Person:
Santos, Indhira

Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice
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Labor economics, Development economics
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Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice
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Last updated: December 19, 2023
Biography
Indhira Santos is the Global Lead for Labor & Skills in the Social Protection & Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank. She was a primary author of the 2019 World Development Report “The Changing Nature of Work” and the 2016 World Development Report “Digital Dividends”. She has worked on the Africa, Europe and Central Asia and South Asia Regions at the World Bank since joining as a Young Professional in 2009. Prior to joining the World Bank, she was a Research Fellow at Bruegel, a European policy think tank in Brussels, between 2007 and 2009. She has also worked for the Economic Research Center of the PUCMM University and the Ministry of Finance (Dominican Republic). She was a Fulbright scholar at Harvard University, where she obtained her PhD in Public Policy and a Masters in Public Administration in International Development.

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 15
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Voices of Europe and Central Asia: New Insights on Shared Prosperity and Jobs

2016, Dávalos, María E, Demarchi, Giorgia, Santos, Indhira, Kits, Barbara, Oral, Isil

Does the data we traditionally use on poverty, inequality and labor markets capture the full picture? Qualitative evidence from 9 countries in Europe and Central Asia shows that people’s perceptions are not always well aligned with quantitative indicators. Increased polarization and the role of factors beyond people’s control, such as connections and social norms, are at the heart of this disconnect. This report discusses the implications of these findings for policy makers and the development community as we seek to better understand barriers to accessing jobs, reducing poverty and sharing prosperity.

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TVET Systems’ Response to COVID-19: Challenges and Opportunities

2020-05-14, Hoftijzer, Margo, Levin, Victoria, Santos, Indhira, Weber, Michael

This note focuses on the role of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides guidance on reducing the adverse impact of the pandemic on TVET provision and enhancing the contribution TVET can make to mitigating the health, social, and economic impact of COVID-19.

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Employment Recovery in Europe and Central Asia

2011-06, Koettl, Johannes, Santos, Indhira

Despite high unemployment in most Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA) countries, people have not withdrawn from the labor market but continue to actively look for jobs. Unemployment increased significantly in ECA countries during the crisis, particularly among youth. However, young people are also the ones benefiting most from the recovery. Labor market recovery remained sluggish up to the third quarter of 2010. Many countries have seen only a slight recovery in unemployment rates, although output is recovering everywhere. Up to the third quarter of 2010, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) upturn in most ECA countries appeared to be driven by increases in productivity and hours worked; however, these are still below pre-crisis levels. This suggests that there is room in most countries for further increases in productivity and hours worked, which could delay the recovery in employment.

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How Do the Poor Cope with Shocks in Bangladesh? Evidence from Survey Data

2011-09-01, Santos, Indhira, Rahman, Hossain Zillur, Zaman, Hassan

This paper uses household survey data collected in September-October 2009 on a nationally representative sample of 2,000 households in Bangladesh to examine the nature of shocks experienced by households over the preceding 12 months and the type of coping mechanisms that were adopted. The analysis finds that more than half the sample claimed to have faced a shock -- economic, health, climatic, or asset related -- over the previous year. Surprisingly, the non-poor face a larger share of these shocks compared with the poor. A closer look at this result shows that the non-poor report a significantly larger share of "asset-related" shocks, which is consistent with the fact that the poor have fewer assets to lose. Health-related shocks dominate and households appear to have coped with these shocks through savings and loans, help from friends, and depletion of assets. The results show that households, when faced with covariate shocks due to climatic reasons, are less able to cope. As would be expected, the poor are less able to cope with shocks compared with the non-poor; the poor are more likely to use coping mechanisms that could have negative welfare implications in the longer term, including the depletion of assets, reduction of essential consumption, and use of high-interest loans. Econometric analysis suggests that geographical location, socio-economic status, and access to microfinance all affect the ability to cope with shocks. Policy implications include the importance of developing safety nets that take into account the vulnerability to climate-related shocks and further developing the links between micro-finance and safety net programs.

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Climate Change Policies and Employment in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

2012-12, Oral, Isil, Santos, Indhira, Zhang, Fan

This paper analyzes the differential impact of climate change policies on employment in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In particular, the paper examines (i) how vulnerable labor markets are in Eastern European and Central Asian countries to future carbon regulation, and (ii) what countries can do to mitigate some of the potential negative effects of these regulatory changes on employment. In many aspects, the nature of the shock associated with climate regulation is similar to that associated with an increase in energy prices. Constraints on carbon emissions put a price on climate-damaging activities and make hydrocarbon-based energy production and consumption more expensive. As a result, firms in energy-intensive industries may react to higher energy prices by reducing production, which in turn would lead to lower employment. In the presence of frictions in labor markets, these sector shifts will cause resources to be unemployed, at least in the short term. Using principal component analysis, the paper finds that Eastern European and Central Asian countries vary greatly in their vulnerability and adaptability of employment to carbon regulation. Since the economy takes time to adjust, policy-makers will need to ensure that the incentives are there for new firms to emerge and employ workers, and that workers have the skills to respond to that demand. Moreover, governments have a role to play in ensuring that workers that are displaced have a proper safety net that will not only help in protecting their welfare, but will also allow workers to make more efficient labor market transitions.

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Productive Longevity: What Can Work in Low- and Middle-Income Countries?

2023-12-19, Johansson de Silva, Sara, Santos, Indhira

The world’s population is aging at dramatic speed. By 2050, most of the world’s seniors (aged 65+) will be living in what are currently low- and middle-income countries. Aging will require low- and middle-income countries to develop comprehensive policy solutions to sustain welfare levels and ensure that welfare is equitably distributed across generations and socioeconomic groups. Given higher informality and lower human capital levels in low- and middle-income countries than more advanced economies, the balance and composition of the policy package in these contexts may differ, but there will be a common need for labor market policies to increase “productive longevity”—that is, to foster higher labor force participation and productivity among mature workers. This paper presents a framework identifying market, institutional, and behavioral failures that create constraints to productive longevity, and policies that may overcome these constraints. Drawing, to the extent possible, on the experience of low- and middle-income countries, the paper reviews evidence on supply-side and demand-side interventions to improve incentives, remove barriers to work, and invest in skills, as well as policies to improve matching of mature workers in labor markets. The paper ends with a discussion of meta-lessons for low- and middle-income countries.

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Creating Jobs in South Asia’s Conflict Zones

2012-06, Iyer, Lakshmi, Santos, Indhira

This paper describes the key challenges to job creation in conflict-affected environments in South Asia. It uses household survey data since the early 2000s for Afghanistan, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka to document the characteristics of labor markets in conflict-affected areas, exploiting the spatial and time variation in armed conflict within countries. The analysis finds that, across countries, labor markets look very different in conflict-affected areas when compared with non-conflict or low-conflict areas. Employment rates are higher in large part because women participate more in the labor market, but work tends to be more vulnerable, with more self-employment and unpaid family work. The authors show that these differences often pre-date the conflict but are also exacerbated by it. They also examine the constraints on the private sector activity in such areas, using firm surveys when possible. Finally, the paper reviews the existing literature and the policy experiences of several countries to draw some policy implications for job creation efforts in the conflict-affected areas of South Asia. It particularly highlights the role of the private sector and community initiatives, in conjunction with public policies, to improve the environment for successful job creation.

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Managing the Employment Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis: Policy Options for Relief and Restructuring

2020-07, Carranza, Eliana, Farole, Thomas, Gentilini, Ugo, Morgandi, Matteo, Packard, Truman, Santos, Indhira, Weber, Michael

This note discusses policy options for managing the employment impacts of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis aimed at relief and restructuring. The note pays attention to the labor market and institutional context of most low and middle-income countries where informality is large and where existing institutions often lack mechanisms to effectively reach businesses and workers in the informal economy. The note covers complementary policies aimed, in the relief phase, at: 1) Helping businesses survive and retain workers; 2) providing protection for those who do lose their jobs and see their livelihoods significantly affected; and 3) facilitating alternative employment and employability support for those who are out of work (collectively known as active labor market programs, ALMP). The note further differentiates between these relief responses and the restructuring response when countries start to reopen for businesses and policies need to aim to support firms' and workers' transition to a "new normal", hopefully a "better normal" that supports a resilient recovery.

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More and Better Jobs in South Asia

2012, Nayar, Reema, Gottret, Pablo, Mitra, Pradeep, Betcherman, Gordon, Lee, Yue Man, Santos, Indhira, Dahal, Mahesh, Shrestha, Maheshwor

This book is divided into seven chapters. Chapter one is an overview. Chapter two reviews South Asia's recent track record with regard to the quantity and quality of job creation. It traces the relationship of such job creation mostly to overall economic growth and attempts to answer what needs to be done to meet South Asia's employment challenge. Chapter three discusses the key features of labor markets in South Asia, including where the better jobs are, who holds them, and the implications for the employment challenge ahead. Chapter four reviews the business environment constraints affecting, in particular, those firms that have expanded employment and discusses policy options for overcoming the most binding business constraints in South Asia. Chapter five analyzes the dimensions of the education and a skill challenge in the region and discusses policy priorities for improving the quality and skills of graduates of education and training systems. Chapter six reviews the role of labor market policies and institutions in encouraging job creation and protecting workers in the formal and informal economy and discusses possible directions for labor market policies, including options to increase the access of informal sector workers to programs that help them manage labor market shocks and improve their future earnings potential. Finally, chapter seven reviews the key constraints to job creation and the policy priorities for creating more and better jobs in conflict-affected areas.

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Back to Work : Growing with Jobs in Europe and Central Asia

2014-01-15, Arias, Omar S., Sánchez-Páramo, Carolina, Dávalos, María E., Santos, Indhira, Tiongson, Erwin R., Gruen, Carola, de Andrade Falcão, Natasha, Saiovici, Gady, Cancho, Cesar A.

Creating more and better jobs is arguably the most critical challenge to boosting shared prosperity in ECA. This report answers two questions: How can the countries create more jobs? Should there be specific policies to help workers access those jobs?. In answering them, the report examines the role of reforms, firms, skills, incentives and barriers to work, and labor mobility through the lens of two contextual factors: the legacy of centralized planned economies and the mounting demographic pressures associated with rapid aging in some countries and soaring numbers of youth entering the workforce in others. The main findings of the report are: i) market reforms pay off in terms of jobs and productivity, although with a lag; ii) a small fraction of superstar high-growth firms, largely young, account for most of new jobs created in the region- thus, countries, especially late reformers, need to unleash the potential of high levels of latent entrepreneurship to start-up new firms; iii) skills gaps hinder employment prospects, especially of youth and older workers, due to the inadequate response of the education and training system to changes in the demand for skills; iv) employment is hindered by high implicit taxes on work for those transitioning to work from inactivity or unemployment and barriers that affect especially women, minorities, youth and older workers; and, v) low internal labor mobility prevents labor relocation to places with greater job creation potential. The report argues that to get more people back to work by growing with jobs, countries need to regain the momentum for economic and institutional reforms that existed before the crisis in order to: (i) lay the fundamentals to create jobs for all workers, by pushing reforms to create the enabling environment for existing firms to grow, become more productive, or exit the market and tap on entrepreneurship potential for new firms to emerge and succeed or fail fast and cheap; and (ii) implement policies to support workers so they are prepared to take on the new jobs being created, by having the right skills, incentives and access to work, and being ready to move to places with the highest job creation potential.