Global Practice on Water, The World Bank
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Impact evaluation, Applied microeconomics
Global Practice on Water, The World Bank
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Last updated June 26, 2023
George Joseph is a Senior Economist with the Water Global Practice of the World Bank, Washington, DC. His research interests are centered on development economics and behavioral and applied microeconomics. He received his PhD in economics from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and an MA in economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 8 of 8
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-10) Joseph, George ; Wodon, QuentinConcerns have been raised about the impact of rising food prices worldwide on the poor. To assess the (short term) impact of rising food prices in any particular country it is necessary to look at both the impact on food producers (who benefit from an increase in prices) and food consumers (who loose out when the price increases), with a focus on poor producers and consumers. In Mali the impact of a change in the price of rice is not ambiguous because about half of the rice consumed in the country is imported, so that the negative impact for consumers is much larger than the positive impact for producers. By contrast, for millet and sorghum, as well as corn, the impact is more ambiguous since much of the consumption is locally produced. Using a recent and comprehensive household survey, this paper provides an assessment of the potential impact of higher food prices on the poor in Mali using both simple statistical analysis and non-parametric methods. The paper finds that rising food prices for rice, millet and sorghum, corn, as well as wheat and bread could together lead to a substantial increase in poverty, with the increase in the price of rice having by far the largest negative impact.
Potential Impact of Higher Food Prices on Poverty : Summary Estimates for a Dozen West and Central African Countries(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-10) Wodon, Quentin ; Tsimpo, Clarence ; Backiny-Yetna, Prospere ; Joseph, George ; Adoho, Franck ; Coulombe, HaroldConcerns have been raised about the impact of rising food prices worldwide on the poor. To assess the impact of rising food prices in any particular country it is necessary to look at both the impact on food producers who are poor or near-poor and could benefit from an increase in prices and food consumers who are poor or near-poor and would loose out when the price increases. In most West and Central African countries, the sign (positive or negative) of the impact is not ambiguous because a substantial share of food consumption is imported, so that the negative impact for consumers is larger than the positive impact for net sellers of locally produced foods. Yet even if the sign of the impact is clear, its magnitude is not. Using a set of recent and comprehensive household surveys, this paper summarizes findings from an assessment of the potential impact of higher food prices on the poor in a dozen countries. Rising food prices for rice, wheat, maize, and other cereals as well as for milk, sugar and vegetable oils could lead to a substantial increase in poverty in many of the countries. At the same time, the data suggest that the magnitude of the increase in poverty between different countries is likely to be different. Finally, the data suggest that a large share of the increase in poverty will consist of deeper levels of poverty among households who are already poor, even if there will also be a larger number of poor households in the various countries.
Publication(Taylor and Francis, 2020-07-16) Haque, Sabrina ; Yanez-Pagans, Monica ; Arias-Granada, Yurani ; Joseph, GeorgeSlum populations are commonly characterized to have poorly developed water and sanitation systems and speculated to access services through informal channels. However, there are limited representative profiles of water and sanitation services in slums, making it difficult to prioritize interventions that will make services safer for residents. This cross-sectional study examines quality and provision of access to water and sanitation services in government slums across Dhaka, Bangladesh. Access is overall high but is subject to quality issues related to safety, reliability, and liability. Services are often operated by informal middlemen at various stages of provision.
Beyond Money: Does Migration Experience Transfer Gender Norms? Empirical Evidence from Kerala, India(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-03-14) Joseph, George ; Wang, Qiao ; Chellaraj, Gnanaraj ; Tas, Emcet Oktay ; Andres, Luis Alberto ; Javaid, Syed Usman ; Rajan, IrudayaThis paper examines the impact of return migration from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf on the transfer of gender norms to the Indian state of Kerala. Migration to countries in the Middle East has led to significant remittance flows and economic prosperity, although the effects on social norms and attitudes remain largely unexplored. The paper finds that returning migrants from Saudi Arabia tend to exhibit conservative values regarding gender-based violence and extreme attitudes pertaining to the perpetration of physical violence against women. Compared with those who have no migration experience, the attitudes of returning migrants from Saudi Arabia toward gender-based violence were more conservative by three standard deviations, while the attitudes of those returning from the Gulf were less conservative by 0.5 standard deviation. Similarly, compared with those with no migration experience, returning migrants from Saudi Arabia were more conservative by 2.6 standard deviations regarding extreme attitudes related to gender norms, such as sexual assault, while those returning from the Gulf were less conservative by 0.7 standard deviation. These results show that migration experience can have a substantial impact on the gender attitudes of returning migrants, with potential implications for migration and gender policies in Kerala and for countries that send a large share of temporary migrants overseas for work.
Measuring Deprivations in the Slums of Bangladesh: Implications for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals(Taylor and Francis, 2019-06-10) Patel, Amit ; Joseph, George ; Shrestha, Anne ; Foint, YaeliApproximately 880 million people, or one in four urban residents, live in slums today. While this enumeration is useful, it is not a trivial exercise to estimate slum population for a city, let alone globally, especially when the definition of a slum remains a debatable construct. To demonstrate this point empirically, we utilize a household survey from nine cities in Bangladesh and provide three different estimates of slum population based on three distinct definitions. We use a contextual definition that was adapted by the Government of Bangladesh, and two universal definitions that were adapted by the international development community. Two of the universal definitions were proposed to track progress on the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals, respectively. By applying these different definitions to the same data, we found that the Bangladeshi Government’s definition provides slum population estimates that are far lower compared to those when we apply the definitions provided by the international development community. Such underestimation could misguide policymakers who want to know the extent of the policy problem, influence what kind of policy solutions will be pursued, and directly affect how these solutions will be targeted to respective populations.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020-03-02) Solotaroff, Jennifer L. ; Joseph, George ; Kuriakose, Anne ; Sethi, JayatiSri Lanka has shown remarkable persistence in low female labor force participation rates—at 36 percent in the past two years, compared with 75 percent for same-aged men—despite overall economic growth and poverty reduction over the past decade. The trend stands in contrast to the country’s achievements in human capital development that favor women, such as high levels of female education and low total fertility rates, as well as its status as a lower-middle-income country. This study intends to better understand the puzzle of women’s poor labor market outcomes in Sri Lanka. Using nationally representative secondary survey data—as well as primary qualitative and quantitative research—it tests three hypotheses that would explain gender gaps in labor market outcomes: (1) household roles and responsibilities, which fall disproportionately on women, and the associated sociophysical constraints on women’s mobility; (2) a human capital mismatch, whereby women are not acquiring the proper skills demanded by job markets; and (3) gender discrimination in job search, hiring, and promotion processes. Further, the analysis provides a comparison of women’s experience of the labor market between the years leading up to the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war (2006–09) and the years following the civil war (2010–15). The study recommends priority areas for addressing the multiple supply- and demand-side factors to improve women’s labor force participation rates and reduce other gender gaps in labor market outcomes. It also offers specific recommendations for improving women’s participation in the five private sector industries covered by the primary research: commercial agriculture, garments, tourism, information and communications technology, and tea estate work. The findings are intended to influence policy makers, educators, and employment program practitioners with a stake in helping Sri Lanka achieve its vision of inclusive and sustainable job creation and economic growth. The study also aims to contribute to the work of research institutions and civil society in identifying the most effective means of engaging more women—and their untapped potential for labor, innovation, and productivity—in Sri Lanka’s future.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-04) Andres, Luis A. ; Dasgupta, Basab ; Joseph, George ; Abraham, Vinoj ; Correia, MariaThis paper uses successive rounds of National Sample Survey Organization data from 1993-94 to 2011-12, and draws from census data. This paper (i) provides a description of nearly two decades of patterns and trends in female labor force participation in India; (ii) estimates the extent of the recent decline in female labor force participation; and (iii) examines and assesses the contribution of various demographic and socioeconomic factors in explaining the female labor force participation decision and the recent the drop. The analysis finds that female labor force participation dropped by 19.6 million women from 2004–05 to 2011–12. Participation declined by 11.4 percent, from 42.6 to 31.2 percent during 1993–94 to 2011–12. Approximately 53 percent of this drop occurred in rural India, among those ages 15 to 24 years. Factors such as educational attainment, socioeconomic status, and household composition largely contributed to the drop, although their effects were more pronounced in rural areas. Specifically, the analysis finds a U-shaped relationship between levels of educational attainment and female labor force participation. The decomposition of the contribution of these various determinants to the female labor force participation decision suggests that stability in family income, as indicated by the increasing share of regular wage earners and declining share of casual labor in the composition of family labor supply, has led female family members to choose dropping out of, rather than joining, the labor force. The findings of this paper suggest that conventional approaches to increasing female labor force participation (such as education and skills and legal provisions) will be insufficient. Policies should center on promoting the acceptability of female employment and investing in growing economic sectors that are more attractive for female employment.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-08) Arias-Granada, Yurani ; Haque, Sabrina S. ; Joseph, George ; Yanez-Pagans, MonicaUrban slum residents often have worse health outcomes compared with other urbanites and even their rural counterparts. This suggests that slum residents do not always benefit from the "urban advantage" of enjoying better access to health-promoting services. Limited access to water and sanitation services in slums could contribute to poor health of slum residents. In Bangladesh, these services generally are not delivered through formal utilities, but rather through well-functioning informal markets that are operated by middlemen and local providers. This paper analyzes a household survey to examine living conditions and quality of access to water and sanitation services in small-, medium-, and large-sized slums across Dhaka, Bangladesh. The analysis finds that access to water and sanitation services is overall quite high, but these services are subject to important quality issues related to safety, reliability, and liability. Although water access is nearly universal, water services are often interrupted or sometimes inaccessible. Sanitation is commonly shared, with the average ratio being 16 households to one facility. When considering fecal sludge management, the study finds that only 2 percent of these households have access to the Joint Monitoring Programme's conceptualization of "safely managed sanitation." The paper also finds strong evidence that water and sanitation services are operated by middlemen at various stages of service provision such as installation, management, and payment collection. The paper provides a snapshot of the differential quality in access to these services based on the monetary welfare level of the household. The snapshot shows that access to water and sanitation services is highly correlated to per capita household consumption levels, although quality remains low overall within slums. Overall, it is likely that the informality of water and sanitation services may exacerbate social and environmental risk factors for poor health and well-being.