Roberts, Mark

Urban, Resilience and Land Global Practice, The World Bank
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Urban economics, Urban development, Spatial economics, Regional development
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Urban, Resilience and Land Global Practice, The World Bank
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Mark Roberts is a senior urban economist with the Urban, Resilience and Land Global Practice of the World Bank, where his work currently focuses on the East Asia and Pacific region. Prior to joining the World Bank, Mark was a lecturer in spatial economics at the University of Cambridge and a fellow in economics at Murray Edwards College, a member college of the University of Cambridge. Mark has published widely in leading peer-reviewed journals on the topic of spatial economic development and is a former coeditor of the journal Spatial Economic Analysis. He is coauthor of the World Bank’s South Asia Region Flagship Report, Leveraging Urbanization in South Asia, and its Latin America and Caribbean Flagship Report, Raising the Bar for Productive Cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. He has also worked on both the Europe and Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa regions, and acts as an advisor to Bank teams working on the analysis of processes of urban and spatial development. A native of the United Kingdom, Mark holds a PhD in land economy and an MA in economics from the University of Cambridge as well as an MS in economics from Warwick University.
Citations 6 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
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    Tracking Economic Activity in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis Using Nighttime Lights: The Case of Morocco
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-02) Roberts, Mark
    Over the past decade, nighttime lights have become a widely used proxy for measuring economic activity. This paper examines the potential for high frequency nighttime lights data to provide “near real-time” tracking of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis in Morocco. At the national level, there exists a strong correlation between quarterly movements in Morocco’s overall nighttime light intensity and movements in its real GDP. This finding supports the use of lights data to track the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis at higher temporal frequencies and at the subnational level, for which GDP data are unavailable. Consistent with large economic impacts of the crisis, Morocco experienced a large drop in the overall intensity of its lights in March 2020, from which it has subsequently struggled to recover, following the country’s first COVID-19 case and the introduction of strict lockdown measures. At the subnational level, while all regions shared in March’s national decline in nighttime light intensity, Rabat – Salé – Kénitra, Tanger – Tetouan – Al Hoceima, and Fès – Meknès suffered much larger declines than others. Since then, the relative effects of the COVID-19 shock across regions have largely persisted. Overall, the results suggest that, at least for Morocco, changes in nighttime lights can help to detect the timing of changes in the direction of real GDP, but caution is needed in using lights data to derive precise quantitative estimates of changes in real GDP.
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    When the Lights Go Out: The Economic Impacts of Covid-19 on Cities Globally
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-09) Khan, Amjad Muhammad ; Park, Hogeun ; Roberts, Mark ; Wibisana, Putu Sanjiwacika
    This paper uses high-frequency nighttime time lights data to estimate the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on economic activity during the first year of the pandemic for a global sample of 2,800 cities, covering a total population of 2.5 billion people. Activity is found to be negatively affected by both the spread of the virus and the imposition of nonpharmaceutical interventions, but the negative impacts of the spread are large compared to those of nonpharmaceutical interventions. Large differences in city trajectories are also observed. Cities in low- and middle-income countries faced a significantly larger overall loss of economic activity compared to those in high-income countries. Additionally, cities with higher population densities are found to be more resilient in the face of the global shock as compared to less dense ones, but this difference is only observed in low- and middle-income countries. Taken together, the findings suggest that the Covid-19 crisis gave rise to divergence in urban economic trajectories, both across and within countries.
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    Thriving : Making Cities Green, Resilient, and Inclusive in a Changing Climate
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2023-05-18) Mukim, Megha (ed.) ; Roberts, Mark (ed.)
    Globally, 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions emanate from cities. At the same time, cities are being hit increasingly by climate change related shocks and stresses, ranging from more frequent extreme weather events to inflows of climate migrants. This report analyzes how these shocks and stresses are interacting with other urban stresses to determine the greenness, resilience, and inclusiveness of urban and national development. It provides policymakers with a compass for designing tailored policies that can help cities and countries take effective action to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
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    Estimating Urban Poverty Consistently Across Countries
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2022-07-12) Combes, Pierre-Philippe ; Nakamura, Shohei ; Roberts, Mark ; Stewart, Benjamin
    Global poverty monitored by the World Bank for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is reported only at the national level, lacking a breakdown between urban and rural areas. A key challenge to producing globally comparable estimates of urban poverty is the need for consistent definitions of urban areas and poverty. This note illustrates an innovative approach to integrating globally consistent urban and poverty measurements to estimate urban poverty statistics that are directly comparable across countries. Two approaches to quantifying urban, the Degree of Urbanization and the Dartboard approaches are applied in seven case countries. By combining these delineations with official household budget survey data, poverty is estimated with international poverty lines. The empirical illustrations demonstrate that the proposed approach is potentially useful to improve the monitoring of global poverty.
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    Female Business Leaders, Business and Cultural Environment, and Productivity around the World
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-06) Fang, Sheng ; Goh, Chorching ; Roberts, Mark ; Xu, L. Colin ; Zeufack, Albert
    Studies of female business leaders and economic performance are rarely conducted with worldwide observational data, and with considerations on the underlying cultural, institutional, and business environment. This paper uses worldwide, firm-level data from more than 100 countries to study how female-headed firms differ from male-headed firms in productivity level and growth, and whether the female leader performance disparity hinges on the underlying environment. Female-headed firms account for about 11 percent of firms and are more prevalent in countries with better rule of law, gender equality, and stronger individualistic culture. On average, female-headed firms have 9 to 16 percent lower productivity and 1.6 percentage points lower labor productivity growth, compared with male-headed firms. The disadvantage is mainly in manufacturing firms, largely nonexistent in service firms, and present in relatively small firms. Although the female leader performance disadvantage is surprisingly not related to gender equality, it is smaller where there is less emphasis on personal networks (better rule of law, lower trade credit linkages, lower usage of bank credit, and more equalizing internet), less competition, and the culture is more collective. The study does not find that the female leader disadvantage is amplified in corrupt environments. Africa differs significantly in that it features lower female disadvantage, stronger female advantage in services relative to manufacturing, and stronger sensitivity of female business leaders to electricity provision and bank credit access.