Gatti, Roberta

MENA Chief Economist Office
Profile Picture
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
External Links
MENA Chief Economist Office
Externally Hosted Work
Contact Information
Last updated May 17, 2023
Roberta Gatti is the World Bank’s chief economist of the Middle East and North Africa region and former chief economist of the Human Development Practice Group, where she led the SDI and the Human Capital Index initiatives. She joined the World Bank in 1998 as a Young Professional in the Development Research Group. Her research includes theoretical and empirical contributions to labor and household economics, political economy, growth, and social inclusion. She has authored multiple World Bank flagship reports, including Jobs for Shared Prosperity and Being Fair, Faring Better. She has taught at Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University.

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
  • Thumbnail Image
    Investing in Human Capital: What Can We Learn from the World Bank's Portfolio Data?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-01) Gatti, Roberta ; Mohpal, Aakash
    This paper compiles project-level data from the World Bank's lending history to describe patterns and the composition of its portfolio. The paper focuses particularly on the effect of countries' transition from International Development Association to International Bank for Reconstruction and Development status, which marks the point when countries start borrowing at near market rates, on lending for human development sectors (education, health and social protection). Using country and year fixed effects, which account for unobservable country characteristics (for example, national priorities) and time effects (for example, market interest rates), the paper finds that human development lending decreases when countries graduate from the International Development Association. The average difference in the binary indicator of lending for any sector is 27 percent while it is 60 percent for human development sectors. The share of human development lending (lending by human development Global Practices over total lending) is also 6.9 percentage points (30 percent) lower. This decline in human development lending in International Bank for Reconstruction and Development countries is accompanied by a greater use of budget support. The results are robust to controlling for non-World Bank aid, as well as various alternative specifications and estimation samples.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Domestic Government Spending on Human Capital: A Cross-Country Analysis of Recent Trends
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-10) Andrews, Kathryn ; Avitabile, Ciro ; Gatti, Roberta
    Using a new data set comprised of publicly available information, this paper provides cross-country evidence on domestic government spending for human capital in recent years. Creating a measure of social spending that covers the three sectors of health, education, and social protection has proven to be a challenging task. Only for health spending is there high data coverage over time and across countries. Education and, especially, social protection display large gaps. Increases in social sector spending have generally been slow and unsteady. Although education spending in low-income countries has seen a stable and steady increase, spending on health has been remarkably flat. Human capital outcomes are only weakly correlated with spending in the three sectors. Finally, this paper discusses future research required to provide guidance on how much and what type of investment is needed to achieve high levels of human capital.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Returns to Education in the Marriage Market: Bride Price and School Reform in Egypt
    (World Bank, 2023-05-17) Deng, Jingyuan ; Elmallakh, Nelly ; Flabbi, Luca ; Gatti, Roberta
    This paper posits marriage market returns as a contributing factor to stagnant female labor force participation despite increasing female education. The paper examines the marriage market returns of female education by exploiting a very direct measure of returns: bride price, a significant amount of resources transferred by the groom at the time of marriage. The paper also looks at current and future husband's wages as additional sources of returns. It addresses endogeneity and identification issues by exploiting a school reform in Egypt that reduced the number of years required to complete primary education from six to five. The staggered rollout of the reform generates exogenous sources of variation in female schooling both across and within cohorts and administrative units. The analysis implements an instrumental variable estimator with fixed effects at the cohort and at the administrative unit level. The estimated return to a bride's compulsory education is about 100% for bride price, about 14% for husband's wage at the time of marriage, and about 16% for a measure of husband's permanent income. Importantly, these returns to education in the marriage market are much higher than the returns to education that Egyptian women experience in the labor market. Additional empirical evidence suggests that educational assortative mating could be an important mechanism through which the marriage market returns are taking place.
  • Thumbnail Image
    The Quality of Health and Education Systems Across Africa: Evidence from a Decade of Service Delivery Indicators Surveys
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-11-18) Gatti, Roberta ; Andrews, Kathryn ; Avitabile, Ciro ; Conner, Ruben ; Sharma, Jigyasa ; Yi Chang, Andres
    Have teachers mastered the subject matter they are teaching? Can doctors accurately diagnose and treat critical health conditions? Are schools and health facilities sufficiently stocked with needed equipment and supplies? Are they sufficiently supported and staffed to optimize learning and health care outcomes? For the past decade, the World Bank’s Service Delivery Indicators (SDI) surveys have collected nationally representative data in countries across Africa to answer these questions. The surveys aim to measure the quality of services where they meet citizens: in schools and health facilities. The Quality of Health and Education Systems Across Africa: Evidence from a Decade of Service Delivery Indicators Surveys identifies areas of achievement and constraint in service delivery, shedding light on how service delivery may foster or stunt human capital accumulation. SDI surveys show that schools and health clinics across Africa are still falling short in some critical areas. The delivery of primary care services is very heterogenous between and within countries. Many health facilities lack the basic necessities to provide proper care, such as essential medicines, basic diagnostic equipment, and adequate water and sanitation. Moreover, health care providers’ ability to diagnose and treat common health conditions correctly is low and distributed unevenly. Health personnel’s absence from health facilities remains a concern across the surveyed countries. Learning is low, and, not unlike health care, levels of student learning vary significantly across countries: less than half of grade 4 students can recite a simple sentence or perform basic mathematical operations. This deficient learning is correlated with teachers’ low levels of content knowledge and sub-par pedagogy skills. Some schools are also missing crucial inputs, such as blackboards or private and gendered toilets, and struggle with high pupil-teacher ratios. Despite these challenges, success stories in both sectors illustrate the quality of service delivery that could be achieved and showcase the dedication of teachers and medical staff across Africa. By studying data from thousands of facilities, considering the local context, and drawing insights from the literature, this book offers important insights for how countries can strengthen health and education systems and build back better in the wake of the massive disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Thumbnail Image
    A Primer on Human Capital
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-01) Flabbi, Luca ; Gatti, Roberta
    This note summarizes some of the key contributions in the macro- and micro- economic literature on the pathways linking human capital and income growth. Rather than completeness, the objective of this work is to distill some of the most relevant threads in the evolution of these literatures using a human capital lens, with a view to provide a useful yet parsimonious conceptual framework and an update on empirical results. The note first describes the human capital model (section 1). It then outlines the main theoretical elements of growth theory and presents empirical results from the cross-country regressions and development accounting literature to gauge to what extent human capital affects growth at the aggregate level (sections 2, 3 and 4). The note then reviews the micro empirical literature estimating labor income returns of human capital investments (sections 5 and 6). The conclusion draws comparisons between the two empirical approaches and provides a brief critical assessment on how to interpret the empirical results. Investing in human capital is a promising strategy to attain stable and positive growth. The magnitude of the effects is country-specific and varies depending on the population of interest, the policy under consideration, and the human capital component considered.
  • Thumbnail Image
    A Socioeconomic Disaggregation of the World Bank Human Capital Index
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-09) D'Souza, Ritika ; Gatti, Roberta ; Kraay, Aart
    This paper documents inequality in health and education outcomes by constructing an index of human capital disaggregated by quintiles of socioeconomic status (SES) for a sample 51 mostly low- and middle-income countries. The index measures the expected future human capital of children born today, following the methodology of the World Bank Human Capital Index that was launched in October 2018. Within-country disparities in human capital outcomes across SES quintiles are large, accounting for roughly one-third of the total variation. On average, human capital outcomes increase with income at roughly the same rate across socio-economic groups within countries as they do across countries.