Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice, World Bank
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Education, Health, Nutrition, Labor, Poverty, Risk
Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice, World Bank
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated September 15, 2023
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 25
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-05) Raju, Dhushyanth ; D'Souza, RitikaPakistan has an extraordinarily high and persistent level of child undernutrition. To effectively tackle the problem, the design of public policies and programs needs to be based on evidence. Toward this end, this paper presents a narrative review of the available empirical and qualitative literature on child undernutrition in Pakistan. It summarizes evidence for the country on, among other things, food consumption, spatial variation and trends in undernutrition rates, levels and effects of generally theorized determinants of undernutrition, and effects of various interventions on undernutrition. Based on patterns revealed in and insights gained from the cumulative evidence, the review lays out considerations and suggestions for further data collection and research, and for policy and practice.
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.
Effects over the Life of a Program: Evidence from an Education Conditional Cash Transfer Program for Girls(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-12) Chhabra, Esha ; Najeeb, Fatima ; Raju, DhushyanthWhile most evaluations of education programs in developing countries examine effects one or two years after a program has been introduced, this study does so over an extended duration of a program. Administered in Punjab, Pakistan, the program offers cash benefits to households conditional on girls' regular attendance in secondary grades in government schools. The study evaluates the evolution of the program's effects on girls' secondary school enrollment numbers over roughly a decade of its existence. The program was targeted to districts with low adult literacy rates, a targeting mechanism that provides an observed, numerical program assignment variable and results in a cutoff value. Recent advances in regression discontinuity designs allow the study to appropriately fit key features of the data. The study finds that the program had positive effects on girls’ secondary school enrollment numbers throughout the period and that these effects were stable. This pattern is observed despite a loss of more than 60 percent in the real value of the cash benefit over the period. The findings are consistent with potential behavioral explanations, such as the program making girls' education salient to households or catalyzing a shift in social norms around girls' education.
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, 2019-03) Dizon, Felipe ; Josephson, Anna ; Raju, DhushyanthThrough a review of the literature, this paper examines the links of food and agriculture with nutrition in South Asia, a region characterized by a high level of malnutrition. The review finds that the level and stability of food prices play a critical part in food consumption, with rising prices affecting poor households the most. Although public food transfer programs are aimed at addressing this, most are too small to have a marked effect in protecting or promoting nutrition. Several supply-side food and agricultural interventions suggest promise in improving nutrition, although their effects have yet to be well identified. These include the cultivation of home gardens, animal farming, and use of biofortification and post-harvest fortification. All these efforts will be futile, however, without parallel efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change.
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.
Publication( 2010-11-01) Barrera-Osorio, Felipe ; Raju, DhushyanthLow student learning is a common finding in much of the developing world. This paper uses a relatively unique dataset of five semiannual rounds of standardized test data to characterize and explain the short-term changes in student learning. The data are collected as part of the quality assurance system for a public-private partnership program that offers public subsidies conditional on minimum learning levels to low-cost private schools in Pakistan. Apart from a large positive distributional shift in learning between the first two test rounds, the learning distributions over test rounds show little progress. Schools are ejected from the program if they fail to achieve a minimum pass rate in the test in two consecutive attempts, making the test high stakes. Sharp regression discontinuity estimates show that the threat of program exit on schools that barely failed the test for the first time induces large learning gains. The large change in learning between the first two test rounds is likely attributable to this accountability pressure given that a large share of new program entrants failed in the first test round. Schools also qualify for substantial annual teacher bonuses if they achieve a minimum score in a composite measure of student test participation and mean test score. Sharp regression discontinuity estimates do not show that the prospect of future teacher bonus rewards induces learning gains for schools that barely did not qualify for the bonus.