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 15
Publication(Taylor and Francis, 2014-04-01) Hoogeveen, Johannes ; Croke, Kevin ; Dabalen, Andrew ; Demombynes, Gabriel ; Giugale, MarceloAs mobile phone ownership rates have risen in Africa, there is increased interest in using mobile telephony as a data collection platform. This paper draws on two pilot projects that use mobile phone interviews for data collection in Tanzania and South Sudan. In both cases, high frequency panel data have been collected on a wide range of topics in a manner that is cost effective, flexible and rapid. Attrition has been problematic in both surveys, but can be explained by the resource and organizational constraints that both surveys faced. We analyze the drivers of attrition to generate ideas for how to improve performance in future mobile phone surveys.
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, 2015-10) 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, 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, Washington, DC, 2020-06) Dabalen, Andrew ; Himelein, Kristen ; Rodriguez Castelan, CarlosThe Data for Policy (D4P) initiative (D4P) is a new World Bank engagement to improve National Statistical Systems (NSS) by enhancing the availability, timeliness, quality, and relevance of key data for evidence-based decision making. Working at national and regional levels, the D4P ‘package’ includes production of a core set of economic, social, and sustainability statistics essential for monitoring and evaluating public policies and programs. Good quality, timely, and relevant statistics are crucial to monitor social and human development outcomes. They can also help identify what policies work, and which do not, in promoting inclusive growth and eradicating poverty. Having reliable, timely data is particularly important for poor countries to allow them to allocate limited resources most efficiently. At the same time, the World Bank’s support for countries’ statistical capacity has become even more critical as the world strives to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2017-05-31) Dabalen, Andrew ; de la Fuente, Alejandro ; Goyal, Aparajita ; Karamba, Wendy ; Nguyen, Nga Thi Viet ; Tanaka, TomomiBy most accounts, rural Malawi has lacked dynamism in the past decade. Growth has been mostly volatile, in large part due to unstable macroeconomic fundamentals evidenced by high inflation, fiscal deficits, and interest rates. When rapid economic growth has materialized, the gains have not always reached the poorest. Poverty remains high and the rural poor face significant challenges in consistently securing enough food. Several factors contribute to stubbornly high rural poverty. They include a low-productivity and non-diversified agriculture, macroeconomic and recurrent climatic shocks, limited non-farm opportunities and low returns to such activities, especially for the poor, and poor performance from some of the prominent safety net programs. The Report proposes complementary policy actions that offer a possible path for a more dynamic and prosperous rural economy. The key pillars of this comprise macroeconomic stability, increased productivity in agriculture, faster urbanization, better functioning safety nets, and more inclusive financial markets. Some recommendations call for a reorientation of existing programs such as the Malawi Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) and the Malawi Social Action Fund Public Works Program (MASAF-PWP). Others identify promising new areas of intervention, such as the introduction of digital IDs and biometric technologies to enhance the reach of mobile banking and deepen financial inclusion. Finally, and importantly, the report recommends the scaling up of investments on girls’ secondary education to curb early child marriage and early child bearing among adolescents. This will empower women at home and work and bend the trajectory of fertility rates in rural areas in order to boost human development and reduce poverty.