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

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
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    Assessing Advances and Challenges in Technical Education in Brazil
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2016) Almeida, Rita ; Amaral, Nicole ; de Felicio, Fabiana
    As Brazil is massively investing in a scale-up of in vocational education and training (VET) through the national flagship program, PRONATEC, this report assesses institutions and policies in VET taking an in depth critical view of upcoming opportunities. It shares international best practices on selected operational issues identified as strategic bottlenecks for the delivery of technical education. The report explores multiple sources of information including a desk review of existing reports and papers, inputs/data provided by the Ministry of Education and interviews with multiple stakeholders and practitioners at the federal and state level. The report highlights the need of promoting a better alignment between the supply and demand of skills at the sub national level and of promoting better a solid monitoring and evaluation system, including the monitoring of student learning and of the trajectories into the labor market or into higher educational degrees. Issues of student career guidance and teacher quality also emerge as areas of strategic importance to the Brazilian VET system in the years ahead.
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    Investing in Technical and Vocational Education and Training: Does it Yield Large Economic Returns in Brazil?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-04) Almeida, Rita ; Anazawa, Leandro ; Menezes Filho, Naercio ; Vasconcellos, Ligia
    Technical education and training has been dramatically expanding in Brazil recently. However, there remains no evidence on the cost effectiveness of this alternative track to a more general education. This paper quantifies the wage returns of completing technical and vocational education and training compared with the returns of completing the general education track, for individuals with similar observable characteristics. Exploring data from the Brazilian National Household Sample Survey, the paper profiles the students taking up this track and quantifies the impact of different types of technical and vocational education and training courses on individuals’ hourly wages. After controlling for selection on observables with propensity score matching, the analysis shows positive and statistically significant wage premiums for students completing technical school at the upper secondary level (on average 9.7 percent ) and for those completing short-term training courses (2.2 percent on average). The paper also documents significant heterogeneity of impacts depending on the courses and the profile of students. For realistic unitary costs of providing technical and vocational education and training, the evidence suggests technical education is a cost-effective modality. The courses offered by the publically financed and privately managed “Sistema S,” together with courses in the manufacturing area have the highest positive impacts.
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    Entrepreneurship Education and Entry into Self-Employment among University Graduates
    (Elsevier, 2016-01) Premand, Patrick ; Brodmann, Stefanie ; Almeida, Rita ; Grun, Rebekka ; Barouni, Mahdi
    Entrepreneurship education has the potential to enable youth to gain skills and create their own jobs. In Tunisia, a curricular reform created an entrepreneurship track providing business training and coaching to help university students prepare a business plan. We rely on randomized assignment of the entrepreneurship track to identify impacts on students’ labor market outcomes one year after graduation. The entrepreneurship track led to a small increase in self-employment, but overall employment rates remained unchanged. Although business skills improved, effects on personality and entrepreneurial traits were mixed. The program nevertheless increased graduates’ aspirations toward the future.
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    Toward More Efficient and Effective Public Social Spending in Central America
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-05-18) Acosta, Pablo A. ; Almeida, Rita ; Gindling, Thomas ; Lao Pena, Christine
    Central America has come a long way both in terms of economic and political stability. Increasingly the region is focusing on implementing productivity-enhancing reforms as well as supporting reductions in poverty and inequality. This report analyzes recent trends in public social spending in Central America from 2007 to 2014, conducts international benchmarking, examines measures of the effectiveness and efficiency of social spending, and discusses the quality of selected institutions influencing this spending. We examine total social spending, as well as detailing its four components: public spending on the education, health, and social protection and labor (SPL) sectors. In analyzing public social spending, the report addresses three crucial policy issues: (a) how to improve the coverage and redistributional incidence of public social spending; (b) how to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of public social spending; and (c) how to strengthen the institutions governing public spending in the social sector. While based heavily on a series of recent analytical social spending studies in six countries in the subregion—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama—this report also takes a broader regional perspective and includes some comparisons to countries in other regions.
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    Skills and Jobs in Brazil: An Agenda for Youth
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-07-10) Almeida, Rita K. ; Packard, Truman G.
    Skills and Jobs in Brazil: An Agenda for Youth is a new report focusing on the challenge of economic engagement among the Brazilian youth. In the context of a fast aging population, Brazil’s greatest economic opportunity is to increase its labor productivity, especially that of youth. This report documents important new facts about the extent of the youth economic disengagement, while at school and at work. Today, close to half of the Brazilian youth aged 15-29 years old is not fully economically engaged, because they are neither working nor studying, are studying in schools of poor quality, or are working in informal and precarious jobs. The report shows how the youth prospects in the labor market are dimmed by policies favoring existing workers over new entrants; in addition, it shows how youth are often ill equipped to meet an increasingly challenging labor market. The report suggests new education, skills, and jobs policy changes that Brazil could prioritize moving forward, so that it can take advantage of the last wave of its demographic transition. The report discusses in particular depth policies aiming to increase learning and reduce school dropouts in upper secondary education, and labor market policies that aim to support more effective and faster youth transitions from school to work.
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    Sustaining Employment and Wage Gains in Brazil: A Skills and Jobs Agenda
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015-10-15) Silva, Joana ; Almeida, Rita ; Strokova, Victoria
    In the past 15 years, employment, labor market participation, and wages have grown significantly in Brazil. Improved labor market outcomes have been the main drivers of reductions in poverty and inequality. But job creation is already slowing. Continued progress in employment and labor earnings will depend on the country’s ability to achieve a first critical goal: raising labor productivity. Continued improvements in the livelihoods of the poor will depend on the country’s ability to achieve a second critical goal: connecting the poor to better, more productive jobs. Sustaining Employment and Wage Gains in Brazil: A Skills and Jobs Agenda analyzes Brazil’s labor markets and identifies the key challenges involved in sustaining job creation, wage growth, and poverty reduction. The book discusses reforms of program design and implementation in the policy areas of skills development, unemployment insurance and other labor market regulations, active labor market programs, and productive inclusion programs. The report reviews existing interventions in these four policy areas and proposes an agenda of incremental policy changes that could more effectively support the two critical goals. It also describes specific opportunities in each policy area to better coordinate programs with private sector demands and across policies, while also adapting them to improve the results for the urban and rural poor. An essential first step will be to strengthen monitoring and evaluation systems to measure results by tracking the effects of programs on labor market outcomes and using that information to inform program expansion.
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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.