Poverty and Equity Global Practice of the World Bank
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Labor economics, Poverty, Inequality, Migration
Poverty and Equity Global Practice of the World Bank
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Hernan Winkler is a Senior Economist in the Poverty and Equity Global Practice. He specializes in labor economics, migration, and the sources and consequences of inequality and poverty. His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals including the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Development Economics and the Journal of Human Resources. He has led several World Bank reports including Reaping Digital Dividends: Leveraging the Internet for Development in Europe and Central Asia. Before joining the World Bank, he was a Researcher at CEDLAS. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 10
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-05) Winkler, Hernan ; Montenegro, MiriamBy many measures, the Dominican Republic experienced a stellar economic performance since the early 2000s. Upon closer inspection, however, progress has been slower than the aggregate indicators suggest. The fact that economic growth did not fully translate into higher job quality may help explain why the country’s poverty indicators only declined at the same average pace as other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, even though its per capita gross domestic product (GDP) grew almost twice as fast as the regional average. This Jobs Diagnostic argues that the main labor market challenge facing the Dominican Republic is how to increase the quality of jobs in a sustained manner. Meeting this challenge is important both for achieving greater poverty reduction and shared prosperity in the medium term, as well as for rendering jobs less vulnerable to the risks posed by longer-term automation and globalization trends. This report presents new findings on the main bottlenecks that are hindering the creation of better jobs in the Dominican Republic and outlines the elements of a jobs strategy that can help remove them.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-01-31) Lo Bello, Salvatore ; Sanchez Puerta, Maria Laura ; Winkler, HernanThere is a growing body of literature exploring the skill content ofjobs. This article contributes to this research by using data on thetask content of occupations from developing countries, instead of US data as most existing studies do. It finds that US-based indexes do not provide a fair approximation of the levels, changes and drivers of the routine cognitive and non-routine manual skill content of jobs in developing countries. The authors also uncover three new stylized facts. First, while developed countries tend to have jobsmore intensive in non-routine cognitive skills than developing ones, income (both in growth and levels) is not associated with the skill content of jobs once other factors are accounted for. Second,while ICT adoption is linked to job de-routinization, international trade is an off setting force. Last, ICT adoption is correlated with lower employment growth in countries with a high share of occupations intensive in routine tasks.
Publication(Taylor and Francis, 2016-12-09) Winkler, HernanThis article provides new evidence on the impact of the internet on migration decisions. I find that an increase in internet adoption among migrant-sending countries reduces the stock of migrants from these locations. The results are robust to a number of specifications, including an instrumental variable approach that addresses the endogeneity of internet adoption. The findings suggest that the internet may weaken the importance of push factors in the decision to migrate, and that these effects outweigh declines in mobility costs.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-11) Bussolo, Maurizio ; Torre, Ivan ; Winkler, Hernan ; Torre, IvánEarnings inequality and job polarization have increased significantly in several countries since the early 1990s. Using data from European countries covering a 20-year period, this paper provides new evidence that the decline of middle-skilled occupations and the simultaneous increase of high- and low-skilled occupations are important factors accounting for the rise of inequality, especially at the bottom of the distribution. Job polarization accounts for a large share of the increasing inequality between the 10th and the 50th percentiles, but it explains little or none of the increasing inequality between the 50th and 90th percentiles. Other important developments during this period, such as changing wage returns, higher educational attainment, and increased female labor force participation, account for a small portion of the changes in inequality.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-01) Bandiera, Antonella ; Dinarte, Lelys ; Rozo, Sandra V. ; Schmidt-Padilla, Carlos ; Sviatschi, María Micaela ; Winkler, HernanCan repatriation inflows impact firm behavior in origin countries? This paper examines this question in the context of repatriation inflows from the United States and Mexico to El Salvador. The paper combines a rich longitudinal data set covering all formal firms in El Salvador with individual-level data on all registered repatriations from 2010 to 2017. The empirical strategy combines variation in the municipality of birth of individuals repatriated over 1995-2002—before a significant change in deportation policies—with annual variation in aggregate inflows of repatriations to El Salvador. The findings show that repatriations have large negative effects on the average wages of formal workers. This is mainly driven by formal firms in sectors that face more intense competition from the informal sector, which deportees are more likely to join. Repatriation inflows also reduce total employment among formal firms in those sectors. Given that most deportees spend less than a month abroad, these findings suggest that the experience of being detained and deported can have strong negative effects not only on the deportees, but also on their receiving communities.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-05) Cueva, Ronald ; Del Carpio, Ximena ; Winkler, HernanThis paper provides new evidence on the impacts of the COVID-19 economic crisis on a labor market with a high prevalence of informality. The analysis uses a rich longitudinal household survey for Peru that contains a host of individual and job outcomes before and during the first months of the lockdown in 2020. The findings show that workers who had jobs in non-essential and informal sectors were significantly more likely to become unemployed. In contrast to developed countries, having a job amenable to working from home is not correlated with job loss when controlling for informal status. This is consistent with the high level of labor market segmentation observed in Peru, where high-skilled occupations are disproportionately concentrated in the formal sector, which was also better targeted by policies aimed at supporting firms and job protection during the crisis. In addition, the findings show that women were more likely to lose their jobs because female-dominated sectors are more intensive in face-to-face interactions and thereby more affected by social distancing measures. Increased childcare responsibilities also help explain the worse impacts on women in rural areas. Finally, workers who depended on public transportation before the crisis were more likely to lose their jobs during the early months of the pandemic.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-10) Rodríguez-Castelán, Carlos ; Vazquez, Emmanuel ; Winkler, HernanEvidence on the effect of exports on welfare at the local level is scarce. Using a unique data set of international trade and poverty maps for almost 2,000 Mexican municipalities between 2004 and 2014, the study presented in this paper provides new evidence on the impact of a significant rise in exports on poverty and inequality at the local level. The analysis implements an instrumental variable approach that combines the initial structure of exports across municipalities with global trends in exports from developing to developed countries by sector. The results show that a 10 percent increase in the ratio of exports to workers reduces income inequality measured by the Gini coefficient by 0.17 point (using a 0 to 100 scale), but no significant effects on poverty reduction or average household incomes are identified. The lack of impacts on average incomes is driven by a rise in the supply of labor at the local level because municipalities with higher export growth experienced an increase in labor force participation and attracted more net migration, particularly of unskilled workers. Therefore, while total labor incomes grew in response to an increase in exports, average labor income per worker did not change. Declining remittances also blunted the effect of growing exports on household incomes.
Publication(Elsevier, 2016-05) Enamorado, Ted ; López-Calva, Luis F. ; Rodríguez-Castelán, Carlos ; Winkler, HernánThe goal of this paper is to examine the effect of inequality on crime rates in a unique context, Mexico's drug war. The analysis exploits an original dataset containing inequality and crime statistics on more than 2000 Mexican municipalities over a 20-year period. To uncover the causal effect of inequality on crime, we use an instrumental variable for the Gini coefficient that combines the initial income distribution at the municipality level with national trends. Our estimates indicate that a one-point increment in the Gini coefficient between 2007 and 2010 translates into an increase of more that 36% in the number of drug-related homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. The fact that the effect found during the drug war is substantially greater is likely caused by the rise in rents to be extracted through crime and an expansion in the employment opportunities in the illegal sector through the proliferation of drug trafficking organizations (DTOs), accompanied by a decline in legal job opportunities and a reduction in the probability of being caught given the resource constraints faced by the law enforcement system. Combined, the latter factors made the expected benefits of criminal activity shift in a socially undesirable direction after 2007.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-10) Rozo, Sandra ; Winkler, HernanThis paper examines the effects of large inflows of internally displaced persons (IDP), who are primarily absorbed by the informal sector, on the behavior of formal manufacturing firms in Colombia. To identify causal effects, the analysis employs annual, firm-level panel data between 1995 and 2010 and exploits that when conflict intensifies, forcefully displaced individuals tend to migrate to municipalities where people from their origin locations settled earlier. The paper finds that large inflows of IDP induce sizable, negative effects on the intensive and extensive margins of production of formal firms. These effects are stronger for firms operating in sectors that face a stronger competition from the informal economy.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-05) Bahia, Kalvin ; Castells, Pau ; Cruz, Genaro ; Masaki, Takaaki ; Pedros, Xavier ; Pfutze, Tobias ; Rodriguez-Castelan, Carlos ; Winkler, Hernan ; Pfutze, TobiasThis paper estimates the impacts of mobile broadband coverage on household consumption and poverty in Nigeria, the largest economy and mobile broadband market in Africa. The analysis exploits a unique dataset that integrates three waves of a nationally representative longitudinal household survey on living standards with information from Nigerian mobile operators on the deployment of mobile broadband (3G and 4G) coverage between 2010 and 2016. The estimates show that mobile broadband coverage had large and positive impacts on household consumption levels which increased over time, although at a decreasing rate. Mobile broadband coverage also reduces the proportion of households below the poverty line, driven by higher food and non-food consumption in rural households. These effects are mainly due to an increase in labor force participation and employment, particularly among women.