Dabalen, Andrew

Chief Economist, Africa, World Bank
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Poverty, Inequality, Economics of education, Development economics, Labor economics
Chief Economist, Africa, World Bank
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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.
Citations 53 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
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    Collecting High-Frequency Data Using Mobile Phones : Do Timely Data Lead to Accountability?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-01) Croke, Kevin ; Dabalen, Andrew ; Demombynes, Gabriel ; Giugale, Marcelo ; Hoogeveen, Johannes
    As mobile phone ownership rates have risen dramatically in Africa, there has been increased interest in using mobile telephones as a data collection platform. This note draws on two largely successful pilot projects in Tanzania and South Sudan that used mobile phones for high-frequency data collection. Data were collected on a wide range of topics and in a manner that was cost-effective, flexible, and rapid. Once households were included in the survey, they tended to stick with it: respondent fatigue has not been a major issue. While attrition and nonresponse have been challenges in the Tanzania survey, these were due to design flaws in that particular survey, challenges that can be avoided in future similar projects. Ensuring use of the data to demand better service delivery and policy decisions turned out to be as challenging as collecting the high-quality data. Experiences in Tanzania suggest that good data can be translated into public accountability, but also demonstrate that just putting data out in the public domain is not enough. This note discusses lessons learned and offers suggestions for future applications of mobile phone surveys in developing countries, such as those planned for the World Bank's "Listening to Africa" initiative.
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    Collecting High Frequency Panel Data in Africa Using Mobile Phone Interviews
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-06) Croke, Kevin ; Dabalen, Andrew ; Demombybes, Gabriel ; Giugale, Marcelo ; Hoogeveen, Johannes
    As 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. The experience was largely a success. High frequency panel data have been collected on a wide range of topics in a manner that is cost effective, flexible (questions can be changed over time) and rapid. And once households respond to the mobile phone interviews, they tend not to drop out: even after 33 rounds of interviews in the Tanzania survey, respondent fatigue proved not to be an issue. Attrition and non-response have been an issue in the Tanzania survey, but in ways that are related to the way this survey was originally set up and that are fixable. Data and reports from the Tanzania survey are available online and can be downloaded from:
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    Estimating the Effects of Conflict on Education in Côte d’Ivoire
    (Taylor and Francis, 2014-12-14) Dabalen, Andrew L. ; Paul, Saumik
    This article evaluates the effect of armed conflict on years of schooling in Côte d’Ivoire. We combine differences in conflict intensity across departments and differences across age cohorts to identify an individual’s indirect exposure to conflict. The difference-in-difference outcomes indicate that the average years of education for a school-going-age cohort is 0.94 years fewer compared to an older cohort in conflict-affected regions. We further use a set of victimization indicators to identify the direct effect of conflict. Overall, the findings across different models suggest a drop in average years of education by a range of 0.2 to 0.9 fewer years. The estimated effect is larger for males and individuals between 19 and 22 years of age.
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    Poverty in a Rising Africa
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2016-03) Beegle, Kathleen ; Christiaensen, Luc ; Dabalen, Andrew ; Gaddis, Isis
    Perceptions 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.
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    The Local Socioeconomic Effects of Gold Mining: Evidence from Ghana
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-04) Chuhan-Pole, Punam ; Dabalen, Andrew L. ; Kotsadam, Andreas ; Sanoh, Aly ; Tolonen, Anja
    Ghana 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.
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    Mining in Africa: Are Local Communities Better Off?
    (Washington, DC: World Bank and Agence Francaise de developpement, 2017-02-21) Chuhan-Pole, Punam ; Dabalen, Andrew L. ; Land, Bryan Christopher ; Lewin, Michael ; Sanoh, Aly ; Smith, Gregory ; Tolonen, Anja
    This study focuses on the local and regional impact of large-scale gold mining in Africa in the context of a mineral boom in the region since 2000. It contributes to filling a gap in the literature on the welfare effects of mineral resources, which, until now, has concentrated more on the national or macroeconomic impacts. Economists have long been intrigued by the paradox that a rich endowment of natural resources may retard economic performance, particularly in the case of mineral-exporting developing countries. Studies of this phenomenon, known as the “resource curse,” examine the economy-wide consequences of mineral exports. Africa’s resource boom has lifted growth, but has been less successful in improving people’s welfare. Yet much of the focus in academic and policy circles has been on appropriate management of the macro-fiscal and governance risks that have historically undermined development outcomes. This study focuses instead on the fortune of local communities where resources are located. It aims to better inform public policy and corporate behavior on the welfare of communities in Africa in which the extraction of resources takes place.