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Islam, Asif M.

Development Economics, Enterprise Analysis Group
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Development Economics, Enterprise Analysis Group
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Last updated: January 31, 2024
Citations 65 Scopus

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 29
  • Publication
    Does Paternity Leave Matter for Female Employment in Developing Economies?: Evidence from Firm Data
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-03) Amin, Mohammad; Islam, Asif; Sakhonchik, Alena
    For a sample of 53 developing countries, the results show that women's employment among private firms is significantly higher in countries that mandate paternity leave versus those that do not. A conservative estimate suggests an increase of 6.8 percentage points in the proportion of women workers associated with the mandating of paternity leave.
  • Publication
    Discriminatory Environment, Firms' Discriminatory Behavior, and Women's Employment in the Democratic Republic of Congo
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-04) Muzi, Silvia; Hyland, Marie; Islam, Asif
    This paper contributes to better understanding firms' discriminatory behavior in the presence of gender-based legal discrimination and its linkages with labor market outcomes for women in a developing country setting. Using data collected through the World Bank Enterprise Surveys in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the paper documents the existence of nonnegligible employer discrimination and limitations in women's autonomy in the presence of a discriminatory environment. Interestingly, these are more pervasive outside the capital city, Kinshasa, which suggests that cultural norms or differences in regulation enforcement may be at play. The paper also finds that firms' discriminatory behavior harms women's labor market outcomes, in their representation among the upper echelons of management and participation in the overall workforce. The negative relationship between restrictions from discriminatory behaviors and female employment is particularly strong in the manufacturing sector.
  • Publication
    The Time Cost of Documents to Trade
    (Taylor and Francis, 2015-06-04) Amin, Mohammad; Islam, Asif
    The article shows that the number of documents required to export and import tend to increase the time cost of shipments. However, the increase in the time cost of increased documentation is much larger for countries that are relatively poor and large in size. One interpretation here is that the relatively rich countries that have more resources and the relatively small countries that rely more on trade invest more in building efficient documentation systems. Our findings suggest caution in interpreting how input-based measures, such as the number of required documents to trade, affect outcome measures.
  • Publication
    Decomposing the Labor Productivity Gap between Upper-Middle-Income and High-Income Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-12) Amin, Mohammad; Islam, Asif; Khalid, Usman
    Using firm-level survey data on registered private firms collected by the World Bank's Enterprise Surveys, this paper compares the level of labor productivity in 22 upper-middle-income countries and 11 high-income countries for which comparable data are available. The results show that labor productivity in the upper-middle-income countries is about 57.5 percent lower than in the high-income countries. The productivity difference is robust and holds for firms of different sizes and industries. The analysis uses the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition to identify the sources of the productivity gap. It finds that the endowment effect and the structural effect contribute roughly equally to the productivity gap. Several firm- and country-level variables determine the productivity gap. The biggest contributors via the endowment effect include tertiary education attainment, law and order, and quality management proxied by international quality certification. Factors that contribute most via the structural effect include market size, secondary education attainment, and law and order. Thus, the results underline the importance of human capital, institutions, and market size for closing the productivity gap between the upper-middle-income and high-income countries.
  • Publication
    The Burden of Water Shortages on Informal Firms
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-05) Islam, Asif
    The informal sector in developing economies is a significant source of livelihood for a sizable portion of the population. This study uncovers the effect of poor water infrastructure on the productivity of informal firms. This is achieved using firm-level data for 12 developing economies between 2009 and 2014. The findings indicate that an increase of one standard deviation of the total duration of water shortages in a month can lead to annual average losses of about 14.5 percent of the monthly sales per worker for the average informal firm in the sample that uses water for business activities.
  • Publication
    Does Paternity Leave Matter for Female Employment in Developing Economies?: Evidence from Firm-Level Data
    (Taylor and Francis, 2016-07-06) Amin, Mohammad; Islam, Asif; Sakhonchik, Alena
    Analysis using firm-level data for a sample of 33,302 firms in 53 developing countries shows that women’s employment among private firms is significantly higher in countries that mandate paternity leave versus those that do not. A conservative estimate suggests an increase of 6.8 percentage points in the proportion of women workers associated with mandating paternity leave. The empirical specification is immune to spurious correlations that affect the level of women and men employment equally and also robust to a large number of controls for country and firm characteristics.
  • Publication
    An Exploration of the Relationship between Police Presence, Crime, and Business in Developing Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-02) Islam, Asif
    Economic theory predicts that a rise in police presence will reduce criminal activity. However several studies in the literature have found mixed results. This study adds to the literature by exploring the relationship between the size of the police force and crime experienced by firms. Using survey data for about 12,000 firms in a cross-section of 27 developing countries, the study finds that increasing the size of the police force is negatively associated with crime experienced by firms. The results are confirmed using a panel of firms for a subset of countries for which data are available. The study also finds that this negative relationship is stronger under certain macro-economic circumstances.
  • Publication
    Middle East and North Africa Economic Update, April 2020: How Transparency Can Help the Middle East and North Africa
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020-04-09) Arezki, Rabah; Lederman, Daniel; Abou Harb, Amani; El-Mallakh, Nelly; Fan, Rachel Yuting; Islam, Asif; Nguyen, Ha; Zouaidi, Marwane
    Due to the dual shocks of the spread of the virus and lower oil prices, World Bank economists expect output of MENA to decline in 2020. This is in sharp contrast to the growth forecast of 2.6 percent published in October 2019. The growth downgrade of 3.7 percentage points is arguably a measure for the costs associated with the dual shocks of Covid-19 and the oil price collapse. These numbers are tentative. The true impact depends on future developments of the dual shocks, policy and society’s response, which depends on the transparent use of health and economic data. We recommend a two-step approach: It might be desirable to focus first on responding to the health emergency and the associated economic contraction. Fiscal consolidation and structural reforms associated with the persistent drop in oil prices and pre-existing challenges are also very important, but with proper external support, can wait until the health emergency subsides. Nevertheless, the MENA region has challenges that predate the crisis – it has been growing far slower than its peers. Had MENA’s growth of output per capita been the same as that of a typical peer economy over the past two decades, the region’s real output per capita would be at least 20% higher than what it is today. A large part of MENA’s low growth is arguably due to a lack of transparency. MENA is the only region that dropped in data transparency and capacity since 2005. We estimate that this has cost MENA 7-14 percent in GDP per capita losses since 2005. Lack of transparency hinders credible analyses of many important issues, two of which are highlighted in the report. First, lack of data transparency hampers credible analyses on the region’s debt sustainability – an important issue to examine after the crisis. MENA countries vary greatly in their debt reporting standards. World Bank economists and other external analysts do not have access to vital information about many types of public debt. Second, the unemployment and informality numbers in the region are debatable since MENA countries rely on varying definitions of employment with little harmonization across the region or with respect to international standards. This affects analyses of unemployment and informality.
  • Publication
    Human Capital Accumulation at Work: Estimates for the World and Implications for Development
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-09) Jedwab, Remi; Romer, Paul; Islam, Asif; Samaniego, Roberto
    In this paper, the authors: (i) study wage-experience profiles and obtain measures of returns to potential work experience using data from about 24 million individuals in 1,084 household surveys and census samples across 145 countries; (ii) show that returns to work experience are strongly correlated with economic development—workers in developed countries appear to accumulate twice more human capital at work than workers in developing countries; (iii) use a simple accounting framework to find that the contribution of work experience to human capital accumulation and economic development might be as important as the contribution of education itself; and (iv) employ panel regressions to investigate how changes in the returns over time correlate with several factors such as economic recessions, transitions, and human capital stocks.
  • Publication
    Women Managers and the Gender-Based Gap in Access to Education: Evidence from Firm-Level Data in Developing Countries
    (Taylor and Francis, 2015-10-06) Islam, Asif
    A number of studies explore the differences in men's and women's labor market participation rates and wages. Some of these differences have been linked to gender disparities in education access and attainment. The present paper contributes to this literature by analyzing the relationship between the proclivity of a firm having a top woman manager and access to education among women relative to men in the country. The study combines the literature on women's careers in management, which has mostly focused on developed countries, with the development literature that has emphasized the importance of access to education. Using firm-level data for seventy-three developing countries in 2007–10, the study finds strong evidence that countries with a higher proportion of top women managers also have higher enrollment rates for women relative to men in primary, secondary, and tertiary education.