Education Global Practice
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Education, Poverty and inequality, Labor markets, Economics of education
Education Global Practice
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Jaime Saavedra leads the Education Global Practice at the World Bank Group. He rejoined the World Bank Group from the Government of Peru, where he served as Minister of Education from 2013 through 2016. During his tenure, the performance of Peru’s education system improved substantially as measured by international learning assessments. Throughout his career, Mr. Saavedra, a Peruvian national, has led groundbreaking work in the areas of poverty and inequality, employment and labor markets, the economics of education, and monitoring and evaluation systems. He has held positions at a number of international organizations and think-tanks, among them the Inter-American Development Bank, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, International Labour Organization, Grupo de Análisis para el Desarollo and the National Council of Labor in Peru. He has also held teaching and research positions in academia and has published extensively. Prior to assuming his role as Minister for Education of Peru, he had a ten year career at the World Bank where, most recently, he served as Director for Poverty Reduction and Equity as well as Acting Vice President, Poverty Reduction & Economic Management Network. Mr. Saavedra holds a Ph.D in economics from Columbia University and a Bachelor's degree in economics from the Catholic University of Peru.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
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, 2013-10) Narayan, Ambar ; Saavedra-Chanduvi, Jaime ; Tiwari, SaileshFocusing on the welfare of the less well off as a measure of real societal progress is the fundamental principle underlying the WBG indicator of "shared prosperity", namely income growth of the bottom 40 percent in every country. This paper uses a database assembled by the World Bank Group to investigate some basic characteristics of shared prosperity, particularly its relationship with overall economic growth and inequality. Initial estimates using this dataset of 79 countries show that median income growth of the bottom 40 percent (circa 2005-2010) was 4.2 percent, a high number in comparison to the 3.1 percent per capita income growth of the overall population. In addition, the low and lower-middle income countries appear to be trailing the upper middle and high income countries in boosting shared prosperity. Establishing conceptual links between income growth of the bottom 40 percent, the overall growth rate and reviewing existing evidence on how these relate to inequality, the paper discusses two main ideas. First, shared prosperity is strongly correlated with overall prosperity implying that the whole host of policies that are important to generate and sustain growth remain relevant. Second, boosting shared prosperity will also require a concerted effort to strengthen the social contract, particularly in the area of promoting equality of opportunity. Growing evidence suggests that improving access for all and reducing inequality of opportunities -- particularly those related to human capital development of children -- are not only about "fairness" and building a "just society", but also about realizing a society's aspirations of economic prosperity.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-05) Olinto, Pedro ; Lara Ibarra, Gabriel ; Saavedra-Chanduvi, JaimeThis paper re-examines the roles of changes in income and inequality in poverty reduction. The study provides estimates of the relative effects of inequality reduction versus growth promotion in reducing poverty for countries with different levels of initial poverty. The analysis uses country panel-data for 1980-2010. The results indicate that, as countries become less poor, inequality-reducing policies are likely to become relatively more effective for poverty reduction than growth-promoting policies. The results indicate that the growth elasticity of poverty reduction either increases or remains constant with the level of initial poverty. Nevertheless, the results also strongly indicate that, as poverty declines, the inequality elasticity of poverty reduction increases faster. Therefore, if the marginal cost of reducing inequality relative to the marginal cost of increasing growth does not increase with lower poverty levels, to accelerate poverty reduction, greater emphasis should be given to equity rather than growth as countries attain higher levels of development.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-04) Breceda, Karla ; Rigolini, Jamele ; Saavedra, JaimeThis paper presents an incidence analysis of both social spending and taxation for seven Latin American countries, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The analysis shows that Latin American countries are headed de facto toward a minimalist welfare state similar to the one in the United States, rather than toward a stronger, European-like welfare state. Specifically, both in Latin America and in the United States, social spending remains fairly flat across income quintiles. On the taxation side, high income inequality causes the rich to bear most of the taxation burden. This causes a vicious cycle where the rich oppose the expansion of the welfare state (as they bear most of its burden without receiving much back), which in turn maintains long-term inequalities. The recent increased socioeconomic instability in many Latin American countries shows nonetheless a real need for a stronger welfare state, which, if unanswered, may degenerate into short-term and unsustainable policies. The case of Chile suggests that a way out from this apparent dead end can be found, as elites may be willing to raise their contribution to social spending if this can lead to a more stable social contract.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2005-12) Arias, Omar ; Blom, Andreas ; Bosch, Mariano ; Cunningham, Wendy ; Fiszbein, Ariel ; Lopez Acevedo, Gladys ; Maloney, William ; Saavedra, Jaime ; Sanchez-Paramo, Carolina ; Santamaria, Mauricio ; Siga, LucasThis paper selectively synthesizes much of the research on Latin American and Caribbean labor markets in recent years. Several themes emerge that are particularly relevant to ongoing policy dialogues. First, labor legislation matters, but markets may be less segmented than previously thought. The impetus to voluntary informality, which appears to be a substantial fraction of the sector, implies that the design of social safety nets and labor legislation needs to take a more integrated view of the labor market, taking into account the cost-benefit analysis workers and firms make about whether to interact with formal institutions. Second, the impact of labor market institutions on productivity growth has probably been underemphasized. Draconian firing restrictions increase litigation and uncertainty surrounding worker separations, reduce turnover and job creation, and poorly protect workers. But theory and anecdotal evidence also suggest that they, and other related state or union induced rigidities, may have an even greater disincentive effect on technological adoption, which accounts for half of economic growth. Finally, institutions can affect poverty and equity, although the effects seem generally small and channels are not always clear. Overall, the present constellation of labor regulations serves workers and firms poorly and both could benefit from substantial reform.
Publication(World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2014-08-12) Inchauste, Gabriela ; Azevedo, João Pedro ; Essama-Nssah, B. ; Olivieri, Sergio ; Van Nguyen, Trang ; Saavedra-Chanduvi, Jaime ; Winkler, HernanUnderstanding Changes in Poverty brings together different methods to decompose the contributions to poverty reduction. A simple approach quantifies the contribution of changes in demographics, employment, earnings, public transfers, and remittances to poverty reduction. A more complex approach quantifies the contributions to poverty reduction from changes in individual and household characteristics, including changes in the sectoral, occupational, and educational structure of the workforce, as well as changes in the returns to individual and household characteristics. Understanding Changes in Poverty implements these approaches and finds that labor income growth that is, growth in income per worker rather than an increase in the number of employed workers was the largest contributor to moderate poverty reduction in 21 countries experiencing substantial reductions in poverty over the past decade. Changes in demographics, public transfers, and remittances helped, but made relatively smaller contributions to poverty reduction. Further decompositions in three countries find that labor income grew mainly because of higher returns to human capital endowments, signaling increases in productivity, higher relative price of labor, or both. Understanding Changes in Poverty will be of particular relevance to development practitioners interested in better understanding distributional changes over time. The methods and tools presented in this book can also be applied to better understand changes in inequality or any other distributional change.
Outcomes, Opportunity and Development : Why Unequal Opportunities and Not Outcomes Hinder Economic Development(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-12) Molina, Ezequiel ; Narayan, Ambar ; Saavedra-Chanduvi, JaimeThis paper studies the relationship between inequality of opportunity and development outcomes in a cross-country setting. Scholars have long debated the impact of inequality on growth, development, and the quality of institutions in a society. The empirical relationships are however confounded by the notion that "inequality" can be seen as a composite of inequality arising from differences in effort and ability, which would tend to encourage competition and productivity, and inequality attributable to unequal opportunities, particularly in terms of access to basic goods and services, which might translate to wasted human potential and lower levels of development. The analysis in this paper applies a measure of educational opportunities that incorporates inequality between "types" or circumstance groups. Theories from economic history are used to instrument for this type of inequality in a large cross-country dataset. The results seem to confirm the hypothesis that this measure of inequality of opportunity is a better fit for structural inequality than the Gini index of income. The results suggest that inequality of endowments at the outset of history led to unequal educational opportunities, which in turn affected development outcomes such as institutional quality, infant mortality, and economic growth. The findings are robust to several checks on the instrumental variable specification.
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.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2009) Paes de Barros, Ricardo ; Ferreira, Francisco H.G. ; Molinas Vega, Jose R. ; Saavedra Chanduvi, JaimeOver the past decade, faster growth and smarter social policy have reversed the trend in Latin America's poverty. Too slowly and insufficiently, but undeniably, the percentage of Latinos who are poor has at long last begun to fall. This has shifted the political and policy debates from poverty toward inequality, something to be expected in a region that exhibits the world's most regressive distribution of development outcomes such as income, land ownership, and educational achievement. This book is a breakthrough in the measurement of human opportunity. It builds sophisticated formulas to answer a rather simple question: how much influence do personal circumstances have on the access that children get to the basic services that are necessary for a productive life? Needless to say, producing a methodology to measure human opportunity, and applying it across countries in one region, is just a first step. On the one hand, technical discussions and scientific vetting will continue, and refinements will surely follow. On the other, applying the new tool to a single country will allow for adjustments that make the findings much more useful to its policy realities. And fascinating comparative lessons could be learned by measuring human opportunity in developed countries across, say, the states of the United States or the nations of Europe. But the main message this book delivers remains a powerful one: it is possible to make equity a central purpose, if not the very definition, of development. That is, perhaps, it's most important contribution.