Person:
Dabalen, Andrew

Chief Economist, Africa, World Bank
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Poverty, Inequality, Economics of education, Development economics, Labor economics
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Chief Economist, Africa, World Bank
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Last updated: January 31, 2023
Biography
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 63 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 33
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A Global Count of the Extreme Poor in 2012: Data Issues, Methodology and Initial Results

2015-10, Ferreira, Francisco H. G., Chen, Shaohua, Dabalen, Andrew, Prydz, Espen Beer, Jolliffe, Dean, Narayan, Ambar, Serajuddin, Umar, Revenga, Ana

The 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.

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Who Is Bearing the Burden? Exploring the Role of Albanian International Migration on Education

2010, Dabalen, Andrew

The literature on migration has documented the benefits of sending migrants abroad, but much less attention has been paid to the adverse consequences of international migration on those left behind. In this paper, we examine the role of international migration on the accumulation of human capital in Albania. We ask whether investment in human capital of children growing up in households with international migrants is higher compared with children in households without migrants. We find that, across various model specifications, international migration has a negative effect on education in Albania, with larger negative effects for females in rural areas.

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The Local Socioeconomic Effects of Gold Mining: Evidence from Ghana

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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Welfare and Poverty Impacts of Cocoa Price Policy Reform in Cote d'Ivoire

2017-07-17, Katayama, Roy, Dabalen, Andrew, Nssah, Essama, Amouzou Agbe, Guy Morel

Cote 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.

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Do African Children Have an Equal Chance? : A Human Opportunity Report for Sub-Saharan Africa

2015, Dabalen, Andrew, Narayan, Ambar, Saavedra-Chanduvi, Jaime, Abras, Ana, Tiwari, Sailesh

This 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.

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The Short-Run Impact of Import Bans on Poverty: The Case of Nigeria (2008–2012)

2018-06, Dabalen, Andrew

The Nigerian government uses food import prohibition as part of policies that seeks to protect existing domestic producers and reduce the country's dependence on imports. This paper argues that such policies have negative effects on net consumers of such products due to higher prices. With 70 percent of poor households' budget spent on food, and about 13 percent of the total budget devoted to products subject to import bans, poor households are vulnerable to such trade policies. Prices of some import prohibited food products are found to be higher than what they would be in the absence of such bans. The elimination of import bans is estimated to reduce national poverty rates by as much as 2.6 percentage points.

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Mobile Phone Panel Surveys in Developing Countries: A Practical Guide for Microdata Collection

2016-06-23, Dabalen, Andrew, Etang, Alvin, Schipper, Youdi, von Engelhardt, Johannes

Household survey data are very useful for monitoring living conditions of citizens of any country. In developing countries, a lot of this data are collected through “traditional” face-to-face household surveys. Due to the remote and dispersed nature of many populations in developing countries, but also because of the complex nature of many survey questionnaires, collection of timely welfare data has often proved expensive and logistically challenging. Yet, there is a need for faster, cheaper to collect, lighter, more nimble data collection methods to address data gaps between big household surveys. The recent proliferation of mobile phone networks has opened new possibilities. By combining baseline data from a traditional household survey with subsequent interviews of selected respondents using mobile phones, this facilitates welfare monitoring and opinion polling almost real time. The purpose of this handbook is to contribute to the development of the new field of mobile phone data collection in developing countries. The handbook documents how this innovative approach to data collection works, its advantages and challenges. The handbook draws primarily from the authors’ first-hand experiences with mobile phone surveys in Africa and also benefits from experiences elsewhere. It is intended to serve a diverse audience including those involved in collecting (representative) data using mobile phones, and those using data collected through this approach. For those who will be implementing a mobile phone panel survey, the different chapters guide them through every stage of the implementation process. For potential users of the data collected via mobile phone technology, the handbook presents a new approach to data collection which they can use for monitoring programs and facilitate almost real time decision-making. A further purpose of this book is to contribute to the debate regarding the advantages of the method as well as the challenges associated with it.

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Estimating Poverty in the Absence of Consumption Data : The Case of Liberia

2014-09, Dabalen, Andrew, Himelein, Kristen, Mungai, Rose

In 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.

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Can Agricultural Households Farm Their Way Out of Poverty?

2014-11, Oseni, Gbemisola, McGee, Kevin, Dabalen, Andrew

This 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.

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Collecting High-Frequency Data Using Mobile Phones : Do Timely Data Lead to Accountability?

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.