Chief Economist, Africa, World Bank
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Poverty, Inequality, Economics of education, Development economics, Labor economics
Chief Economist, Africa, World Bank
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated January 31, 2023
Andrew Dabalen is the World Bank’s Africa Region Chief Economist since July 1, 2022. The Chief Economist is responsible for providing guidance on strategic priorities and the technical quality of economic analysis in the region, as well as for developing major regional economic studies, among other roles. He has held various positions including Senior Economist in the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia Region, Lead Economist and Practice Manager for Poverty and Equity in Africa and most recently, Practice Manager for Poverty and Equity in the South Asia Region. His research and scholarly publications focused on poverty and social impact analysis, inequality of opportunity, program evaluation, risk and vulnerability, labor markets, and conflict and welfare outcomes. He has co-authored regional reports on equality of opportunity for children in Africa, vulnerability and resilience in the Sahel, and poverty in a rising Africa. He holds a master’s degree in International Development from University of California - Davis, and a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from University of California - Berkeley.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 14
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2004-11) Baingana, Florence ; Dabalen, Andrew ; Menye, Essimi ; Prywes, Menahem ; Rosholm, MichaelThis paper presents analysis of data from a survey of 5,599 respondents aged 10 years and older conducted country-wide in Burundi in 1998-99. The paper estimates statistically significant relationships between indicators of poor mental health and several social and economic outcomes. Most importantly, a worsening of mental health is associated with a decline in employment and with a decline in school enrollment of the subject's children. No relationship is found between mental health and poverty, once adjustments are made for demographic and regional influences. It argues that poor mental health diminishes people's participation in work and investment in their children's education through dysfunction resulting from psychiatric trauma and depression. Economic theory holds that investment in human capital, such as in education, will depend in part on expectations about the return on the investment.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2004-12) Dabalen, Andrew ; Paternostro, Stefano ; Pierre, GaëlleIn this paper, we investigate the differences in outcomes (earnings and consumption) between individuals (households) who participate in the non-farm sector and those who do not. We use propensity score matching methods, where we create appropriate comparison groups of individuals and households. First we find that non-farm self-employed individuals in rural Rwanda have significantly higher earnings than farm workers and non-farm formal employees. Second, we show that the benefits to non-farm self-employment are much higher among the non-poor than among the poor. Third, we show that diversified households, those with a farm and a non-farm enterprise, are less likely to be poor. Finally, farm households who do not participate in the market have significantly lower consumption levels than households that do. However, the benefits to market participation appear to matter less for the poor than for the non-poor. We find little difference in expenditures between market participants and non-market participants, for comparable households in the bottom 40% of the expenditure distribution.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-06) Dabalen, Andrew L. ; Paul, SaumikThis paper estimates the causal effects of civil war on years of education in the context of a school-going age cohort that is exposed to armed conflict in Cote d'Ivoire. Using year and department of birth to identify an individual's exposure to war, the difference-in-difference outcomes indicate that the average years of education for a school-going age cohort is .94 years fewer compared with an older cohort in war-affected regions. To minimize the potential bias in the estimated outcome, the authors use a set of victimization indicators to identify the true effect of war. The propensity score matching estimates do not alter the main findings. In addition, the outcomes of double-robust models minimize the specification errors in the model. Moreover, the paper finds the outcomes are robust across alternative matching methods, estimation by using subsamples, and other education outcome variables. Overall, the findings across different models suggest a drop in average years of education by a range of .2 to .9 fewer years.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015) Dabalen, Andrew ; Narayan, Ambar ; Saavedra-Chanduvi, Jaime ; Suarez, Alejandro Hoyos ; Abras, Ana ; Tiwari, SaileshThis study explores the changing opportunities for children in Africa. While the definition of opportunities can be subjective and depend on the societal context, this report focuses on efforts to build future human capital, directly (through education and health investments) and indirectly (through complementary infrastructure such as safe water, adequate sanitation, electricity, and so on). It follows the practice of earlier studies conducted for the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region (Barros et al. 2009, 2012) where opportunities are basic goods and services that constitute investments in children. Although several opportunities are relevant at different stages of an individual s life, our focus on children s access to education, health services, safe water, and adequate nutrition is due to the well-known fact that an individual s chance of success in life is deeply influenced by access to these goods and services early in life. Children s access to these basic services improves the likelihood of a child being able to maximize his/her human potential and pursue a life of dignity.
Publication(World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2014-09) Dabalen, Andrew ; Graham, Errol ; Himelein, Kristen ; Mungai, RoseIn much of the developing world, the demand for high frequency quality household data for poverty monitoring and program design far outstrips the capacity of the statistics bureau to provide such data. In these environments, all available data sources must be leveraged. Most surveys, however, do not collect the detailed consumption data necessary to construct aggregates and poverty lines to measure poverty directly. This paper benefits from a shared listing exercise for two large-scale national household surveys conducted in Liberia in 2007 to explore alternative methodologies to estimate poverty indirectly. The first is an asset-based model that is commonly used in Demographic and Health Surveys. The second is a survey-to-survey imputation that makes use of small area estimation techniques. In addition to a standard base model, separate models are estimated for urban and rural areas and an expanded model that includes climatic variables. Special attention is paid to the inclusion of cell phones, with implications for other assets whose cost and availability may be changing rapidly. The results demonstrate substantial limitations with asset-based indexes, but also leave questions as to the accuracy and stability of imputation models.
Publication(World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2014-11) Oseni, Gbemisola ; McGee, Kevin ; Dabalen, AndrewThis paper examines the determinants of agricultural productivity and its link to poverty using nationally representative data from the Nigeria General Household Survey Panel, 2010/11. The findings indicate an elasticity of poverty reduction with respect to agricultural productivity of between 0.25 to 0.3 percent, implying that a 10 percent increase in agricultural productivity will decrease the likelihood of being poor by between 2.5 and 3 percent. To increase agricultural productivity, land, labor, fertilizer, agricultural advice, and diversification within agriculture are the most important factors. As commonly found in the literature, the results indicate the inverse-land size productivity relationship. More specifically, a 10 percent increase in harvested land size will decrease productivity by 6.6 percent, all else being equal. In a simulation exercise where land quality is assumed to be constant across small and large holdings, the results show that if farms in the top land quintile had half the median yield per hectare of farms in the lowest quintile, production of the top quintile would be 10 times higher. The higher overall values of harvests from larger land sizes are more likely because of cultivation of larger expanses of land, rather than from efficient production. It should be noted that having larger land sizes in itself is not positively correlated with a lower likelihood of being poor. This is not to say that having larger land sizes is not important for farming, but rather it indicates that increasing efficiency is the more important need that could lead to poverty reduction for agricultural households.
Publication(World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2015-01) Alfani, Federica ; Dabalen, Andrew ; Fisker, Peter ; Molini, VascoAlthough resilience has become a popular concept in studies of poverty and vulnerability, it has been difficult to obtain a credible measure of resilience. This difficulty is because the data required to measure resilience, which involves observing household outcomes over time after every exposure to a shock, are usually unavailable in many contexts. This paper proposes a new method for measuring household resilience using readily available cross section data. Intuitively, a household is considered resilient if there is very little difference between the pre- and post-shock welfare. By obtaining counterfactual welfare for households before and after a shock, households are classified as chronically poor, non-resilient, and resilient. This method is applied to four countries in the Sahel. It is found that Niger, Burkina Faso, and Northern Nigeria have high percentages of chronically poor: respectively, 48, 34, and 27 percent. In Senegal, only 4 percent of the population is chronically poor. The middle group, the non-resilient, accounts for about 70 percent of the households in Senegal, while in the other countries it ranges between 34 and 38 percent. Resilient households account for about 33 percent in all countries except Niger, where the share is around 18 percent.
Publication(World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2015-01) Alfani, Federica ; Dabalen, Andrew ; Fisker, Peter ; Molini, VascoThis study estimates marginal increase in malnutrition for children ages 1-3 years from exposure to an extreme shock in the West African Sahel. The study uses knowledge of a child's birth and high resolution spatial and temporal distribution of shocks, calculated from the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index and satellite-based measures of rainfall and temperature to link a child to the shock experienced in-utero. The study finds that while around 20 percent of the children in the sample are stunted or underweight, more than 30 percent of the children in the sample are highly vulnerable to either form of malnutrition.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2016-03) Beegle, Kathleen ; Christiaensen, Luc ; Dabalen, Andrew ; Gaddis, IsisPerceptions of Africa have changed dramatically. Viewed as a continent of wars, famines and entrenched poverty in the late 1990s, there is now a focus on “Africa rising” and an “African 21st century.” Two decades of unprecedented economic growth in Africa should have brought substantial improvements in well-being. Whether or not they did, remains unclear given the poor quality of the data, the nature of the growth process (especially the role of natural resources), conflicts that affect part of the region, and high population growth. Poverty in a Rising Africa documents the data challenges and systematically reviews the evidence on poverty from monetary and nonmonetary perspectives, as well as a focus on dimensions of inequality. Chapter 1 maps out the availability and quality of the data needed to track monetary poverty, reflects on the governance and political processes that underpin the current situation with respect to data production, and describes some approaches to addressing the data gaps. Chapter 2 evaluates the robustness of the estimates of poverty in Africa. It concludes that poverty reduction in Africa may be slightly greater than traditional estimates suggest, although even the most optimistic estimates of poverty reduction imply that more people lived in poverty in 2012 than in 1990. A broad-stroke profile of poverty and trends in poverty in the region is presented. Chapter 3 broadens the view of poverty by considering nonmonetary dimensions of well-being, such as education, health, and freedom, using Sen's (1985) capabilities and functioning approach. While progress has been made in a number of these areas, levels remain stubbornly low. Chapter 4 reviews the evidence on inequality in Africa. It looks not only at patterns of monetary inequality in Africa but also other dimensions, including inequality of opportunity, intergenerational mobility in occupation and education, and extreme wealth in Africa.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-04) Chuhan-Pole, Punam ; Dabalen, Andrew L. ; Kotsadam, Andreas ; Sanoh, Aly ; Tolonen, AnjaGhana is experiencing its third gold rush, and this paper sheds light on the socioeconomic impacts of this rapid expansion in industrial production. The paper uses a rich data set consisting of geocoded household data combined with detailed information on gold mining activities, and conducts two types of difference-in-differences estimations that provide complementary evidence. The first is a local-level analysis that identifies an economic footprint area very close to a mine; the second is a district-level analysis that captures the fiscal channel. The results indicate that men are more likely to benefit from direct employment as miners and that women are more likely to gain from indirect employment opportunities in services, although these results are imprecisely measured. Long-established households gain access to infrastructure, such as electricity and radios. Migrants living close to mines are less likely to have access to electricity and the incidence of diarrheal diseases is higher among migrant children. Overall, however, infant mortality rates decrease significantly in mining communities.