Global Practice on Education, The World Bank
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Skills development policy, Labor markets, Social protection, Firm productivity, Innovation policy
Global Practice on Education, The World Bank
Externally Hosted Work
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.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 13
Publication(World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2004-04) Almeida, RitaForeign firms often have a more educated workforce and pay higher wages than domestic firms. This does not necessarily imply that foreign ownership translates into higher demand for educated workers or higher wages, since foreign investment may be guided by unobservable firm characteristics correlated with the demand for educated workers or wages. The author examines foreign acquisitions of domestic firms in Portugal in the 1990s and finds small changes in the workforce skill composition and wages following acquisition. Foreign investors "cherry pick" domestic firms that are already very similar to the group of existing foreign firms.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-03) Hirshleifer, Sarojini ; McKenzie, David ; Almeida, Rita ; Ridao-Cano, CristobalA randomized experiment is used to evaluate a large-scale, active labor market policy: Turkey's vocational training programs for the unemployed. A detailed follow-up survey of a large sample with low attrition enables precise estimation of treatment impacts and their heterogeneity. The average impact of training on employment is positive, but close to zero and statistically insignificant, which is much lower than either program officials or applicants expected. Over the first year after training, the paper finds that training had statistically significant effects on the quality of employment and that the positive impacts are stronger when training is offered by private providers. However, longer-term administrative data show that after three years these effects have also dissipated.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-06) Almeida, Rita ; Galasso, EmanuelaOne important concern of governments in developing countries is how to phase out large safety net programs. The authors evaluate the short-run effects of one possible exit strategy-programs that promote self-employment-in Argentina. They provide evidence that a small fraction of beneficiaries were attracted by this program. Overall, potential participants to self-employment are more likely to be female household heads and more educated beneficiaries relative to the average Jefes beneficiaries. Using nonexperimental methods, the authors show that participation in the program does affect the labor supply of participants, by reducing the probability of having an outside job, especially for males, and increasing the total number of hours worked. But the intervention fails to produce on average income gains to participating individuals and households in the short run. The fact that a small subset of former welfare beneficiaries are attracted to the program, coupled with the fact that only a subset of participants (younger and more educated beneficiaries, and with previous self-employment experience) benefited from participation has important implications for this intervention to represent a viable exit strategy from welfare.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-12) Terrell, Katherine ; Almeida, Rita K.This policy note reviews the literature on the effects of minimum wages on labor markets in developing countries. The authors begin by elucidating the challenges to ascertaining these effects, especially in developing economies where a large segment of the workforce is not covered by minimum wage legislation (uncovered sector). After summarizing the theoretical models and their predictions, the authors review the empirical evidence of the impact of minimum wage legislation on wages, employment, and unemployment in the covered and uncovered sectors of the labor market. The evidence strongly suggests that an increase in the minimum wage tends to have a positive wage effect and a small negative employment effect among workers covered by minimum wage legislation and that the effects tend to be stronger among low-wage workers. The findings are quite limited and fairly inconclusive on the indirect effects of increases in minimum wages on workers in the uncovered sectors, where the legislation either does not apply or is not complied with.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2005-10) Almeida, RitaThe author tests how the local economic structure-measured by a region's sector specialization, competition, and diversity-affects the technological growth of manufacturing sectors. Most of the empirical literature on this topic assumes that in the long run more productive regions will attract more workers and use employment growth as a measure of local productivity growth. However, this approach is based on strong assumptions about national labor markets. The author shows that when these assumptions are relaxed, regional adjusted wage growth is a better measure of regional productivity growth than employment growth. She compares the two measures using data for Portugal between 1985 and 1994. With the regional adjusted wage growth, the author finds evidence of Marshall-Arrow-Romer (MAR) externalities in some sectors and no evidence of Jacobs or Porter externalities in most of the manufacturing sectors. These results are at odds with her findings for employment-based regressions, which show that concentration and region size have a negative and significant effect in most of the manufacturing sectors. These employment-based results are in line with most of the existing literature, which suggests that using employment growth to proxy for productivity growth leads to misleading results.
Entrepreneurship Training and Self-Employment among University Graduates : Evidence from a Randomized Trial In Tunisia(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-12) Premand, Patrick ; Brodmann, Stefanie ; Almeida, Rita ; Grun, Rebekka ; Barouni, MahdiIn economies characterized by low labor demand and high rates of youth unemployment, entrepreneurship training has the potential to enable youth to gain skills and create their own jobs. This paper presents experimental evidence on a new entrepreneurship track that provides business training and personalized coaching to university students in Tunisia. Undergraduates in the final year of licence appliquee were given the opportunity to graduate with a business plan instead of following the standard curriculum. This paper relies on randomized assignment of the entrepreneurship track to identify impacts on labor market outcomes one year after graduation. The analysis finds that the entrepreneurship track was effective in increasing self-employment among applicants, but that the effects are small in absolute terms. In addition, the employment rate among participants remains unchanged, pointing to a partial substitution from wage employment to self-employment. The evidence shows that the program fostered business skills, expanded networks, and affected a range of behavioral skills. Participation in the entrepreneurship track also heightened graduates optimism toward the future shortly after the Tunisian revolution.
Publication( 2011-12-01) Almeida, Rita ; Fernandes, Ana M.This paper investigates whether the agglomeration of economic activity in regional clusters affects long-run manufacturing total factor productivity growth in an emerging market context. It explores a large firm-level panel dataset for Chile during a period characterized by high growth rates and rising regional income inequality (1992-2004). The findings are clear-cut. Locations with greater concentration of a particular sector did not experience faster growth in total factor productivity during this period. Rather, local sector diversity was associated with higher long-run growth in total factor productivity. However, there is no evidence that the diversity effect was driven by the local interaction with a set of suppliers and/or clients. The authors interpret this as evidence that agglomeration economies are driven by other factors, such as the sharing of access to specialized inputs not provided solely by a single sector, such as skills or financing.
Publication( 2010-04-01) Almeida, Rita K.This paper examines whether the increased openness and technological innovation in East Asia have contributed to an increased demand for skills in the region. The author explores a unique firm level data set across eight countries in Asia and the Pacific region. The results strongly support the idea that greater openness and technological innovation have increased the demand for skills, especially in middle-income countries. In particular, while the presence in international markets has been skill enhancing for most middle-income countries, this is not the case for manufacturing firms operating in China and in low-income countries. The author interprets this to support the premise that if international integration in the region continues to intensify and technology continues to be skilled biased, policies aimed at mitigating the skills shortages should produce continual and persistent increase in skills.
Publication( 2010-07-01) Almeida, Rita K. ; Aterido, ReyesThis paper analyzes the link between firm size and investment in job training by employers. Using a large firm level data set across 99 developing countries, the analysis shows that a strong and positive correlation in investment in job training and firm size is a robust statistical finding both within and across countries with very different institutions and level of development. However, the findings do not support the view that this difference is mostly driven by market imperfections disproportionally affecting small and medium enterprises. Rather, the evidence is supportive of small and medium enterprises having a smaller expected return from the investment in job training than larger firms. Therefore, the findings call for caution when designing pro-small and medium enterprises policies fostering investment in on-the-job training.
Publication( 2009-11-01) Almeida, Rita ; Carneiro, PedroThis paper studies the effect of enforcing labor regulation in an economy with a dual labor market. The analysis uses data from Brazil, a country with a large informal sector and strict labor law, where enforcement affects mainly the degree of compliance with mandated benefits (severance pay and health and safety conditions) in the formal sector, and the registration of informal workers. The authors find that stricter enforcement leads to higher unemployment but lower income inequality. They also show that, at the top of the formal wage distribution, workers bear the cost of mandated benefits by receiving lower wages. Wage rigidity (due, say, to the minimum wage) prevents this downward adjustment at the bottom of the income distribution. As a result, formal sector jobs at the bottom of the wage distribution become more attractive, inducing the low-skilled self-employed to search for formal jobs.