Rigolini, Jamele

Latin America and Caribbean
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Social Development, Sustainable Development
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Latin America and Caribbean
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Last updated: October 16, 2023
Jamele Rigolini has been the World Bank Program Leader for Human Development and Poverty for Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. His areas of expertise include social protection, human development, labor markets, poverty, gender and entrepreneurship/innovation policies. Prior to joining the World Bank, he was an assistant professor of economics at the University of Warwick (UK). He also worked for the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and McKinsey & Co.  At the World Bank, he worked in the East Asia and Pacific region, where he managed lending projects and advisory activities in the areas of labor markets and social protection. He also managed the World Bank’s flagship reports for Latin America and maintained close dialogue with other international organizations, as well as with Latin American academic institutions and think tanks. Jamele Rigolini holds a degree in physics from the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and a Ph.D. in economics from New York University. He has published articles in several economics journals, including the Journal of Public Economics, the Journal of Development Economics, Economic Letters and World Development.   
Citations 1 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 25
  • Publication
    Pathways to Formalization: Going Beyond the Formality Dichotomy -- The Case of Peru
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-08) Díaz, Juan José; Chacaltana, Juan; Rigolini, Jamele; Ruiz, Claudia
    Too often, academics and policy makers interpret formality as a binary choice and formalization as an irreversible process. Yet, formalization has many facets and shades on the business and labor fronts, and firms may not be able or willing to formalize all at once. This paper explores the joint process of business and labor formalization, using a unique panel data set of Peruvian micro enterprises. The paper finds that business formality does not imply labor formality, and vice versa. Further, there is significant churning in and out of different dimensions of formality within a relatively short period. Using an instrumental variable approach, the paper infers that business formalization affects labor formalization but not the other way around, and that enforcement is a key driver of formalization. Overall, the analysis shows that formalization is a gradual and reversible process, with small entrepreneurs weighing their possibilities in each pathway to business (often) or labor (less often) formalization, but rarely both at the same time.
  • Publication
    Poverty, Inequality, and the Local Natural Resource Curse
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-02) Loayza, Norman; Mier y Teran, Alfredo; Rigolini, Jamele
    The extent to which local communities benefit from commodity booms has been subject to wide but inconclusive investigations. This paper draws from a new district-level database to investigate the local impact on socioeconomic outcomes of mining activity in Peru, which grew almost twentyfold in the last two decades. The authors find evidence that producing districts have better average living standards than otherwise similar districts: larger household consumption, lower poverty rate, and higher literacy. However, the positive impacts from mining decrease significantly with administrative and geographic distance from the mine, while district-level consumption inequality increases in all districts belonging to a producing province. The inequalizing impact of mining activity, both across and within districts, may explain part of the current social discontent with mining activities in the country, even despite its enormous revenues.
  • Publication
    Economic Mobility and the Rise of the Latin American Middle Class
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2013) Ferreira, Francisco H.G.; Messina, Julian; Rigolini, Jamele; López-Calva, Luis-Felipe; Lugo, Maria Ana; Vakis, Renos
    After decades of stagnation, the size of Latin America's middle class recently expanded to the point where, for the first time ever, the number of people in poverty is equal to the size of the middle class. This volume investigates the nature, determinants and possible consequences of this remarkable process of social transformation. We propose an original definition of the middle class, tailor-made for Latin America, centered on the concept of economic security and thus a low probability of falling into poverty. Given our definition of the middle class, there are four, not three, classes in Latin America. Sandwiched between the poor and the middle class there lies a large group of people who appear to make ends meet well enough, but do not enjoy the economic security that would be required for membership of the middle class. We call this group the 'vulnerable'. In an almost mechanical sense, these transformations in Latin America reflect both economic growth and declining inequality in over the period. We adopt a measure of mobility that decomposes the 'gainers' and 'losers' in society by social class of each household. The continent has experienced a large amount of churning over the last 15 years, at least 43% of all Latin Americans changed social classes between the mid 1990s and the end of the 2000s. Despite the upward mobility trend, intergenerational mobility, a better proxy for inequality of opportunity, remains stagnant. Educational achievement and attainment remain to be strongly dependent upon parental education levels. Despite the recent growth in pro-poor programs, the middle class has benefited disproportionally from social security transfers and are increasingly opting out from government services. Central to the region's prospects of continued progress will be its ability to harness the new middle class into a new, more inclusive social contract, where the better-off pay their fair share of taxes, and demand improved public services.
  • Publication
    Informality Trends and Cycles
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-12) Loayza, Norman V.; Rigolini, Jamele
    This paper studies the trends and cycles of informal employment. It first presents a theoretical model where the size of informal employment is determined by the relative costs and benefits of informality and the distribution of workers' skills. In the long run, informal employment varies with the trends in these variables, and in the short run it reacts to accommodate transient shocks and to close the gap that separates it from its trend level. The paper then uses an error-correction framework to examine empirically informality's long- and short-run relationships. For this purpose, it uses country-level data at annual frequency for a sample of industrial and developing countries, with the share of self-employment in the labor force as the proxy for informal employment. The paper finds that, in the long run, informality is larger in countries that have lower GDP per capita and impose more costs to formal firms in the form of more rigid business regulations, less valuable police and judicial services, and weaker monitoring of informality. In the short run, informal employment is found to be counter-cyclical for the majority of countries, with the degree of counter-cyclicality being lower in countries with larger informal employment and better police and judicial services. Moreover, informal employment follows a stable, trend-reverting process. These results are robust to changes in the sample and to the influence of outliers, even when only developing countries are considered in the analysis.
  • Publication
    Protecting Human Capital Through Shocks and Crises: How lessons learned from the COVID-19 response across Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus can be used to build better and more resilient human development systems
    (World Bank, Washington DC, 2023-04-20) Rigolini, Jamele; de Hoyos, Rafael; Nguyen, Ha Thi Hong
    Risk and uncertainty are on the rise, and countries across Europe and Central Asia (ECA) are not immune from it. The region is being hit by crises, conflicts, and continued uncertainty that are negatively affecting people’s livelihoods in the short term and prosperity in the long term. Then COVID-19 hit, inflicting massive harm on people’s wellbeing, livelihoods, and human capital. Lockdowns prevented people from working, school closures prevented students from learning, and overwhelmed hospitals had to defer important treatments. This report explores how to strengthen the resilience of health, education, and social protection systems to better protect people’s human capital from the long-term effects of recurrent shocks and crises.
  • Publication
    Managing East Asia's Macroeconomic Volatility
    (2009-07-01) Olaberria, Eduardo; Rigolini, Jamele
    East Asia has experienced a dramatic decrease in output growth volatility over the past 20 years. This is good news, as output growth volatility affects poor households because of coping strategies that have long-term, harmful consequences, and the overall economy through its negative impact on economic growth. This paper investigates the factors behind this long decline in volatility, and derives lessons about ways to mitigate renewed upward pressure in face of the financial crisis. The authors show that if, on the one hand, high trade openness has sustained economic growth in the past several decades, on the other hand, it has made countries more vulnerable to external fluctuations. Although less frequent terms of trade shocks and more stable growth rates of trading partners have helped to reduce volatility in the past, the same external factors are now putting renewed pressure on volatility. The way forward seems therefore to be to counterbalance the external upward pressure on volatility by improving domestic factors. Elements under domestic control that can help countries deal with high volatility include more accountable institutions, better regulated financial markets, and more stable fiscal and monetary policies.
  • Publication
    Exploring Universal Basic Income: A Guide to Navigating Concepts, Evidence, and Practices
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020) Gentilini, Ugo; Grosh, Margaret; Rigolini, Jamele; Yemtsov, Ruslan; Gentilini, Ugo; Grosh, Margaret; Rigolini, Jamele; Yemtsov, Ruslan; Bastagli, Francesca; Lustig, Nora; Monsalve Montiel, Emma; Quan, Siyu; Ter-Minassian, Teresa; De Wispelaere, Jurgen; Lowe, Christina; George, Tina
    Universal basic income (UBI) is emerging as one of the most hotly debated issues in development and social protection policy. But what are the features of UBI? What is it meant to achieve? How do we know, and what don’t we know, about its performance? What does it take to implement it in practice? Drawing from global evidence, literature, and survey data, this volume provides a framework to elucidate issues and trade-offs in UBI with a view to help inform choices around its appropriateness and feasibility in different contexts. Specifically, the book examines how UBI differs from or complements other social assistance programs in terms of objectives, coverage, incidence, adequacy, incentives, effects on poverty and inequality, financing, political economy, and implementation. It also reviews past and current country experiences, surveys the full range of existing policy proposals, provides original results from micro–tax benefit simulations, and sets out a range of considerations around the analytics and practice of UBI.
  • Publication
    Social Protection in a World of Crisis: Learning from the Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-07-05) Coll-Black, Sarah; Von Lenthe, Cornelius; Brodmann, Stefanie; Shaw, William; Sandford, Judith; Gonzalez, Alejandro; Rigolini, Jamele
    This paper explores the social protection response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to learn lessons on how to build the resilience of their social protection system. These countries made substantial efforts to address the most serious consequences of the pandemic, pragmatically harnessing existing programs to reach vulnerable groups, while also introducing innovations to fill gaps in the existing social protection system. Rigidities in administrative systems, complex eligibility criteria, as well as weaknesses in information systems, limited governments’ ability to quickly identify and reach those households that were most vulnerable to the impact of the pandemic with adequate support. These challenges strengthen the case for investment in crisis preparedness – most immediately by improving the functioning of social protection systems and setting out the design features and delivery systems to support a response to future covariate shocks.
  • Publication
    Protecting Who?: Optimal Social Protection Responses to Shocks with Limited Information
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-06-15) Hernandez, Carlos Ospino; Rigolini, Jamele; Coll-Black, Sarah; Oviedo, Ana Maria
    The literature on shock-responsive social protection focuses on operational features that improve the speed and reach of the response, but little is known about the optimal design of emergency social protection responses in terms of which programs to use, information about the people affected, and the extent of their losses. This paper studies optimal social protection responses to shocks, using microsimulations of different social assistance responses in Albania, Moldova, and North Macedonia. The paper shows that optimal design depends not only on the magnitude of the shock, but also on how the shock affects welfare rankings and on the parameters of the existing social assistance system, including the generosity of the schemes and how well they cover the poor. For given budgets, a universal transfer remains a suboptimal response. However, the extent to which existing programs should be expanded, as designed, to additional beneficiaries depends on the type of shock. When a shock tends to affect households homogeneously, increasing generosity and expanding the existing targeted social assistance program using established welfare metrics to assess eligibility is an effective response. When shocks affect households heterogeneously and bring some of them into extreme poverty, then pre-shock welfare indicators carry little information and policy makers should provide support through a new program or modified eligibility criteria, according to information on who suffered the shock. This analysis points to the importance of planning in advance for future crises and, within this, considering the optimal design of emergency social protection responses.
  • Publication
    More Than You Can Handle : Decentralization and Spending Ability of Peruvian Municipalities
    (2011-08-01) Loayza, Norman V.; Rigolini, Jamele; Calvo-Gonzalez, Oscar
    In the past three decades, emerging countries have gone through extensive decentralization reforms. Yet, there are no studies assessing quantitatively the relative importance of various factors known to affect the success of decentralization. This paper builds on a comprehensive dataset the authors constructed for Peru, which merges municipal fiscal accounts with information about municipalities' characteristics such as population, poverty, education, and local politics. The paper then analyzes the leading factors affecting the ability of municipalities to execute the allocated budget using complementary methodologies, from least squares to quantile regression analyses. According to the existing literature and the Peruvian context, the analysis divides these factors into four categories: the budget size and allocation process; local capacity; local needs; and political economy constraints. Although all four factors affect decentralization, the largest determinant of spending ability is the adequacy of the budget with respect to local capacity. The results confirm the need for decentralization to be implemented gradually over time in parallel with strong capacity building efforts.