Lederman, Daniel

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International trade, Labor markets, Growth, Private Sector Development, Public Sector and Governance, Financial Sector
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Last updated: February 28, 2024
In January 2018 Daniel Lederman became Lead Economist and Deputy Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa Region of the World Bank Group. Previously he served as Deputy Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean, Lead Trade Economist in the World Bank's International Trade Department (PRMTR), Senior Economist in the Development Research Group (DECRG), and Senior Economist and Economist in the Office of the Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean. Before joining the World Bank in 1995, he worked for the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. An economist and political scientist by training, Mr. Lederman has published numerous books and articles on a broad set of issues related to economic development, including financial crises, crime, political economy of economic reforms, economic growth, innovation, international trade and labor markets.
Citations 94 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 107
  • Publication
    Stages of Diversification Redux
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-02-22) Assem, Hoda; Gatti, Roberta; Lederman, Daniel
    The existing literature on development and economic diversification finds an inverted-U function between these two variables, whereby economies diversify as they grow up to a point, after which they start specializing. This paper contributes to this literature by investigating the stages of diversification over the course of development during the past 57 years. The paper emphasizes the trajectories of resource-rich and resource-poor countries, an issue that has not been covered by the extant literature. In addition, the paper studies the stages of diversification across three dimensions, namely employment, value-added, and exports. Additionally, it examines the relationship for services. Non-parametric estimations suggest a U-shaped curve between measures of economic concentration and per capita income levels, which is in line with existing evidence. However, these patterns are mainly driven by between-country rather than within-country variation, a finding that had been ignored in the existing literature. Diversification patterns also differ across resource-rich and resource-poor countries: Employment and value added in resource-rich countries are on average more concentrated at low levels of development while in resource poor countries, they are more concentrated at high levels of development. In contrast, at all levels of development, exports are more concentrated in resource-rich countries.
  • Publication
    MENA Economic Update, October 2023 - Balancing Act: Jobs and Wages in the Middle East and North Africa When Crises Hit
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-10-05) Elmallakh, Nelly; Gatti, Roberta; Torres, Jesica; Lederman, Daniel; Lotfi, Rana; Suvanov, Ilias; Silva, Joana
    Covid-19. The Russian invasion of Ukraine. Commodity price volatility. The rise of global inflation and interest rates. Currency depreciations among indebted middle-income economies. And now, natural disasters. As a sequence of events, the consequences can be both tragic and long-lasting. After analyzing the macroeconomic prospects of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region, this edition of the regional Economic Update assesses the human toll of macroeconomic shocks in terms of lost jobs and deteriorating livelihoods of the people of MENA. Growth is forecast to decelerate in 2023 after experiencing an oil-price induced growth spurt in 2022 among the high-income oil exporters of the region. Yet as the region continues to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 shock and navigates the heightened volatility in its terms of trade, the region’s labor force is contending with the ramifications for their livelihoods of the inflationary pressures associated with currency fluctuations in some countries. The authors estimate that the macroeconomic shocks of 2020-22 led to an additional 5.1 million individuals becoming unemployed in MENA. Will these shocks permanently scar the hard-working people of MENA? The report answers this question by highlighting the trade-offs facing labor markets when facing macroeconomic shocks. A critical trade-off pertains to the loss of jobs versus decreases in real incomes, neither of which is desirable. The report advocates for maintaining the flexibility of real wages and discusses policy options to support the most vulnerable.
  • Publication
    Plant Closings and the Labor Market Outcomes of Displaced Workers: Evidence from Mexico
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-08-08) Arias, Francisco; Lederman, Daniel
    This paper investigates the impacts of job displacement on subsequent labor market outcomes, focusing on differentiated effects by educational groups and gender. The findings show that job separations caused by plant closings result in sizable and long-lasting wage reductions, with an average decline of −7.5 percent over a nine-year period relative to workers who did not experience job losses. A stronger effect is estimated for highly educated workers than for low educated workers, with initial effects being 18.4 and 9 percent wage drops, respectively. For working hours, the effect on low educated workers is double the effect on highly educated workers, with 3.0 and 1.5 additional hours per week, respectively. Using the rotating panel of the survey, difference in differences coefficients are estimated, removing time-invariant individual heterogeneity. Compared to ordinary least squares, the difference in differences estimates reduce the magnitude of the average impacts of plant closing on wages, from −7.5 to −4.7 percent, and on working hours from 1.4 to 0.53 additional hours. These results suggest that the ordinary least squares estimates are upwardly biased due to omitted individual worker heterogeneity. The paper discusses another potential remaining source of endogeneity concerning the quality of the match between employers and workers.
  • Publication
    Altered Destinies: The Long-Term Effects of Rising Prices and Food Insecurity in the Middle East and North Africa
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2023-04-06) Gatti, Roberta; Lederman, Daniel; Islam, Asif M.; Andree, Bo, Pieter Johannes; Lotfi, Rana; Mousa, Mennatallah Emam; Bennett, Federico; Assem, Hoda
    Growth is forecasted to slow down for the Middle East and North Africa region. The war in Ukraine in 2022 exacerbated inflationary pressures as the world recovered from the COVID 19 pandemic induced recession. The response by central banks to raise rates to curb inflation is slowing economic activity, while rising food prices are making it difficult for families to put meals on the table. Inflation, when it stems from food prices, hits the poor harder than the rich, thus compounding food insecurity in MENA that had been rising over decades. The immediate effects of food insecurity can be a devastating loss of life, but even temporary increases in food prices can cause long-term irreversible damages, especially to children. The rise in food prices due to the war in Ukraine may have altered the destinies of hundreds of thousands of children in the region, setting them on paths to limited prosperity. Food insecurity imposes challenges to a region where the state of child nutrition and health were inadequate before the shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic. The report discusses policy options and highlights the need for data to guide effective decision making.
  • Publication
    A New State of Mind: Greater Transparency and Accountability in the Middle East and North Africa
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2022-10-05) Belhaj, Ferid; Gatti, Roberta; Lederman, Daniel; Sergenti, Ernest John; Assem, Hoda; Lotfi, Rana; Mousa, Mennatallah Emam; Assem, Hoda
    The MENA region is facing important vulnerabilities, which the current crises—first the pandemic, then the war in Ukraine—have exacerbated. Prices of food and energy are higher, hurting the most vulnerable, and rising interest rates from the global tightening of monetary policy are making debt service more burdensome. Part I explores some of the resulting vulnerabilities for MENA. MENA countries are facing diverging paths for future growth. Oil Exporters have seen windfall increases in state revenues from the rise in hydrocarbon prices, while oil importers face heightened stress and risk—from higher import bills, especially for food and energy, and the depreciation of local currencies in some countries. Part II of this report argues that poor governance, and, in particular, the lack of government transparency and accountability, is at the root of the region’s development failings—including low growth, exclusion of the most disadvantaged and women, and overuse of such precious natural resources as land and water.
  • Publication
    Reality Check: Forecasting Growth in the Middle East and North Africa in Times of Uncertainty
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-04-11) Gatti, Roberta; Lederman, Daniel; Fan, Rachel Yuting; Lotfi, Rana; Mousa, Mennatallah Emam; Nguyen, Ha
    The Middle East and North Africa economies face an uncertain recovery. The war in Ukraine presents significant challenges to the global economy and the MENA region. Inflationary pressures brought about by the pandemic are likely to be further exacerbated by the conflict. The potential for rising food prices is even higher, which is likely to hurt the wallets of the poor and vulnerable in the region. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cast a shadow. As the latest variant sweeps over the region, countries grapple with a host of problems depending on initial conditions and policy priorities. The region, like the rest of the world, is not out of the woods yet. Vaccinations remain the effective path out of the pandemic, leading to lower hospitalizations and death rates. Testing helps curb the spread. During times of uncertainty, it is important to not be overconfident about the region’s growth prospects. Growth forecasts serve as a significant signpost for policymakers to chart a path forward. Over the last decade, growth forecasts in the MENA region have often been inaccurate and overly optimistic, which can lead to economic contractions down the road due to ebullient borrowing. There is considerable room for the region to improve its forecasts that are largely hindered by opaque data systems, growth volatility and conflict. The MENA region lags considerably in the timely production of credible statistics. A key finding of the report is that the best way to improve forecasters is to provide forecasters with as much good quality information as possible.
  • Publication
    Calamities, Debt, and Growth in Developing Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-04) Yuting Fan, Rachel; Lederman, Daniel; Nguyen, Ha; Rojas, Claudio J.
    Public debt in developing economies rose at a fast clip during 2020–21, at least partly due to the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic. Nobel laureate Paul Krugman opined in early 2021 that “fighting covid is like fighting a war.” This paper argues that the Covid-19 pandemic shares many traits with natural disasters, except for the global nature of the pandemic shock. This paper empirically examines trends in debt and economic growth around the onset of three types of calamities, namely natural disasters, armed conflicts, and external-debt distress in developing countries. The estimations provide quantitative estimates of differences in growth and debt trends in economies suffering episodes of calamities relative to the trends observed in economies not experiencing calamities. The paper finds that debt and growth evolve quite differently depending on the type of calamity. The evidence indicates that public debt and output growth tend to rise faster after natural disasters than in the counterfactual scenario without disasters, thus illustrating how debt-financed fiscal expansions can help economic reconstruction. The findings are different for episodes of debt distress defined as periods of debt restructuring, however. Economies experiencing debt distress are associated with growth trends that are on average below the growth rates of unaffected economies prior to and after the beginning of an episode of debt restructuring.
  • Publication
    The Upside of Digital for the Middle East and North Africa: How Digital Technology Adoption Can Accelerate Growth and Create Jobs
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-03-16) Cusolito, Ana Paula; Lederman, Daniel
    The argument that digitalization fosters economic activity has been strengthened by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Because digital technologies are general-purpose technologies that are usable across a wide variety of economic activities, the gains from achieving universal coverage of digital services are likely to be large and shared throughout each economy. However, the Middle East and North Africa region suffers from a “digital paradox”: the region’s population uses social media more than expected for its level of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita but uses the internet or other digital tools to make payments less than expected. The Upside of Digital for the Middle East and North Africa: How Digital Technology Adoption Can Accelerate Growth and Create Jobs presents evidence that the socioeconomic gains of digitalizing the economies of the region are huge: GDP per capita could rise by more than 40 percent; manufacturing revenue per unit of factors of production could increase by 37 percent; employment in manufacturing could rise by 7 percent; tourist arrivals could rise by 70 percent, creating jobs in the hospitality sector; long-term unemployment rates could fall to negligible levels; and female labor force participation could double to more than 40 percent. To reap these gains, universal access to digital services is crucial, as is their widespread use for economic purposes. The book explores how fast the region could approach universal coverage, whether targeting the rollout of digital infrastructure services makes a difference, and what is needed to increase the use of digital payment tools. The authors find that targeting underserved populations and areas can accelerate the achievement of universal access, while fostering competition and improving the functioning of financial and telecommunications sectors can encourage the adoption of digital technologies. In addition, building societal trust in the government and in related institutions such as banks and financial services is critical for fostering the increased use of digital payment tools.
  • Publication
    Overconfident: How Economic and Health Fault Lines Left the Middle East and North Africa Ill-Prepared to Face COVID-19
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-10-07) Gatti, Roberta; Lederman, Daniel; Nguyen, Ha; Sautmann, Anja
    This report examines the region’s economic prospects in 2021, forecasting that the recovery will be both tenuous and uneven as per capita GDP level stays below pre-pandemic levels. COVID-19 was a stress-test for the region’s public health systems, which were already overwhelmed even before the pandemic. Indeed, a decade of lackluster economic reforms left a legacy of large public sectors and high public debt that effectively crowded out investments in social services such as public health. This edition points out that the region’s health systems were not only ill-prepared for the pandemic, but suffered from over-confidence, as authorities painted an overly optimistic picture in self-assessments of health system preparedness. Going forward, governments must improve data transparency for public health and undertake reforms to remedy historical underinvestment in public health systems.
  • Publication
    Living with Debt: How Institutions Can Chart a Path to Recovery in Middle East and North Africa
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-04-02) Gatti, Roberta; Lederman, Daniel; Fan, Rachel Yuting; Islam, Asif M.; Rojas, Claudio J.
    Economies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) remain in crisis. The World Bank estimates the regional output to have contracted 3.8 percent in 2020 and expects it to rebound by only 2.2 percent in 2021. The regional output is expected to be 7.2% below where it would be in 2021 without the pandemic. The region’s average GDP per capita is estimated to have declined 5.3 percent in 2020 and expected to rebound by only 0.6 percent in 2021. The number of poor people in the region—those making less than the $5.50 per day poverty line—is expected to increase from 176 million in 2019 to a conservative estimate of 192 million people by the end of 2021. The region’s public debt is expected to rise significantly. Most notably, MENA oil importers have the highest levels of debt. As the region copes with the economic consequences of the pandemic, most countries will face tensions between short-term needs and the long-term risks of debt-financed government spending. Countries must make tough choices along the road to recovery. During the pandemic, fiscal spending is arguably best used to support vulnerable families and invest in public health—such as disease surveillance, data transparency, and vaccinations. Public health investment as a short-term response to the pandemic could also bring long-term gains. As the pandemic subsides, there are good reasons to be cautious with additional fiscal stimulus, especially for countries with high debt, poor governance, and lack of transparency. After the pandemic, economic growth remains the most sustainable way to reduce the debt-GDP ratio, and this requires much-needed deep structural reforms. Strong institutions can chart a path to recovery. Investing in testing, disease surveillance, and data transparency can reduce the economic costs of the pandemic. As the pandemic subsides, effective and transparent pandemic surveillance would help boost demand from domestic and foreign sources. Good governance in public investment decisions can raise the effectiveness of public investment. Public debt transparency can help reduce borrowing costs. Institutional reforms can be implemented with limited fiscal costs and hold the promise of boosting long-run growth.