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 33
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    Labor Markets in Low and Middle-Income Countries : Trends and Implications for Social Protection and Labor Policies
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-03) Cho, Yoonyoung ; Margolis, David N. ; Newhouse, David ; Robalino, David A.
    This paper reviews labor market trends throughout the developing world, identifies issues and policy priorities across groups of countries, and derives implications for the World Bank's new social protection and labor strategy. Five key issues are identified: a high and growing share of the labor force that is self?employed or working in household enterprises, exposure to income shocks with limited access to risk management systems, low female participation rates, high youth unemployment rates, and the need to manage migration flows and remittances. The paper then details a three pronged agenda based on providing incentives and conditions for work, improving the efficiency of job creation, and managing risks / facilitating labor market transitions. This suggests that the Bank should emphasize self?employment and entrepreneurship promotion, provision of skills and development opportunities, and facilitation of labor market transitions into and between jobs, while protecting workers from shocks and paying particular attention to youth.
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    The Right Skills for the Job? Rethinking Training Policies for Workers
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2012) Almeida, Rita ; Behrman, Jere ; Robalino, David ; Almeida, Rita ; Behrman, Jere ; Robalino, David
    This book addresses the question of how to build and upgrade job relevant skills. Specifically, the authors focus on three types of training programs relevant for individuals who are leaving formal general schooling or are already in the labor market: pre-employment technical and vocational education and training (TVET); on-the-job training (OJT); and training-related active labor market programs (ALMPs). ALMPs are usually of shorter duration and target individuals who are seeking a second chance and who do not have access to TVET or OJT; these are often low-skilled unemployed or informal workers. Contrary to training-related ALMPs, pre-employment TVET is usually offered within the formal schooling track and tends to be administered by the ministries of education. The book discusses the main justifications for these programs and how they relate to market failures that can lead to underinvestment in training and misalignment between supply and demand for skills. Unfortunately, governments are also prone to failure and many of the programs that countries have adopted today are part of the problem and not the solution. This book proposes options to improve the design and implementation of current skills development systems. Clearly, the authors cannot cover all issues in detail. Training methods among TVET, OJT, and ALMP programs are quite different, ranging from classroom instruction, laboratory research, TVET workshops, and apprenticeship arrangements and internships in firms. All have different challenges and specificities. The report highlights the most important design features of the different programs and points to the main knowledge gaps and areas for future research and analysis. The book is organized into five chapters. Following this overview, chapter two introduces the policy framework that guides the analysis in the book. This framework describes the main market and government failures that require attention and identifies potential interventions to address them. Chapter's three to five then discuss the main challenges facing, respectively, TVET, OJT, and training-related ALMP programs and outlines recommendations to address them. The rest of this overview summarizes the main messages from each of the chapters and in the last section outlines the main knowledge gaps and proposes an agenda for future research and policy analysis.
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    Building Social Protection and Labor Systems : Concepts and Operational Implications
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-03) Robalino, David A. ; Rawlings, Laura ; Walker, Ian
    This paper presents a framework for designing and implementing social protection and labor (SP&L) systems in middle and low income countries. Although the term 'system' is used to describe a country's set of social protection programs, these tend to operate independently with little or no coordination even when they have the same policy objective and target similar population groups. The paper argues that enhancing coordination across SP&L policies, programs, and administrative tools has the potential to enhance both individual program performance as well as the overall provision of social protection across programs. The first part of the paper discusses the characteristics of well?designed social protection systems. It also points to the gains and some of the risks - of moving toward systems, including: (i) more effective risk management in crisis and non?crisis periods; (ii) improved financial sustainability; (iii) more equitable redistribution; (iv) economies of scale in administration; and (v) better incentives. The second part discusses issues related to design and implementation based on country studies for Brazil, Chile, India, Niger, Romania, and Vietnam. It suggests three levels of engagement to support the design of SP&L systems: (a) at the policy level, defining how different instruments (e.g., savings, risk pooling, redistribution) interact, and coordinating financing mechanisms and institutional arrangements; (b) at the program level, improving the design of individual programs and creating synergies with other programs within and across social protection functions; and (c) at the administrative level, setting up basic 'nuts and bolts' tools that can work across programs, such as beneficiary identification and registry, payment mechanisms, and management information systems. The last part of the paper outlines some of the implications of a systems vision for the World Bank's social protection and labor practice.
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    Assessing Interactions among Education, Social Insurance, and Labor Market Policies in Morocco
    (Taylor and Francis, 2011-06-24) Marouani, Mohamed A. ; Robalino, David A.
    This article develops a general equilibrium model to assess the impact that integrated reforms of macroeconomic, education and social protection policies can have on employment. The model presents three innovations. First, it formalizes the production of skills in the economy by following sex–age cohorts through the various levels of the education and training systems, given dropout and repetition rates. Second, it incorporates a module that projects social insurance expenditures as a function of the demographic structure of the country and the rules of the pension system. Finally, it develops a very detailed description of the labour market, where informality reflects strategic decisions by workers and not necessarily exclusion. The model is applied to Morocco. The results of various simulations illustrate the importance of coordinating macro, education and social protection policies in order to achieve meaningful effects on employment levels. In particular, we show that isolated interventions to improve the internal efficiency of the education system can aggravate the unemployment problem; that subsidies to investments are more efficient in sectors intensive in skilled labour; and that not controlling the growth of pension expenditures and the tax-wedge can depress employment in the formal sector.
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    Working through the Crisis : Jobs and Policies in Developing Countries during the Great Recession
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2014) Banerji, Arup ; Newhouse, David ; Paci, Pierella ; Robalino, David ; Banerji, Arup ; Newhouse, David ; Paci, Pierella ; Robalino, David
    This book looks back both at how the Great Recession affected employment outcomes in developing countries and at how governments responded. The chapters bring together a unique compilation of data and analysis from very different sources, including an inventory of policies implemented during the crisis among countries in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. The overall story is that the impacts of the crisis varied considerably. The effect depended on the size of the original shock, the channels through which it was manifested, the structure of institutions in the country -- especially labor institutions -- and the specific policy responses undertaken by countries in response to the shock. While these factors led outcomes to differ across the countries studied, a few common patterns emerged. In terms of impacts, overall adjustments involved reductions in earnings growth rather than employment growth, although the quality of employment was also affected. Youth were doubly affected, being more likely to both experience unemployment and reduced wages. Men seemed to have been more strongly affected than women. In most countries where data are available, there were no major differences between skilled and unskilled workers or those living in urban or rural areas. In terms of policy responses, this crisis was characterized by a high prevalence of active interventions in the labor market and the expansion of income protection systems, as well as countercyclical stimulus. Countercyclical stimulus measures in a number of countries, when timed well and sufficiently large to mitigate the shock, were effective in reducing adverse employment effects. Specific sectoral stimulus policies also had positive effects when well-targeted. But social protection and labor market policy responses were often ad-hoc and not in line with the types of adjustments that were taking place. As a result, these policies and programs did not necessarily reach those who needed them the most and typically were biased toward formal sector workers. In retrospect, there is a sense that developing countries were not well prepared to deal with the effects of the Great Recession, suggesting room for important reforms to social protection and labor policies moving forward.
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    Youth Employment : A Human Development Agenda for the Next Decade
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-06) Robalino, David ; Margolis, David ; Rother, Friederike ; Newhouse, David ; Lundberg, Mattias
    This paper reviews the main challenges facing countries in attempting to improve labor market outcomes among youth, focusing on the issues that became starkly visible during the recent financial crisis. In order to better identify and set up human development interventions, the paper proposes an agenda that focuses on three areas: (1) improving the understanding of the causes and consequences of poor labor market outcomes for youth; (2) continuing to learn from the evaluation of pilots and programs that aim to promote productive employment among young people; and (3) addressing implementation issues which frequently overwhelm the best designs. The paper utilizes research on youth employment to take stock of youth labor market outcomes across regions, focusing on inactivity, unemployment, and employment indicators. A review of what is known about current interventions, including those that appear in the youth employment Inventory database of programs, provides the basis for determining the efficacy of five categories of intervention: (i) skills training (including vocational training, on-the-job-training programs, literacy and numeracy programs, second-chance and equivalency programs, and soft-skills programs); (ii) entrepreneurship promotion (financial assistance, technical assistance, and entrepreneurship training); (iii) subsidized employment (including wage subsidy programs, public works, and public/community service programs); (iv) employment services (including search assistance and access to labor market information, job counseling and placement services, and financial assistance for job search); and (v) reforms to labor market regulation (including anti-discrimination legislation) training programs, wage subsidies. Finally, the paper proposes an agenda for research and policy analysis in the area of human development that is expected to help both deepen the understanding of youth employment issues and improve the selection, design, and implementation of youth employment programs.
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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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    Assessing Interactions among Education, Social Insurance, and Labor Market Policies in a General Equilibrium Framework : An Application to Morocco
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-07) Marouani, Mohamed A. ; Robalino, David A.
    This paper develops a general equilibrium model to analyze the marginal and joint impacts that alternative macroeconomic, education, and social protection policies have on the dynamics of employment and unemployment by skill level. The model introduces a disaggregated treatment of the labor market that incorporates an informal sub-sector in every sector of the economy. The analysis explicitly models the distribution of skills in the labor force by following over time sex-age cohorts across various levels of the education system and in the labor market. And it integrates a module that projects the revenues and expenditures of the pension system. The model is applied to the case of Morocco. Simulations show that even under positive assumptions regarding economic growth, unemployment rates are likely to remain close to current levels in the next decade. The paper argues that only an integrated package of policies that affect the macro-economy, the investment climate, and the education and social protection systems would allow sustainable creation of enough "good quality" jobs.
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    Assessing the Distortions of Mandatory Pensions on Labor Supply Decisions and Human Capital Accumulation : How to Bridge the Gap between Economic Theory and Policy Analysis
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-09) Bodor, András ; Robalino, David ; Rutkowski, Michal
    Mandatory pension systems play a major role in individual savings and labor supply decisions. In particular, it is well known that defined benefit pension schemes, which are not actuarially fair, can create incentives for early retirement and therefore reduce labor supply and the stock of human capital in a given country. This is an important policy issue in middle-income countries, with still low participation rates in the labor force, where the "window" opened by the demographic transition is already closed or will close in the near future. In these countries, policies to stimulate private sector growth, competitiveness, and employment creation should be accompanied by policies that increase labor force participation, raising the ratio of active to inactive population and therefore the potential for higher income per capita growth. Unfortunately, the analytical tools developed to assess pension reform options tend to focus on the financial sustainability of the schemes and the adequacy of benefits. Little attention is given in practice to the social costs imposed by distortions on the supply of labor. In part, this is given by the lack of analytical tools that, in the context of limited information regarding individual preferences and behavior, can be used to assess the magnitude of these distortions. This paper develops methodologies that can bridge the gap between economic theory and the practices of pension policy personnel under conditions of deep uncertainty regarding the variables driving individual behavioral responses to policy changes. First, the paper develops an indicator to predict the age-specific retirement probabilities induced by a particular pension system, given heterogeneous individual preferences over risk, consumption, and leisure. The paper then describes how this indicator can be used to project the size of the labor force by gender, age and skill level and therefore the dynamics of human capital accumulation. The integration of these two analytical tools allow us to show the impact of a particular pension reform proposals on the dynamics of labor supply, human capital and, given the dynamics of capital and total factor productivity, economic growth. Furthermore, the paper develops a set of life-cycle income measures for typical individual paths that allow us to measure the contribution of segmented pension schemes to the segmentation of the labor market. The methods are applied to the case of Morocco.
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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.