Almeida, Rita

Global Practice on Education, The World Bank
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Skills development policy, Labor markets, Social protection, Firm productivity, Innovation policy
Global Practice on Education, The World Bank
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Last updated August 7, 2023
Rita K. Almeida earned her earned her PhD in Economics from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in 2004 and her Licenciatura in Economics, from Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisbon in 1997 with honors. She is a senior economist at the World Bank’s Education Global Practice. Since joining the World Bank in 2002, Rita has led policy dialogue on a broad set of regions and countries, including Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa. Prior to joining the World Bank, she worked in a private investment bank and taught graduate and undergraduate Economics at the Portuguese Catholic University. She is also a fellow of the Institute for the Study of Labor since 2003. Her main areas of expertise cover education policies, labor market analysis, training and life-long learning skills development policies, activation and graduation policies, labor market regulations, social protection for workers, firm productivity and innovation policies, public expenditure reviews and the evaluation of social programs.  Over the years, Almeida has led and contributed to several World Bank flagship publications including “The Right Skills for the Job? Rethinking Training Policies for Workers” and “Toward more efficient and effective public social spending in Central America”.  Her work has been covered in the media and her research has been featured in leading world economic reports. Her academic work has been published in a variety of top general-interest and specialized journals, including The Economic Journal, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Journal of International Economics, Journal of Development Economics, Labour Economics, and World Development. 
Citations 206 Scopus

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Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
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    The Right Skills for the Job? Rethinking Training Policies for Workers
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2012) Almeida, Rita ; Behrman, Jere ; Robalino, David ; Almeida, Rita ; Behrman, Jere ; Robalino, David
    This book addresses the question of how to build and upgrade job relevant skills. Specifically, the authors focus on three types of training programs relevant for individuals who are leaving formal general schooling or are already in the labor market: pre-employment technical and vocational education and training (TVET); on-the-job training (OJT); and training-related active labor market programs (ALMPs). ALMPs are usually of shorter duration and target individuals who are seeking a second chance and who do not have access to TVET or OJT; these are often low-skilled unemployed or informal workers. Contrary to training-related ALMPs, pre-employment TVET is usually offered within the formal schooling track and tends to be administered by the ministries of education. The book discusses the main justifications for these programs and how they relate to market failures that can lead to underinvestment in training and misalignment between supply and demand for skills. Unfortunately, governments are also prone to failure and many of the programs that countries have adopted today are part of the problem and not the solution. This book proposes options to improve the design and implementation of current skills development systems. Clearly, the authors cannot cover all issues in detail. Training methods among TVET, OJT, and ALMP programs are quite different, ranging from classroom instruction, laboratory research, TVET workshops, and apprenticeship arrangements and internships in firms. All have different challenges and specificities. The report highlights the most important design features of the different programs and points to the main knowledge gaps and areas for future research and analysis. The book is organized into five chapters. Following this overview, chapter two introduces the policy framework that guides the analysis in the book. This framework describes the main market and government failures that require attention and identifies potential interventions to address them. Chapter's three to five then discuss the main challenges facing, respectively, TVET, OJT, and training-related ALMP programs and outlines recommendations to address them. The rest of this overview summarizes the main messages from each of the chapters and in the last section outlines the main knowledge gaps and proposes an agenda for future research and policy analysis.
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    The Impact of Digital Technologies on Routine Tasks: Do Labor Policies Matter?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-09) Almeida, Rita K. ; Corseuil, Carlos H.L. ; Poole, Jennifer P.
    There is a strong concern that technology is increasingly replacing routine tasks, displacing lower-skilled workers. Labor market institutions exist to protect workers from shocks but, by increasing labor costs, labor policy may also constrain firms from adjusting the workforce and, hence, from fully benefiting from technology adoption. This paper assesses the link between access to digital technologies and the demand for skills in the largest Latin American country, Brazil. Between 1996 and 2006, the country experienced a period of strong growth in Internet service provision, as well as in the enforcement of labor market regulations at the subnational level. The paper's empirical strategy exploits administrative data to assess the extent to which the adoption of digital technology affects employment and the skill content of jobs at the local level. In addition, the paper investigates whether the stringency of labor regulations influences this adjustment, by comparing the effect across industries subject to different degrees of enforcement of labor regulations. Using the fact that industries vary in the degree of reliance on digital technologies, the estimates suggest that digital technology adoption leads to a reduction in employment in local labor markets. The decrease in employment is larger for routine tasks, thereby shifting the composition of the workforce toward nonroutine, cognitive skills. However, and in contrast with labor policy intentions, the evidence points to the idea that labor market regulations differentially benefit the skilled workforce, particularly those workers employed in nonroutine, cognitive tasks.
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    Does the Adoption of Complex Software Impact Employment Composition and the Skill Content of Occupations?: Evidence from Chilean Firms
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-06) Almeida, Rita K. ; Fernandes, Ana M. ; Viollaz, Mariana
    A major concern with the rapid spread of technology is that it replaces some jobs, displacing workers. However, technology may raise firm productivity, generating more jobs. The paper contributes to this debate by exploiting a novel panel data set for Chilean firms in all sectors between 2007 and 2013. While previous studies examine the impacts of automation on the use of routine tasks by middle-educated workers. this study focuses on a measure of complex software that is typically used by more educated workers in cognitive and nonroutine tasks for client, production, and business management. The instrumental variables estimates show that in the medium run, firms' adoption of complex software affects firms' employment decisions and the skill content of occupations. The adoption of complex software reallocates employment from skilled workers to administrative and unskilled production workers. This reallocation leads to an increase in the use of routine and manual tasks and a reduction in the use of abstract tasks within firms. Interestingly, the impacts tend to be concentrated in sectors with a less educated workforce, suggesting that technology can constrain job creation for the more skilled workers there. The paper concludes that the type of technology matters for understanding the impacts of technology adoption on the labor market.
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    The Jobs of Tomorrow: Technology, Productivity, and Prosperity in Latin America and the Caribbean
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2018-04-10) Dutz, Mark A. ; Almeida, Rita K. ; Packard, Truman G.
    While adoption of new technologies is understood to enhance long-term growth and average per-capita incomes, its impact on lower-skilled workers is more complex and merits clarification. Concerns abound that advanced technologies developed in high-income countries would inexorably lead to job losses of lower-skilled, less well-off workers and exacerbate inequality. Conversely, there are countervailing concerns that policies intended to protect jobs from technology advancement would themselves stultify progress and depress productivity. This book squarely addresses both sets of concerns with new research showing that adoption of digital technologies offers a pathway to more inclusive growth by increasing adopting firms’ outputs, with the jobs-enhancing impact of technology adoption assisted by growth-enhancing policies that foster sizable output expansion. The research reported here demonstrates with economic theory and data from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico that lower-skilled workers can benefit from adoption of productivity-enhancing technologies biased towards skilled workers, and often do. The inclusive jobs outcomes arise when the effects of increased productivity and expanding output overcome the substitution of workers for technology. While the substitution effect replaces some lower-skilled workers with new technology and more highly-skilled labor, the output effect can lead to an increase in the total number of jobs for less-skilled workers. Critically, output can increase sufficiently to increase jobs across all tasks and skill types within adopting firms, including jobs for lower-skilled workers, as long as lower-skilled task content remains complementary to new technologies and related occupations are not completely automated and replaced by machines. It is this channel for inclusive growth that underlies the power of pro-competitive enabling policies and institutions—such as regulations encouraging firms to compete and policies supporting the development of skills that technology augments rather than replaces—to ensure that the positive impact of technology adoption on productivity and lower-skilled workers is realized.