Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Externally Hosted Work
Nithin Umapthai works on the welfare state design spanning the design of income transfers, social insurance, and labor market interventions. He co-authored the EAP flagship report on Aging in East Asia and Pacific and has written on wide-ranging topics, including on social protection, education, early childhood interventions, and econometrics of program evaluation. He has published in peer reviewed journals such as Journal of Applied Econometrics, World Development, Journal of Development Studies, Journal of African Economies, Journal of Development Effectiveness, Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies and Asia Pacific Viewpoint. Over the last few years he has been active in advisory and technical assistance roles in supporting energy subsidy reforms.
Publication Search Results
Publication(World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2004-01) Lokshin, Michael ; Umapathi, Nithin ; Paternostro, StefanoThe authors analyze the subjective perceptions of poverty in Madagascar in 2001 and their relationship to objective poverty indicators. They base their analysis on survey responses to a series of subjective perception questions. The authors extend the existing empirical methodology for estimating subjective poverty lines on the basis of categorical consumption adequacy questions. Based on this methodology they calculate the household-specific, subjective poverty lines and compare the poverty profiles derived from different subjective welfare questions. The results show that the aggregate poverty measures derived from consumption adequacy questions accord quite well with the poverty measures based on objective poverty lines. The subjective welfare analysis can be used in poor developing countries for evaluating socioeconomic and distributional impacts of various policy interventions.
Eligibility Thresholds for Minimum Living Guarantee Programs : International Practices and Implications for China(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-11) Umapathi, Nithin ; Wang, Dewen ; O'Keefe, PhilipUsing a simple framework, this paper discusses the underlying reason of the variation of threshold level in developed countries, from the least generous 20 percent to around 60 percent of median wage, with an average of 35 percent. The generosity of minimum guarantee social assistance programs is deeply rooted in social values and principles that further underpin the policy objectives. Many Organizations for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries set their policy targets for minimum living standard programs beyond basic needs and aim to guarantee a minimum socially acceptable level for a decent living. Thresholds are also refined to reflect the differences in family size and demographic structure, difference in regional cost of living and changes in prices and local wages. In some countries the thresholds show some regional variation due to local discretionary powers of sub-national authorities to set the threshold depending on the co-financing mechanisms. These lessons are valuable for China as the Chinese government has made efforts to standardize the implementation and management of its own minimum income guarantee (Di Bao) programs. The policy recommendations for China include accelerating the convergence of localized approaches, raising the administrative level for setting thresholds to higher level, defining the roles of central and local governments in financing and management, and establishing a transparent budgetary management system to transfer and allocate social assistance funds.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-12) Galasso, Emanuela ; Umapathi, NithinThis paper provides evidence of the effects of a large-scale intervention that focuses on the quality of nutritional and child care inputs during the early stages of life. The empirical strategy uses a combination of double-difference and weighting estimators in a longitudinal survey to address the purposive placement of participating communities and estimate the effect of the availability of the program at the community level on nutritional outcomes. The authors find that the program helped 0-5 year old children in the participating communities to bridge the gap in weight for age z-scores and the incidence of underweight. The program also had significant effects in protecting long-term nutritional outcomes (height for age z-scores and incidence of stunting) against an underlying negative trend in the absence of the program. Importantly, the effect of the program exhibits substantial heterogeneity: gains in nutritional outcomes are larger for more educated mothers and for villages with better infrastructure. The program enables the analysis to isolate responsiveness to information provision and disentangle the effect of knowledge in the education effect on nutritional outcomes. The results are suggestive of important complementarities among child care, maternal education, and community infrastructure.
Publication(World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2014-08) Golan, Jennifer ; Sicular, Terry ; Umapathi, NithinThis paper examines China's rural minimum living standard guarantee (dibao) program, one of the largest targeted transfer schemes in the world. Using household survey data matched with published administrative data, the authors provide background on the patterns of inequality and poverty in rural China, describe the dibao program, estimate the program's impact on poverty, and carry out targeting analysis. The authors find that the program provides sufficient income to poor beneficiaries but does not substantially reduce the overall level of poverty, in part because the number of beneficiaries is small relative to the number of poor. Conventional targeting analysis reveals rather large inclusionary and exclusionary targeting errors; propensity score targeting analysis yields smaller but still large targeting errors. Simulations of possible reforms to the dibao program indicate that expanding coverage can potentially yield greater poverty reduction than increasing transfer amounts. In addition, replacing locally diverse dibao lines with a nationally uniform dibao threshold can in theory reduce poverty. The potential gains in poverty reduction, however, depend on the effectiveness of targeting.
Unconditional Cash Transfers in China: An Analysis of the Rural Minimum Living Standard Guarantee Program(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-07) Golan, Jennifer ; Sicular, Terry ; Umapathi, NithinThis paper examines China’s rural minimum living standard guarantee (dibao) program, one of the largest minimum income cash transfer schemes in the world. Using household survey data matched with published administrative data, the paper describes the dibao program, estimates the program’s impact on poverty, and carries out targeting analysis. The analysis finds that the program provides sufficient income to poor beneficiaries but does not substantially reduce the overall level of poverty, in part because the number of beneficiaries is small relative to the number of poor. Conventional targeting analysis reveals rather large inclusionary and exclusionary targeting errors; propensity score targeting analysis yields smaller but still large targeting errors. Simulations of possible reforms to the dibao program indicate that expanding coverage can potentially yield greater poverty reduction than increasing transfer amounts. In addition, replacing locally diverse dibao lines with a nationally uniform dibao threshold could in theory reduce poverty. The potential gains in poverty reduction, however, depend on the effectiveness of targeting.
Publication( 2011-11-01) Carneiro, Pedro ; Lokshin, Michael ; Ridao-Cano, Cristobal ; Umapathi, NithinThis paper estimates average and marginal returns to schooling in Indonesia using a non-parametric selection model estimated by local instrumental variables, and data from the Indonesia Family Life Survey. The analysis finds that the return to upper secondary schooling varies widely across individual: it can be as high as 50 percent per year of schooling for those very likely to enroll in upper secondary schooling, or as low as -10 percent for those very unlikely to do so. Returns to the marginal student (14 percent) are well below those for the average student attending upper secondary schooling (27 percent).