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 - 7 of 7
  • Thumbnail Image
    Child Labor : The Role of Income Variability and Access to Credit in a Cross-Section of Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-01) Dehejia, Rajeev H. ; Gatti, Roberta
    Even though access to credit is central to child labor theoretically, little work has been done to assess its importance empirically. Dehejia and Gatti examine the link between access to credit and child labor at a cross-country level. The authors measure child labor as a country aggregate, and proxy credit constraints by the level of financial market development. These two variables display a strong negative (unconditional) relationship. The authors show that even after they control for a wide range of variables-including GDP per capita, urbanization, initial child labor, schooling, fertility, legal institutions, inequality, and openness-this relationship remains strong and statistically significant. Moreover, they find that, in the absence of developed financial markets, households resort to child labor to cope with income variability. This evidence suggests that policies aimed at increasing households' access to credit could be effective in reducing child labor.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Child Labor, Income Shocks, and Access to Credit
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2003-06) Beegle, Kathleen ; Dehejia, Rajeev H. ; Gatti, Roberta
    Although a growing theoretical literature points to credit constraints as an important source of inefficiently high child labor, little work has been done to assess its empirical relevance. Using panel data from Tanzania, the authors find that households respond to transitory income shocks by increasing child labor, but that the extent to which child labor is used as a buffer is lower when households have access to credit. These findings contribute to the empirical literature on the permanent income hypothesis by showing that credit-constrained households actively use child labor to smooth their income. Moreover, they highlight a potentially important determinant of child labor and, as a result, a mechanism that can be used to tackle it.
  • Thumbnail Image
    The Consequences of Child Labor : Evidence from Longitudinal Data in Rural Tanzania
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-07) Beegle, Kathleen ; Dehejia, Rajeev H. ; Gatti, Roberta ; Krutikova, Sofya
    This paper exploits a unique longitudinal data set from Tanzania to examine the consequences of child labor on education, employment choices, and marital status over a 10-year horizon. Shocks to crop production and rainfall are used as instrumental variables for child labor. For boys, the findings show that a one-standard-deviation (5.7 hour) increase in child labor leads 10 years later to a loss of approximately one year of schooling and to a substantial increase in the likelihood of farming and of marrying at a younger age. Strikingly, there are no significant effects on education for girls, but there is a significant increase in the likelihood of marrying young. The findings also show that crop shocks lead to an increase in agricultural work for boys and instead lead to an increase in chore hours for girls. The results are consistent with education being a lower priority for girls and/or with chores causing less disruption for education than agricultural work. The increased chore hours could also account for the results on marriage for girls.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Why Should We Care About Child Labor? The Education, Labor Market, and Health Consequences of Child Labor
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2005-01) Beegle, Kathleen ; Dehejia, Rajeev ; Gatti, Roberta
    Although there is extensive literature on the determinants of child labor and many initiatives aimed at combating it, there is limited evidence on the consequences of child labor on socioeconomic outcomes such as education, wages, and health. The authors evaluate the causal effect of child labor participation on these outcomes using panel data from Vietnam and an instrumental variables strategy. Five years subsequent to the child labor experience, they find significant negative effects on school participation and educational attainment, but also find substantially higher earnings for those (young) adults who worked as children. The authors find no significant effects on health. Over a longer horizon, they estimate that from age 30 onward the forgone earnings attributable to lost schooling exceed any earnings gain associated with child labor and that the net present discounted value of child labor is positive for discount rates of 11.5 percent or higher. The authors show that child labor is prevalent among households likely to have higher borrowing costs, that are farther from schools, and whose adult members experienced negative returns to their own education. This evidence suggests that reducing child labor will require facilitating access to credit and will also require households to be forward looking.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Does Access to Credit Improve Productivity? Evidence from Bulgarian Firms
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-05) Gatti, Roberta ; Love, Inessa
    Although it is widely accepted that financial development is associated with higher growth, the evidence on the channels through which credit affects growth on the micro-level is scant. Using data from a cross section of Bulgarian firms, the authors estimate the impact of access to credit (as proxied by indicators of whether firms have access to a credit or overdraft facility) on productivity. To overcome potential omitted variable bias of OLS estimates, they use information on firms' past growth to instrument for access to credit. The authors find credit to be positively and strongly associated with total factor productivity. These results are robust to a wide range of robustness checks.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Striving for Better Jobs : The Challenge of Informality in the Middle East and North Africa
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-08-26) Gatti, Roberta ; Angel-Urdinola, Diego F. ; Silva, Joana ; Bodor, Andras
    Economic growth has been sustained for many years pre-crisis in the region, but this has not resulted in the creation of an adequate number of jobs and has succeeded, at best, in generating low-quality, informal jobs. The report addresses one margin of exclusion: informal employment and the vulnerabilities and lack of opportunities associated with it. The report analyzes the constraints that prevent informal workers from becoming formal and discusses policy options to effectively address these constraints. This report looks at informality through a human development angle and focuses particularly on informal employment. Informality is a complex phenomenon, comprising unpaid workers and workers without social security or health insurance coverage, small or micro-firms that operate outside the regulatory framework and large registered firms that may partially evade corporate taxes and social security contributions. The first section provides a detailed profile of informal workers in the region. The second section describes the characteristics of informality in micro-firms that operate outside the regulatory framework and in larger firms that do not fully comply with social security contribution requirements and tax obligations. The third section presents informality and the firm. The fourth section focuses on informality: choice or exclusion? The fifth section discusses policy options for effectively expanding coverage of health insurance and pension systems and promoting the creation of better quality jobs.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Labor Market Transitions in Egypt Post-Arab Spring
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-07) Deng, Jingyuan ; Elmallakh, Nelly ; Flabbi, Luca ; Gatti, Roberta
    This paper examines the Arab Republic of Egypt’s labor market transition dynamics post–Arab Spring based on the two most recent rounds of the Egypt Labor Market Panel Survey conducted in 2012 and 2018. In addition to providing disaggregated-level analysis by examining labor market transitions by gender, education, and age groups, the paper provides a cross-country, cross-regional perspective by comparing Egypt’s labor market transitions with Mexico’s, relying on data from the Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo. To match the span of Mexico’s transitions (which are measured over a one-year period) and Egypt’s (which are measured over six years), the analysis uses Monte Carlo simulations of repeated discrete-time Markov chains. Based on these results, the Egyptian labor market appears to be highly rigid compared to the Mexican labor market, which instead shows a large degree of dynamism regardless of individual initial labor market states at baseline. Auxiliary regression analyses focusing on transitions to and from the dominant absorbing labor market states in Egypt —public sector employment for both genders, nonparticipation for women, and the informal sector for men—show that having a post-secondary education is associated with a lower probability of remaining out of the labor force for women who were already out of the labor force at baseline, while being married at baseline is found to be a significant predictor for women to stay out of the labor force if they were already so. Among men, the better educated are found to be more likely to secure formal employment, be it in the public or private sector, and are more likely to keep their public formal jobs once they secure them.