Azevedo, João Pedro
Global Practice on Poverty, The World Bank
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Inequality and Shared Prosperity, Social Protection and Labor, Education
Global Practice on Poverty, The World Bank
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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, 2018-11) Azevedo, Joao Pedro ; van den Brink, Rogier J. E. ; Corral, Paul ; Avila, Montserrat ; Zhao, Hongxi ; Mostafavi, Mohammad-HadiBoosting convergence and shared prosperity in the European Union achieved renewed urgency after the global financial crisis of 2008. This paper assesses the role of agriculture and the Common Agricultural Program in achieving this. The paper sheds light on the relationship between poverty and agriculture as part of the process of structural transformation. It positions each member country on the path toward a successful structural transformation. The paper then evaluates at the regional level where the Common Agricultural Program funding tends to go, poverty-wise, within each country. This approach enables making more informed policy recommendations on the current state of the Common Agricultural Program funding, as well as evaluating the role of agriculture as a driver of shared prosperity. The analysis performed throughout the paper uses a combination of data sources at several spatial levels.
Simulating the Potential Impacts of COVID-19 School Closures on Schooling and Learning Outcomes: A Set of Global Estimates(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-06) Azevedo, Joao Pedro ; Hasan, Amer ; Goldemberg, Diana ; Iqbal, Syedah Aroob ; Geven, KoenSchool closures due to COVID-19 have left more than a billion students out of school. This paper presents the results of simulations considering three, five and seven months of school closure and different levels of mitigation effectiveness resulting in optimistic, intermediate and pessimistic global scenarios. Using data on 157 countries, the analysis finds that the global level of schooling and learning will fall. COVID-19 could result in a loss of between 0.3 and 0.9 years of schooling adjusted for quality, bringing down the effective years of basic schooling that students achieve during their lifetime from 7.9 years to between 7.0 and 7.6 years. Close to 7 million students from primary up to secondary education could drop out due to the income shock of the pandemic alone. Students from the current cohort could, on average, face a reduction of $355, $872, or $1,408 in yearly earnings. In present value terms, this amounts to between $6,472 and $25,680 dollars in lost earnings over a typical student's lifetime. Exclusion and inequality will likely be exacerbated if already marginalized and vulnerable groups, like girls, ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities, are more adversely affected by the school closures. Globally, a school shutdown of 5 months could generate learning losses that have a present value of $10 trillion. By this measure, the world could stand to lose as much as 16 percent of the investments that governments make in the basic education of this cohort of students. The world could thus face a substantial setback in achieving the goal of halving the percentage of learning poor and be unable to meet the goal by 2030 unless drastic remedial action is taken.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-10) Azevedo, Joao PedroCOVID-19-related school closures are pushing countries off track from achieving their learning goals. This paper builds on the concept of learning poverty and draws on axiomatic properties from social choice literature to propose and motivate a distribution-sensitive measures of learning poverty. Numerical, empirical, and practical reasons for the relevance and usefulness of these complementary inequality sensitive aggregations for simulating the effects of COVID-19 are presented. In a post-COVID-19 scenario of no remediation and low mitigation effectiveness for the effects of school closures, the simulations show that learning poverty increases from 53 to 63 percent. Most of this increase seems to occur in lower-middle-income and upper-middle-income countries, especially in East Asia and the Pacific, Latin America, and South Asia. The countries that had the highest levels of learning poverty before COVID-19 (predominantly in Africa and the low-income country group) might have the smallest absolute and relative increases in learning poverty, reflecting how great the learning crisis was in those countries before the pandemic. Measures of learning poverty and learning deprivation sensitive to changes in distribution, such as gap and severity measures, show differences in learning loss regional rankings. Africa stands to lose the most. Countries with higher inequality among the learning poor, as captured by the proposed learning poverty severity measure, would need far greater adaptability to respond to broader differences in student needs.
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, 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, 2020-12-01) Azevedo, Joao PedroThis brief summarizes the results of simulations estimating the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in learning poverty. Of 720 million primary school age children, 382 million are learning poor, either out of school or below the minimum proficiency level in reading. COVID-19 could boost that number by an additional 72 million to 454 million. In a post-COVID-19 scenario of no remediation and low mitigation effectiveness for the effects of school closures, simulations show learning poverty increasing from 53 percent of primary-school-age children to 63 percent.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-11-30) Munoz-Najar, Alberto ; Gilberto, Alison ; Hasan, Amer ; Cobo, Cristobal ; Azevedo, Joao Pedro ; Akmal, MaryamSchool closures during COVID-19 (coronavirus) led to an unprecedented global experiment in the delivery of remote learning. This report seeks to assess what lessons can be drawn from experiences of remote learning during COVID-19 in K-12 education, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries. It focuses on the period from March 2020 to October 2021 and addresses the following key questions: 1. Was remote learning during COVID-19 taken up and if so, was it effective That is, did children learn as much as they did during pre-pandemic, in-person learning 2. What lessons can governments derive from this wide-spread experience 3. How might policymakers use these lessons to reimagine learning as schools begin to reopen This report is part of a larger effort led by the World Bank to provide guidance and technical assistance to optimize country effectiveness in the design and execution of remote learning strategies. It has been developed in conjunction with Remote Learning During the Global School Lockdown: Multi-Country Lessons, a qualitative study conducted between May and November 2020 to understand the perceived effectiveness of remote and remedial learning solutions implemented across 17 countries.
Will Every Child Be Able to Read by 2030? Defining Learning Poverty and Mapping the Dimensions of the Challenge: Definición de pobreza de aprendizajes y un mapeo de la magnitud del desafío(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-03) Azevedo, Joao Pedro ; Goldemberg, Diana ; Montoya, Silvia ; Nayar, Reema ; Rogers, Halsey ; Saavedra, Jaime ; Stacy, Brian WilliamIn October 2019, the World Bank and UNESCO Institute for Statistics proposed a new metric, Learning Poverty, designed to spotlight low levels of learning and track progress toward ensuring that all children acquire foundational skills. This paper provides the technical background for that indicator, and for its main findings—first, that even before COVID-19, 53 percent of all children in low- and middle-income countries could not read with comprehension by age 10, and second, that at pre-COVID-19 trends, the Learning Poverty rate was on track to fall only to 44 percent by 2030, far short of the universal literacy envisioned under the Sustainable Development Goals. The paper contributes to the literature in four ways. First, it formally describes the new synthetic Learning Poverty metric, which combines the dimensions of learning with schooling and thus reflects the learning of all children, and it presents, for the first time, standard errors associated with the proposed measure. Second, it documents how this indicator is calculated at the country, regional, and global levels, and discusses the robustness associated with different aggregation approaches. Third, it documents historical rates of progress and compares them with the rate of progress that would be required for countries to halve Learning Poverty by 2030, as envisioned under the learning target announced by the World Bank in 2019. Fourth, it provides heterogeneity analysis by gender, region, and other variables, and documents learning poverty’s strong correlation with metrics of learning for other ages. These results show that the Learning Poverty indicator, together with improved measurement of learning, can be used as an evidence-based tool to promote progress toward all children reading by age 10—a prerequisite for achieving all the ambitious education aspirations included under Sustainable Development Goals 4.
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, 2013-04) Azevedo, Joao Pedro ; Inchauste, Gabriela ; Olivieri, Sergio ; Saavedra, Jaime ; Winkler, HernanDemographics, labor income, public transfers, or remittances: Which factor contributes the most to observed reductions in poverty? Using counterfactual simulations, this paper accounts for the contribution labor income has made to the observed changes in poverty over the past decade for a set of 16 countries that have experienced substantial declines in poverty. In contrast to methods that focus on aggregate summary statistics, the analysis generates entire counterfactual distributions that allow assessing the contributions of different factors to observed distributional changes. Decompositions across all possible paths are calculated so the estimates are not subject to path-dependence. The analysis shows that for most countries in the sample, labor income is the most important contributor to changes in poverty. In ten of the countries, labor income explains more than half of the change in moderate poverty; in another four, it accounts for more than 40 percent of the reduction in poverty. Although public and private transfers were relatively more important in explaining the reduction in extreme poverty, more and better-paying jobs were the key factors behind poverty reduction over the past decade.