Robalino, Robalino, David A.

Labor and Youth, Human Development Network, World Bank, Employment and Development Program, German Institute of Labor (IZA)
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Labor markets, Social Insurance
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Labor and Youth, Human Development Network, World Bank
Employment and Development Program, German Institute of Labor (IZA)
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Last updated January 31, 2023
David Robalino is the Lead Economist and Leader of the Labor and Youth Team in the Human Development Anchor of the World Bank.  He also serves as Co-Director of the Employment and Development program at IZA – the Institute for the Study of the Labor.  Since joining the Bank David has been working on issues related to social security, labor markets and fiscal policy. He has worked in several countries in Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia.  David has published on issues related to macroeconomics and labor markets, social insurance and pensions, health financing, the economics of HIV/AIDS, and the economics of climate change.  More recently David has been working on issues related to the design of unemployment benefits systems in middle income countries, the extension of social insurance programs to the informal sector, and the integration of social protection and education/training policies to improve labor market outcomes and productivity growth.  Prior to joining the Bank David was a researcher at the RAND Corporation where he was involved in research on health, population and labor, climate change, and the development of quantitative methods for policy analysis under conditions of uncertainty.  David also served in the Presidential Committee for Social Security Reform in Ecuador.  David did his graduate studies at the Sorbonne University in Paris and the RAND Graduate School in Santa Monica – California.  

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 11
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    HIV/AIDS in the Middle East and North Africa : The Costs of Inaction
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003) Jenkins, Carol ; Robalino, David A.
    This book reviews the human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) situation in the Middle East, North Africa, and Eastern Mediterranean (MENA/EM) region, and is intended to stimulate discussion and promote dialogue among the region's policy and decisionmakers. It seeks to provide a framework for multisectoral strategic action to reduce behaviors that risk spreading HIV, to care for and support those who become infected, and to diminish vulnerability among specific segments of society. Although most evidence suggests that overall HIV prevalence is low in the region, greater investments in improved surveillance, and care needed now-to maintain low prevalence levels and preserve the focus on national and regional development goals.
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    Labor Market Policies under a Youth Bulge : How to Benefit from Demographic Dividend in Pakistan
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-12) Robalino, David ; Cho, Yoonyoung
    This paper assesses labor market trends and outcomes in Pakistan over the past decade. It shows that despite a high rate of employment growth, labor market outcomes have been disappointing: most jobs have been created in low productivity sectors/activities, and even if they provide a minimum level of income to often avoid poverty, they remain low quality jobs providing little or no protection to workers against shocks. In addition, female participation rates for women are very low and there are large income disparities between rural and urban areas, and across sectors. A fundamental part of the problem is the low level of education of the labor force. Pakistan is currently in the midst of a demographic transition that is bringing a growing number of youth into the labor market. This youth bulge that is unwinding opens both challenges and opportunities. Challenges because of the need to create enough jobs to employ new entrants; Opportunities, because if this is done the country will enjoy a demographic dividend , as the share of those employed relative to the dependent increases, driving up income per capita and standards of living.
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    Does Fiscal Decentralization Improve Health Outcomes? Evidence from a Cross-Country Analysis
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2001-03) Robalino, David A. ; Picazo, Oscar F. ; Voetberg, Albertus
    Decentralization of fiscal responsibilities has emerged as a primary objective on the agendas of national governments, and international organizations alike. Yet there is little empirical evidence on the potential benefits of this intervention. The authors fill in some quantitative evidence. Using panel data on infant mortality rates, GDP per capita, and the share of public expenditures managed by local governments, they find greater fiscal decentralization is consistently associated with lower mortality rates. The results suggest that the benefits of fiscal decentralization are particularly important for poor countries. They suggest also that the positive effects of fiscal decentralization on infant mortality, are greater in institutional environments that promote political rights. Fiscal decentralization also appears to be a mechanism for improving health outcomes in environments with a high level of ethno-linguistic fractionalization, however, the benefits from fiscal decentralization tend to be smaller.
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    On the Financial Sustainability of Earnings-Related Pension Schemes with “Pay-As-You-Go” Financing and the Role of Government Indexed Bonds
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-07) Robalino, David A. ; Bodor, András
    In this paper the authors reconsider the idea of an earnings-related pension system with reserves invested in indexed government bonds as a mechanism to both ensure financial sustainability and improve security. They start by reviewing the characterization of the sustainable rate of return of an earnings-related pension system with pay-as-you-go financing. The authors show that current proxies for the sustainable rate, including the Swedish "gyroscope," are not stable and propose an alternative measure that depends on the growth of the buffer-stock and the pay-as-you-go asset. Using a simple one-sector macroeconomic model that embeds a notional account pension system they then show how GDP indexed government bonds, if combined with the right measure for the sustainable rate of return on contributions, could be used to generate a sustainable and secure earnings-related pension system, without becoming a fiscal burden. The proposal is particularly attractive for countries considering reforms to earnings-related systems that have accumulated a large implicit pension debt. In this case, the government bonds allow the financing of this debt in a transparent way. The proposed mechanism can also facilitate the transition to a fully-funded pension system when the government bonds are allowed to be traded.
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    Nonfinancial Defined Contribution Pension Schemes in a Changing Pension World : Volume 1. Progress, Lessons, and Implementation
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2012) Holzmann, Robert ; Palmer, Edward ; Robalino, David
    Pensions and social insurance programs are an integral part of any social protection system. Their dual objectives are to prevent a sharp decline in income and protect against poverty resulting from old age, disability, or death. The critical role of pensions for protection, prevention, and promotion was reiterated and expanded in the new World Bank 2012-2022 social protection strategy. This new strategy reviews the success and challenges of the past decade or more, during which time the World Bank became a main player in the area of pensions. But more importantly, the strategy takes the three key objectives for pensions under the World Bank's conceptual framework coverage, adequacy, and sustainability and asks how these objectives and the inevitable difficult balance between them can best be achieved. The ongoing focus on closing the coverage gap with social pensions and the new outreach to explore the role of matching contributions to address coverage and/or adequacy is part of this strategy. This comprehensive anthology on nonfinancial defined contribution (NDC) pension schemes is part and parcel of the effort to explore and document the working of this new system or reform option and its ability to balance these three key objectives. This innovative, unfunded individual accounts scheme provides a promising option at a time when the world seems locked into a stalemate between piecemeal reform of ailing traditional defined benefit plans or their replacement with prefunded financial account schemes. The current financial crisis, with its focus on sovereign debt, has enhanced the attraction of NDC as a pension scheme that aims for intra and intergenerational fairness, offers a transparent framework to distribute economic and demographic risks, and, if well designed, promises long-term financial stability. Supplemented with a basic minimum pension guarantee, explicit noncontributory rights, and a funded pillar, the NDC approach provides an efficient framework for addressing poverty and risk diversification concerns.
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    From Right to Reality : Incentives, Labor Markets, and the Challenge of Universal Social Protection in Latin America and the Caribbean
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2012-03-13) Ribe, Helena ; Robalino, David A. ; Walker, Ian
    This series was created in 2003 to promote debate, disseminate information and analysis, and convey the excitement and complexity of the most topical issues in economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean. This volume aims to move the debate forward by: 1) developing a common policy framework for the region's Social Protection (SP) system as a whole, including health insurance; 2) providing guidelines on ways to extend coverage through rationalizing financing mechanisms and the design of redistributive arrangements; and 3) making the case for improved coordination of policies and programs. Building on careful, detailed analysis of a wealth of data on social protection programs across Latin America and the Caribbean, this book addresses these challenges in a thorough yet accessible manner. Although the analysis is comprehensive, the authors focus primarily on three fundamental questions that must be faced by any effort to strengthen social protection in the region: how can programs protect the most vulnerable without promoting informality and dampening incentives to work and save? How can programs ensure that scarce public resources are used for subsidies that are transparent, fair, and effective-and not for badly targeted and regressive benefits for formal sector workers? Finally, how can programs reinforce human capital development so that the more mobile workers that the region needs are able to insure themselves through savings or risk-pooling arrangements, thus reducing vulnerability and the need for subsidies?
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    The Risks and Macroeconomic Impacts of HIV/AIDS in the Middle East and North Africa : Why Waiting to Intervene Can Be Costly
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-08) Robalino, David A. ; Jenkins, Carol ; El Maroufi, Karim
    The authors develop a model of optimal growth to assess the risks of an HIV/AIDS epidemic and the expected economic impact in nine countries in the Middle East and North Africa region-Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and Yemen. The model incorporates an HIV/AIDS diffusion component based on two transmission factors-sexual intercourse and exchange of infected needles among intravenous drug users. Given high levels of uncertainty on the model parameters that determine the dynamics of the epidemic and its economic impact, the authors explore large regions of the parameter space. The prevalence rates in year 2015 would be below 1 percent in 16 percent of the cases, while they would be above 3 percent in 50 percent of the cases. On average, GDP losses across countries for 2000-2025 could approximate 35 percent of today's GDP. In all countries it is possible to observe scenarios where losses surpass today's GDP. The authors quantify the impact of expanding condom use and access to clean needles for intravenous drug users. They show that these interventions act as an insurance policy that increases social welfare. They also show that delaying action for five years can cost, on average, the equivalent of six percentage points of today's GDP.
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    Social Protection in Latin America : Achievements and Limitations
    ( 2010-05-01) Ferreira, Francisco H.G. ; Robalino, David
    Social protection systems in Latin America have been transformed in the past two decades. Until the 1980s, those who were not covered by the social security arrangements available primarily in the urban formal sector received little public assistance beyond universal subsidies for some food or fuel purchases. Since the 1990s, the introduction of non-contributory social insurance programs (including "social pensions") and conditional cash transfers has substantially extended the coverage and improved the incidence of social assistance. However, the organic growth of subsidized social assistance in parallel to the older social insurance system, financed largely out of taxes on formal sector employment, has led to a dual system that is neither properly equitable nor efficient. The twin challenges that now face social protection in Latin America are to better integrate those two halves of the system, and to develop programs that promote sustainable self-reliance, by moving from "safety nets" to "opportunity ropes."
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    Labor Policy to Promote Good Jobs in Tunisia : Revisiting Labor Regulation, Social Security, and Active Labor Market Programs
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015) Angel-Urdinola, Diego F. ; Nucifora, Antonio ; Robalino, David ; Angel-Urdinola, Diego F. ; Nucifora, Antonio ; Robalino, David
    Tunisians are striving for the opportunity to realize their potential and aspirations in a country that is rich in both human and physical capital, but whose recent economic growth has failed to create enough opportunities in the form of good and productive jobs. This report highlights the main barriers that hinder the Tunisian labor market from providing income, protection, and prosperity to its citizens and proposes a set of labor policies that could facilitate the creation of better, more inclusive, and more productive jobs. The weak economic performance and insufficient and low-quality job creation in Tunisia is primarily the result of an economic environment permeated by distortions, barriers to competition, and excessive red tape, including in the labor market. This has resulted in the creation of a insufficient number of jobs, especially in the formal sector. To change this situation, policy makers need to address five strategic directives that can promote long-term inclusive growth and formality: foster competition; realign incentives, pay, and benefit packages in the public sector; move toward labor regulations that promote labor mobility and provide support to workers in periods of transition; enhance the productivity of informal workers through training and skills building; and reform existing social insurance systems and introduce new instruments to attain broader coverage.
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    Achieving Effective Social Protection for All in Latin America and the Caribbean : From Right to Reality
    (World Bank, 2010) Ribe, Helena ; Robalino, David A. ; Walker, Ian
    Slow progress in improving the coverage of Latin America and the Caribbean's (LAC's) traditional social protection (SP) programs, combined with the deepening of democracy, have led to calls for a new social contract to provide effective social protection to all citizens. This book highlights the main findings of a regional study by the World Bank, from right to reality: how Latin America and the Caribbean can achieve universal social protection by improving redistribution and adapting programs to labor markets. The report analyzes LAC's social insurance (SI) systems and highlights growing concerns about the incentives they may create and the behaviors they may incite on the part of workers, employers and service providers. It offers an economic analysis of the roots of these problems and suggests a way forward to achieve universal coverage in an equitable manner. The report argues that a coherent overall vision for the SP system should be established if such problems are to be understood and resolved. The goal is to turn the theoretical right to social protection, which is enshrined in many of the region's constitutions and laws, into a reality for all of LAC's population. A central message of the report is that SP systems need to respond to the realities of LAC's labor markets, especially the prevalence of informality and frequent changes of employment.