Chief Economist, Africa, World Bank
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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 11
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-04) Dang, Hai-Anh H. ; Dabalen, Andrew L.Absent actual panel household survey data, this paper constructs, for the first time, synthetic panel data for more than 20 countries accounting for two-thirds of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa. In this process, the analysis employs repeated cross sections that span, on average, a six-year period for each country. The analysis suggests that all these countries as a whole have had pro-poor growth. One-third of the poor population escaped poverty during the studied period, which is larger than the proportion of the population that fell into poverty in the same period. The region also saw a 9 percent reduction in poverty and a 28 percent increase in the size of the middle class. However, chronic poverty remains high, and a considerable proportion of the population is vulnerable to falling into poverty. There is some limited evidence that most resource-rich and middle-income countries have more upward mobility than downward mobility. Post-secondary education is especially strongly associated with higher upward mobility and less downward mobility, which holds to some extent for female-headed and urban households.
Publication( 2011-01-01) Dabalen, Andrew ; Paul, SaumikUsing Life in Transition Survey data for 27 transition countries, the findings of this paper suggest that higher life satisfaction is correlated with lesser experience of unpleasant events such as labor market shock or economic distress, mostly in the recent past. Social capital such as trust, participation in civic groups, and financial stability lead to higher satisfaction, whereas lower relative position to a reference group leaves one with lower life satisfaction. The paper also finds substantial regional variation in life satisfaction between European, Balkan, and lower and middle-income Commonwealth of Independent States. Finally, after controlling for various events that took place during the interview and the nature of refusal of the respondents across countries, the authors show that reported life satisfaction is lower if the emotional state is negative during the interview.
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, Washington, DC, 2015-04) Serajuddin, Umar ; Uematsu, Hiroki ; Wieser, Christina ; Yoshida, Nobuo ; Dabalen, AndrewThe Millennium Development Goal of halving the incidence of extreme poverty from its 1990 level will be achieved in 2015, and the international development community is now moving to a new goal of “ending extreme poverty.” However, the data needed to monitor progress remain severely limited. During the 10 year period between 2002 and 2011, as many as 57 countries have zero or only one poverty estimate. This paper refers to such lack of poverty data as “data deprivation,” because the poor are often socially marginalized and voiceless, and the collection of objective and quantitative data is crucial in locating them and formulating policy to help them exit extreme deprivation. This paper studies the extent of data deprivation and proposes targets for ending data deprivation by 2030—the year by when the international community aims to end extreme poverty. According to the analysis in this paper, this target is ambitious but possible, and achieving it is necessary to be able to declare the end of extreme poverty with confidence.
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, Washington, DC, 2015-10) Ferreira, Francisco H. G. ; Chen, Shaohua ; Dabalen, Andrew ; Dikhanov, Yuri ; Hamadeh, Nada ; Jolliffe, Dean ; Narayan, Ambar ; Prydz, Espen Beer ; Revenga, Ana ; Sangraula, Prem ; Serajuddin, Umar ; Yoshida, NobuoThe 2014 release of a new set of purchasing power parity conversion factors (PPPs) for 2011 has prompted a revision of the international poverty line. In order to preserve the integrity of the goalposts for international targets such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the World Bank’s twin goals, the new poverty line was chosen so as to preserve the definition and real purchasing power of the earlier $1.25 line (in 2005 PPPs) in poor countries. Using the new 2011 PPPs, the new line equals $1.90 per person per day. The higher value of the line in US dollars reflects the fact that the new PPPs yield a relatively lower purchasing power of that currency vis-à-vis those of most poor countries. Because the line was designed to preserve real purchasing power in poor countries, the revisions lead to relatively small changes in global poverty incidence: from 14.5 percent in the old method to 14.1 percent in the new method for 2011. In 2012, the new reference year for the global count, we find 12.7 percent of the world’s population, or 897 million people, are living in extreme poverty. There are changes in the regional composition of poverty, but they are also relatively small. This paper documents the detailed methodological decisions taken in the process of updating both the poverty line and the consumption and income distributions at the country level, including issues of inter-temporal and spatial price adjustments. It also describes various caveats, limitations, perils and pitfalls of the approach taken.
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(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, Washington, DC, 2017-07-17) Katayama, Roy ; Dabalen, Andrew ; Nssah, Essama ; Amouzou Agbe, Guy MorelCote d'Ivoire is the world’s leading cocoa producer, supplying nearly 40 percent of world cocoa production. Developments in the cocoa sector can have significant implications for poverty reduction and shared prosperity given that the sector is a source of livelihood for about one-fifth of the population, as well as an important source of export and government revenues. Cocoa pricing has always been a major focus of public policy in the country, and in 2011 the government initiated a new round of cocoa sector reforms seeking to stimulate cocoa production and to secure the livelihoods of cocoa farmers through guaranteed minimum farm-gate prices. Policymakers will certainly like to know the likely impacts of this price policy reform on household welfare and poverty. This paper uses a nonparametric approach to policy incidence analysis to estimate the first-order effects of this policy reform. To assess the pro-poorness of the reform in cocoa pricing, variations in poverty induced by the policy are compared to a benchmark case. While increasing the cocoa farm-gate price has a potential to reduce poverty among cocoa farmers, it turns out that the increase in 2015-2016 translates into a relatively small drop in overall poverty. This variation is assessed to be weakly pro-poor. It is likely that this poverty impact can be amplified by additional policy interventions designed to address the key constraints facing the rural economy such as productivity constraints stemming from factors such as lack of relevant research and development, weak extension services, poor transportation and storage infrastructure, and generally poor provision of relevant public goods. Addressing these issues require a coherent policy framework that can be effectively implemented by accountable institutions to increase the role of agriculture as an engine of inclusive growth in Cote d'Ivoire.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-12) Dabalen, Andrew ; Gaddis, Isis ; Nguyen, Nga Thi VietInternational poverty estimates for countries in Africa commonly rely on national consumer price indexes to adjust trends in nominal consumption over time for changes in the cost of living. However, the consumer price index is subject to various types of measurement bias. This paper uses Engel curve estimations to assess bias in the consumer price index and its implications for estimated poverty trends. The results suggest that in 11 of 16 Sub-Saharan African countries in this study, poverty reduction may be understated because of consumer price index bias. With correction of consumer price index bias, poverty in these countries could fall between 0.8 and 5.7 percentage points per year faster than currently thought. For two countries, however, the paper finds the opposite trend. There is no statistically significant change in poverty patterns after adjusting for consumer price index bias for the other three countries.