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 26
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.
No Thumbnail AvailablePublication( 2010) 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. We explore a unique firm level data set across eight countries in the East Asia and Pacific region. Our 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. We interpret this to be supporting 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.
No Thumbnail AvailablePublication( 2008) Almeida, Rita ; Fernandes, Ana MargaridaThis paper examines international technology transfers using firm-level data across 43 developing countries. Its findings show that exporting and importing activities are important channels for the transfer of technology. Majority foreign-owned firms are less likely to engage in technological innovations than minority foreign-owned firms or domestic firms. The authors interpret this finding as evidence that the technology transferred from multinational parents to majority-owned subsidiaries is more mature than that transferred to minority-owned subsidiaries. Their findings also suggest that foreign-owned subsidiaries rely mostly on the direct transfer of technology from their parents and that firms that import intermediate inputs are more likely to acquire new technology from their machinery suppliers.
No Thumbnail AvailablePublication( 2009) Almeida, Rita ; Carneiro, PedroIn this paper, we estimate the rate of return to firm investments in human capital in the form of formal job training. We use a panel of large firms with detailed information on the duration of training, the direct costs of training, and several firm characteristics. Our estimates of the return to training are substantial (8.6%) for those providing training. Results suggest that formal job training is a good investment for these firms possibly yielding comparable returns to either investments in physical capital or investments in schooling.
No Thumbnail AvailablePublication( 2009) Almeida, Rita ; Carneiro, PedroThis paper investigates how the enforcement of labor regulation affects firm size and other firm characteristics in Brazil. We explore firm level data on employment, capital, and output, city level data on economic characteristics, and new administrative data measuring enforcement of regulation at the city level. Since enforcement may be endogenous, we instrument this variable with the distance between the city where the firm is located and surrounding enforcement offices, while controlling for a rich set of city characteristics (such as past levels of informality in the city). We present suggestive evidence of the validity of this instrument. We find that stricter enforcement of labor regulation constrains firm size, and leads to higher unemployment.
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( 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.
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, LigiaTechnical 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.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-11-17) Almeida, Rita ; Carneiro, PedroThis paper studies the impact of an increase in the enforcement of labor regulations on unemployment and inequality, using city level data from Brazil. We find that stricter enforcement (affecting the payment of mandated benefits to formal workers) leads to: higher unemployment, less income inequality, a higher proportion of formal employment, and a lower formal wage premium. Our results are consistent with a model where stricter enforcement causes a contraction in labor demand in both the formal and informal sectors; and where workers value mandated benefits highly, so that there is an increase in the formal sector labor supply, an increase in the willingness to become unemployed to search for a formal sector job, and a decrease in labor supply to the informal sector.