Azevedo, João Pedro
Global Practice on Poverty, The World Bank
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Fields of Specialization
Inequality and Shared Prosperity, Social Protection and Labor, Education
Global Practice on Poverty, The World Bank
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated July 19, 2023
João Pedro Azevedo is a Lead Economist at the World Bank in Washington. He currently works for the Poverty and Equity Global Practice in the European and Central Asia region, focusing on Central Asia and Turkey and leading the region's Statistics Team. João Pedro also leads the Global Solution Group on Welfare Measurement and Statistical Capacity for Results from the Poverty and Equity Global Practice. João Pedro has focused much of his work on helping developing countries improve their systems for evidence-based decision making. He worked in Colombia, Brazil and the Dominican Republic for five years, and led important regional public efforts such as the Latin American & Caribbean Stats Team and the LAC Monitoring and Evaluation Network. João Pedro brings solid and varied experience in applied econometrics to the fields of poverty and inequality. Before joining the Bank, João Pedro served as the superintendent of monitoring and evaluation at the Secretary of Finance for the State of Rio de Janeiro, as well as a research fellow at the Institute of Applied Economic Research from the Brazilian Ministry of Planning. He is a former chairman of the Latin American & Caribbean Network on Inequality and Poverty and holds a PhD in Economics.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 28
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-03) Azevedo, João Pedro ; Dávalos, María Eugenia ; Diaz-Bonilla, Carolina ; Atuesta, Bernardo ; Castañeda, Raul AndresHousehold income inequality has declined in Latin America in the past decades, contributing significantly to poverty reduction in the region. Although available evidence shows that changes in the labor income are among the main factors behind these inequality trends, few studies have analyzed more closely the labor market dynamics that have led to a decline in total income inequality in some countries, but also to an increase in others. Using household survey data for a sample of 15 countries in Latin America from 1995 to 2010, this paper uses an extension of the Juhn-Murphy-Pierce methodology to decompose changes in labor income inequality (hourly wages) into a quantity effect (capturing changes in the distribution of workers' skills), price effect (reflecting returns to skills), and unobservables effect (other components, within skill groups, affecting labor income). The results show that falling returns to skills for both education and experience is, on average, driving the decline in labor income inequality in Latin America. The quantity effect, in turn, has contributed little to inequality reduction, mostly attributable to a larger dispersion in years of experience, possibly linked to the region's demographic transition and to significant increases in female labor force participation. Additional findings show that wage inequality, still high in the region, is coupled with inequality in terms of hours worked. The paper complements the existing literature by presenting separate results for males and females, as well as formal and informal sector workers as an attempt to control for secular shifts in these characteristics.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-03) Newman, John L. ; Azevedo, João PedroReaching agreement on a reasonable performance target is a challenge, with costs associated with getting it wrong. Attention in the literature has focused on the potential negative effects of gaming or of creaming. However, even if there is no gaming or creaming taking place, there can still be costs associated with setting a level of the performance target that is either too low or too high. On the one hand, if the negotiated performance target is too low, there is a strong risk that the target would be met without any change in behavior or performance from what would have been realized without a performance management system. In that case, there would be no benefit -- only the cost of covering the administrative costs associated with developing the monitoring and management systems. On the other hand, if the negotiated performance target is too high, there could also be significant costs. The exact nature of the costs depends on which one of two unattractive options the principal chooses to follow once it becomes apparent that the performance targets were set unrealistically high. If the principal chooses simply to waive any possible repercussions for the agents for not meeting the performance targets, this can undermine the credibility of the system. If the principal insists on holding agents to meeting the performance targets -- no matter how unrealistic they were -- this can breed resentment and adversely affect future productivity. This paper considers some approaches to target setting that have been used in the literature and proposes an approach based on the use of quantile regressions to construct a Characteristic Adjusted Performance distribution of performance to guide the selection of targets. The paper then presents two concrete examples of applications of this approach related to the setting of targets on School Test Scores and Improvement in Homicide rates in Police Districts in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-05) Azevedo, João PedroIn the mid-2000s, poverty measurement in Colombia was at a standstill. A dated poverty measurement methodology was clashing with improvements in the national household survey system. As a result, official poverty rates showed volatile trends, and a weak communication strategy produced an unconvincing storyline, which further resulted in the rapid deterioration of indicator credibility. This happened during a period of high and sustained growth that also included a number of poverty reduction interventions, such as the flagship program familias en accion and the unidos strategy. The public debate on poverty lost focus and moved from substantial policy discussions to technical measurement methods.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-11) Inchauste, Gabriela ; Azevedo, João Pedro ; Olivieri, Sergio ; Saavedra, Jaime ; Winkler, HernanImprovement in labor market conditions has been the main explanation behind many of the poverty success stories observed in the last decade, that is the primary conclusion of an analysis of changes in poverty by income source. Changes in labor earnings were the largest contributor to poverty reduction for a sample of 16 countries where poverty increased substantially. In 10 of these countries, labor income explained more than half of the change in poverty, and in another 4 countries, it accounted for more than 40 percent of the reduction in poverty. A declining dependency rate accounts for over a fifth of the reduction in poverty in 10 out of 16 countries, while transfers and other non-earned incomes account for more than a quarter of the reduction in poverty in 9 of these countries. A further decomposition of the contribution of labor income to poverty reduction in Bangladesh, Peru, and Thailand found that changes in individual characteristics (education, work experience, and region of residence) were important, but that overall, increases in real earnings among the poor matter the most.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-12) Azevedo, Joao Pedro ; Inchauste, Gabriela ; Sanfelice, VivianeOver the past decade, 12 of 14 Latin American countries have experienced a reduction in inequality. Based on a series of counterfactual simulations, the observed changes in inequality are decomposed in order to identify the main determinants of inequality. In contrast to methods that focus on aggregate summary statistics, the method adopted in this paper generates counterfactual distributions, so that the analysis can account for changes related to demographics, occupation, labor earnings and transfers, pensions, and other nonlabor income sources. The results show that for the majority of countries in the sample, the most important contributor to the observed decline in inequality has been the relatively strong growth in labor earnings at the bottom of the income distribution. In particular, most of the reduction in inequality can be attributed to an increase in earnings per hour for the bottom of the income distribution. The paper also contributes to the literature on inequality in Latin America by providing the Shapley-Shorrocks value of this decomposition.
Teenage Pregnancy and Opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean : On Teenage Fertility Decisions, Poverty and Economic Achievement(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012) Azevedo, Joao Pedro ; Favara, Marta ; Haddock, Sarah E. ; Lopez-Calva, Luis F. ; Muller, Miriam ; Perova, ElizavetaThe pregnancy project sought to expose the existence, and challenge the validity, of stereotypes about Hispanic women. The charade explored the underlying motivations of the many who responded with a wide range of reactions. The specific objectives of this regional study are: to establish a thorough description of the magnitude of the issue and its potential implications for social advancement; to advance the understanding of the risk factors, motivations and impacts at the household level-as a determinant of poverty and a cause of intra-and intergenerational poverty traps; to illuminate the coping mechanisms and their individual and social implications; to highlight the gender-related issues that have historically provoked asymmetric costs to boys and girls; and to provide elements that support specific policies on this matter. In the last decade, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have been moving in the right direction and the region has experienced important gains in gender equality of endowments (assets) and economic opportunities. In most LAC countries, girls have been achieving gender parity in primary school enrollment and even outperforming boys at the secondary and tertiary level. The present report reviews the factors associated with teenage pregnancy and early childbearing and builds a framework to explore these issues systematically, towards the design of effective policy interventions in LAC. Teen pregnancy and early childbearing remain a challenge in the region, particularly given the association of these phenomena with poverty and lack of opportunities, and the concern that it may prevent women from taking full advantage of their human development assets and opportunities. The main message of the report is that poverty and lack of opportunities are key factors associated to early childbearing.
Pathways to the Middle Class in Turkey : How Have Reducing Poverty and Boosting Shared Prosperity Helped?(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-04) Azevedo, Joao Pedro ; Atamanov, AzizTurkey's poverty reduction performance in the 2000s has been remarkably consistent. Extreme and moderate poverty have fallen considerably since 2003. Between 2002 and 2011, extreme poverty fell from 13 percent to 5 percent, while moderate poverty halved from 44 percent to 22 percent (respectively, defined using the World Bank's Europe and Central Asia regional poverty lines of 2.5 and 5 USD/PPP). Most of this poverty reduction (89 percent) has been driven by growth, a performance consistent with most countries in Europe and Central Asia. This is substantially different form the recent performance of other regions, such as Latin America, where redistribution contributed to poverty reduction almost four times more than in Turkey. Turkey has also achieved sustained consumption growth of the bottom 40 percent of the population, even during the years of the world recession. Turkey's performance in poverty reduction and increased shared prosperity has been complemented by the systematic expansion of the middle class by 20 percentage points. This paper analyzes the main drivers of poverty reduction, shared prosperity, and changes in inequality in Turkey from 2002 to 2011. The analysis shows that labor markets, demographics, pensions, and social assistance have played a critical role in this process. It further explores some of the mechanisms that have facilitated these changes.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-05) Azevedo, Joao Pedro ; Lopez-Calva, Luis F. ; Perova, ElizavetaTeenage pregnancy has been a cause of concern for policy makers because it is associated with a complex and often adverse social context for women. It is seen as the cause of lower social and economic achievement for mothers and their children, and as the potential determinant of inter-generational poverty traps. However, the question of whether pregnancy -- and the subsequent rearing of a child -- is actually the trigger of poverty, higher dependence on social welfare and/ or other undesirable social and economic consequences has not been studied in developing countries with enough rigor to establish a causal relation. This paper follows a methodology previously applied in the United States, using Mexican data from the National Survey of Demographic Dynamics, to exploit information about miscarriages as an instrument to identify the long-term consequences of early child bearing. Thus, the paper takes the advantage of a natural experiment: it compares the outcomes of women who became pregnant in adolescence, and gave birth, to outcomes of women who became pregnant in adolescence and miscarried. This approach only allows for estimating the costs of adolescent childbearing for teenagers in a risk group, that is, teenagers who are likely to experience a pregnancy. The results are consistent with findings in the United States, suggesting that, contrary to popular thinking, adolescent childbearing does not hamper significantly the lifelong opportunities of the young mothers. Actually, women who gave birth during their adolescence have on average 0.34 more years of education, and are 21 percentage points more likely to be employed, compared with their counterparts who miscarried. The results also suggest, however, greater dependence on social welfare among women who gave birth during adolescence: their social assistance income is 36 percent higher, and they are more likely to participate in social programs, especially the conditional cash transfer program Oportunidades.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-03) Azevedo, João Pedro ; Newman, John L. ; Pungiluppi, JulianaTo benchmark is to compare performance against a standard. As part of an effort to improve the effectiveness of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) in the policy cycle, benchmarking can be useful in three ways. First, benchmarking can help place an outcome in the next context. Was the achievement good, bad, or indifferent? Second, benchmarking can help assess the reasonableness of targets that may be set. Third, benchmarking can help identify specific regions or subgroups that are exceptionally good or poor results hint at what factors drive performance, it can be hard to extract information about potential determinants. Therefore, the process of analyzing performance at the extremes can make it easier to extract information and to introduce more feedback into the policy cycle.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-06) Azevedo, Joao Pedro ; David, Antonio C. ; Rodrigues Bastos, Fabiano ; Pineda, EmilioThe paper combines state-level fiscal data with household survey data to assess the links between sub-national fiscal policy and income inequality in Brazil over the period 1995-2011. The results indicate that a tighter fiscal stance at the sub-national level is not associated with a deterioration in inequality measures. This finding contrasts with the conclusions of several papers in the burgeoning literature on the effects of fiscal consolidation on inequality using national data for OECD economies. In addition, the authors find that a tighter stance is typically positively associated with a measure of "shared prosperity". Hence, the results caution against extrapolating policy implications of the literature focusing on advanced economies to other settings.