shocks) can have major consequences for the welfare of a society. Although the negative effects on households, especially among the poor, are well established in the economics literature, fewer studies have focused on how natural, economic, and social covariate shocks affect individual welfare and particularly child nutrition status. This paper reviews the evidence on the effect of covariate shocks on child nutrition status in low- and middle-income countries, the pathways through which the effect operates, and the relationship between the timing of a child's exposure to a covariate shock and the effect on child nutrition status. The paper also examines whether public interventions can help to mitigate any negative effect and whether the effect of covariate shocks can persist in the long term. Based on findings from the synthesis of evidence, the paper presents considerations and options for public policy and future research.