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 - 10 of 12
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(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, 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.
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, 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.
Sectoral Productivity Shock, Regional Differences in Intersectoral Linkages, and Structural Transformation in Ghana(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-05-17) Paul, Sumik ; Raju, DhushyanthThis paper studies the effect of a local sectoral productivity shock on subnational structural transformation. The analysis is based on regional input-output tables constructed for 2004 and 2013 and available censuses of firms in 2003 and 2013 for Ghana. Based on the data, the analysis confirms the occurrence of a mining productivity shock. Between 2004 and 2013, mining grew dramatically as a share of gross domestic product. The mining shock occurred primarily in the south of Ghana with much larger increases in mining’s share in regional output, the number of mining firms, and mining employment than in the north of the country. The findings show that the mining productivity shock led to growing regional (north-south) differences in intersectoral linkages, with greater intermediate use of mining output and a larger sectoral total factor productivity ratio between mining and manufacturing in the south than in the north. Informed by international evidence of strong intersectoral linkages between mining and heavy manufacturing industries, the paper examines the performance of heavy manufacturing in response to the mining productivity shock. The elasticity of heavy manufacturing to mining employment growth is 50 percent larger in the south than in the north, generated by an increase in both average firm employment and the entry of new firms. These north-south differences are interpreted as possibly due to weak interregional production linkages.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2017-06-08) Dundar, Halil ; Millot, Benoit ; Riboud, Michelle ; Shojo, Mari ; Aturupane, Harsha ; Goyal, Sangeeta ; Raju, Dhushyanth ; Aturupane, HarshaA country’s education system plays a pivotal role in promoting economic growth and shared prosperity. Sri Lanka has enjoyed high school-attainment and enrollment rates for several decades. However, it still faces major challenges in the education sector, and these challenges undermine the country’s inclusivegrowth goal and its ambition to become a competitive upper-middle-income country. The authors of Sri Lanka Education Sector Assessment: Achievements, Challenges, and Policy Options offer a thorough review of Sri Lanka’s education sector—from early childhood education through higher education. With this book, they attempt to answer three questions: • How is Sri Lanka’s education system performing, especially with respect to participation rates, learning outcomes, and labor market outcomes? • How can the country address the challenges at each stage of the education process, taking into account both country and international experience and also best practices? • Which policy actions should Sri Lanka make a priority for the short and medium term? The authors identify the most critical constraints on performance and present strategic priorities and policy options to address them. To attain inclusive growth and become globally competitive, Sri Lanka needs to embark on integrated reforms across all levels of education. These reforms must address both short-term skill shortages and long-term productivity. As Sri Lanka moves up the development ladder, the priorities of primary, secondary, and postsecondary education must be aligned to meet the increasingly complex education and skill requirements.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2018-06-22) Raju, Dhushyanth ; Rajbhandary, Jasmine ; Raju, Dhushyanth ; Rajbhandary, JasminePromoting the smooth labor market integration and early labor market success of workers has increasingly become an important economic and social development aim globally. The Nepal government sees addressing the social and economic challenges of youth, and leveraging their social and economic prospects, as critical for the country’s economic growth and development. There has been limited systematic, policy-oriented empirical research conducted on labor and livelihoods in Nepal. Dedicated examinations of the labor conditions, behaviors, and outcomes of youth are rarer still. Responding to the knowledge needs expressed by the Nepal government and other stakeholders in the country, this book aims to improve our understanding of the labor market conditions, behaviors, and outcomes of Nepalese youth. It examines these aspects in Nepal’s domestic labor market as well as in relation to labor migration to India and other countries, including temporary 'foreign employment' of Nepalese workers under bilateral labor agreements between destination countries and Nepal. In so doing, the report seeks to present insights and implications for research and public policy, with the goal of improving the labor market prospects of Nepalese youth. The collective findings in the report point to three directions for orienting public policy and program initiatives. First is raising rural labor productivity, urban labor demand, and urban worker–job matching efficiency. Second is supporting the labor market integration of rural youth migrating to urban parts of Nepal and of youth labor migrants returning from India and other countries. Third is improving the orientation and efficacy of labor skill training.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-11) Torlesse, Harriet ; Raju, DhushyanthPoor breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices predict child stunting and wasting in South Asia, suggesting that initiatives to end undernutrition in the region should focus on improving the diets of young children. This review of the literature finds that South Asia has made relatively good progress in improving breastfeeding practices compared with other regions, but the lack of diversity in complementary foods and low frequency of feeding continue to be problems. Children who are most at risk of experiencing poor feeding include those who are born small, have younger mothers, and live in poorer households or in communities with less access to, or lower uptake of, primary health services. Initiatives to improve feeding practices have not produced substantial improvement, particularly in complementary feeding, because such efforts have lacked the coverage, intensity, comprehensiveness, and continuity needed. Policy, legal, and program actions to protect, promote, and support recommended feeding practices should be informed by situation analyses and formative research on context-specific drivers of poor practices. The actions should involve multiple sectors and stakeholders, including governments, the private sector, communities, and households.
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.