Fay, Marianne

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Urban economics, Infrastructure economics, Climate change
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Last updated: April 12, 2023
Marianne Fay, an economist specializing in sustainable development, is the World Bank director for Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru. She has 25 years’ experience in different regions of the world, contributing to knowledge on and the search for development solutions in the areas of infrastructure, urbanization, climate change, green growth and poverty reduction. She has published and edited several books and articles, including the “World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change,” and the report “Infrastructure in Latin America and the Caribbean: Recent Developments and Key Challenges.” Marianne is a U.S.-French binational.

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
  • Publication
    Economic Structure, Productivity, and Infrastructure Quality in Southern Mexico
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-10) Deichmann, Uwe; Fay, Marianne; Koo, Jun; Lall, Somik V.
    There are large and sustained differences in the economic performance of sub-national regions in most countries. The authors examine the economic structure and productivity in Southern Mexico and compare it with the rest of the country. The authors use firm level data from Mexican manufacturing to test the relative importance of firm level characteristics (such as human capital and technology adoption) compared with external characteristics (such as infrastructure quality and regulatory environment) in explaining productivity differentials. The authors find that the economic structure of Southern Mexico is considerably different from the rest of the country, with the economic landscape dominated by micro enterprises and a relative specialization in low productivity activities. This, coupled with low skill levels and fewer skill upgrading opportunities, reduces the performance of Southern firms. Productivity differentials between Southern firms and others, however, only exist for micro enterprises. The econometric analysis shows that while employee training and technology adoption enhance productivity, access to markets by improving transport infrastructure that link urban areas also have important productivity effects.
  • Publication
    Rising Incomes and Inequality of Access to Infrastructure among Latin American Households
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-02) Straub, Stephane; Fay, Marianne
    This paper documents access to services and ownership of infrastructure-related durables in the water, energy, telecom, and transport areas, based on harmonized household survey data covering 1.6 million households in 14 Latin American countries during 1992 to 2012. The paper provides a systematic disaggregation of access and ownership rates at different levels of income and over time, and econometrically derives the country infrastructure premium, a measure of how much a household benefits from simply being located in a given country. The results show extensive inequality of access, within countries across the income distribution, but also across countries for households at similar levels of income. For water and electricity, for example, up to two-thirds of the variability in individual percentile access to infrastructure services and consumption of related assets can be explained by country residence only. In addition, few country fundamentals appear to be significant in explaining this variability, pointing to policy differences as an important determinant. The paper derives the income elasticity of infrastructure access for the full set of indicators, and uses these to estimate the time that would be needed to close the remaining gap for households at different levels of the income distribution under a "business as usual" hypothesis. Under that scenario, universal access appears to be decades away for many countries in the region. The last part discusses the policy challenges, arguing that in a context in which public budgets face strong constraints and significant increases in private investment are unlikely to be forthcoming, a large part of the solution lies in refocused investment strategies, better demand management, and improved public spending efficiency.
  • Publication
    Rethinking Infrastructure in Latin America and the Caribbean: Spending Better to Achieve More
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-04-06) Fay, Marianne; Andres, Luis Alberto; Staub, Stephane; Narloch, Ulf
    Latin America and the Caribbean does not have the infrastructure it needs, or deserves, given its income. Many argue that the solution is to spend more; by contrast, this report has one main message: Latin America can dramatically narrow its infrastructure service gap by spending efficiently on the right things.
  • Publication
    Natural Disasters and the Urban Poor
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2003-10) Fay, Marianne; Solo, Tova
    Natural disasters made two and a half million people homeless in Latin America between 1990 and 1999. The region has been plagued with an average of 30 disasters causing 7,500 fatalities a year for 30 years. Worse, the frequency of natural disasters appears to be rising. It is generally agreed that rapid population growth leading to larger and denser human settlements, combined with environment degradation are key reasons. The emergence of megacities, population concentration in coastal areas (which are particularly vulnerable), and persistent widespread poverty compound the problem.
  • Publication
    The Urban Poor in Latin America
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2005) Fay, Marianne; Fay, Marianne
    With three quarters of its population living in cities, Latin America is now essentially an urban region. Higher urbanization is usually associated with a number of positives, such as higher income, greater access to services, and lower poverty incidence, and, Latin America is no exception. Today, urban poverty incidence, at 28 percent, is half that of in rural areas; extreme poverty, at 12 percent, is a third. Despite this relatively low poverty incidence, the absolute number of poor people is high, and most studies agree that about half of Latin America's poor live in urban areas. The Bank's own estimates suggest that 60 percent of the poor (113 million people) and half the extreme poor (46 million individuals) live in urban areas. The report reviews what is specifically urban about poor people living in cities, which reveals a number of facts, critical to understanding the challenges facing the urban poor, and the means to address these challenges. Three preconceived ideas are discussed, that tend to cloud judgment about urban poverty. All three spring from the common misperception that urban statistics are representative of the urban poor. However, the relatively low incidence of poverty in cities, combined with Latin America's high inequality, imply urban statistics are almost never representative of the urban poor. Concerning the differences between urban and rural poor, the need for differentiated strategies to tackle urban as opposed to rural poverty is implied, and, the first and most important differential is the greater integration of the urban poor into the market economy. Second, while urban areas are not systematically unequal than rural areas - it depends on the country, and, within countries, on the city - they are much more heterogeneous socio-economically, or with respect to economic activities and processes. Third, heterogeneity notwithstanding, Latin American cities tend to be highly segregated. As a result, social exclusion coexists with (relative) physical proximity to wealth, services and opportunities. This gives rise to negative externalities, or neighborhood effects that result in a lower ability to access jobs, lower earnings, and lower educational achievements. Fourth, social networks are less stable in urban areas, with relationships based more on the quality of reciprocal links between individuals and friends, than on familial obligations. Fifth, urban living also means much greater exposure to organized crime, drugs and gang violence. This is true for the population as a whole, but it has particularly dismal implications for the poor living in the slums of Latin America's large cities, where drug-traffic is now pervasive. Finally, another important characteristic of urban poverty has to do with overwhelmed, rather than absent services. The underlying hypothesis of this report is that, indeed, the causes of poverty, the nature of deprivation, and the policy levers to fight poverty are, to a large extent, site specific.
  • Publication
    Urbanization without Growth : A Not-So-Uncommon Phenomenon
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2000-08) Fay, Marianne
    To find out why African countries' experience with urbanization and sustained growth appeared to differ from that of other countries, the authors investigated the determinants of urbanization across countries over 40 years. Rather than studying individuals' decisions to migrate, they relied on macroeconomic data and cross-country comparisons. A central hypothesis of their study: that individuals move (with varying degrees of ease) in response to economic incentives and opportunities. If location incentives are distorted, so is growth. The authors find that urbanization levels are closely correlated with levels of income. But urbanization continues even during periods of negative growth, carried by its own momentum, largely a function of the level of urbanization. From that viewpoint, Africa's urbanization without growth is not a puzzle. Factors other than income that help predict differences in levels of urbanization across countries include: a) income structure; b) education; c) rural-urban wage differentials; d) ethnic tensions; and e) civil disturbances. In addition, the relationship between economic incentives and urbanization is weaker in countries with fewer civil or political liberties. Factors other than initial urbanization level that help explain the speed of urbanization include: 1) The sector from which income growth is derived; 2) ethnic tensions; 3) civil disturbances and democracy (these two slow the pace of urbanization if all else is constant); 4) rural-urban wage differentials, whether they represent an urban bias or simply lower productivity in agriculture relative to other sectors. The weak relationship that this study shows between urbanization and traditionally accepted migration factors suggests that in Africa economists are overlooking part of the urbanization story. The fact that the informal sector appears to provide a significant source of income for urban migrants, coupled with the overlap between rural and urban activities, may shed light on the nature of urbanization in Africa.
  • Publication
    Investing in infrastructure : What is Needed from 2000 to 2010?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2003-07) Fay, Marianne
    The authors estimate demand for infrastructure services over the first decade of the new millennium based on a model that relates demand for infrastructure with the structural change and growth in income the world is expected to undergo between now and 2010. It should be noted that predictions are based on estimated demand rather than on any absolute measure of "need" such as those developed in the Millenium Development Goals. The authors also provide estimates of associated investment and maintenance expenditures and predict total required resource flows to satisfy new demand while maintaining service for existing infrastructure.