Latin America and Caribbean
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Social Development, Sustainable Development
Latin America and Caribbean
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated July 5, 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.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 15
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-02) Loayza, Norman ; Mier y Teran, Alfredo ; Rigolini, JameleThe 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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-02) Allwine, Melanie ; Rigolini, Jamele ; López-Calva, Luis F.Adopted on September 8, 2000, the United Nations Millennium Declaration stated as its first goal that countries "...[further] resolve to halve, by the year 2015, the proportion of the world's people whose income is less than one dollar a day and the proportion of people who suffer from hunger..." Each country committed to achieve the stated goal, regardless of their initial conditions in terms of poverty and inequality levels. This paper presents a framework to quantify how much initial conditions affect poverty reduction, given a level of "effort" (growth). The framework used in the analysis allows for the growth elasticity of poverty to vary according to changes in the income distribution along the dynamic path of growth and redistribution, unlike previous examples in the literature where this is assumed to be constant. While wealthier countries did perform better in reducing poverty in the last decade and a half (1995-2008), assuming equal initial conditions, the situation reverses: the paper finds a statistically significant negative relation between initial average income and poverty reduction performance, with the poorest countries in the sample going from the worst to the best performers in poverty reduction. The analysis also quantifies how much poorer countries would have scored better, had they had the same level of initial average income as wealthier countries. The results suggest a remarkable change in poverty reduction performance, in addition to the reversal of ranks from worst to best performers. The application of this framework goes beyond poverty targets and the Millennium Development Goals. Given the widespread use of targets to determine resource allocation in education, health, or decentralized social expenditures, it constitutes a helpful tool to measure policy performance toward all kinds of goals. The proposed framework can be useful to evaluate the importance of initial conditions on outcomes, for a wide array of policies.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2014-01-02) Lederman, Daniel ; Messina, Julián ; Pienknagura, Samuel ; Rigolini, JameleEntrepreneurship is a fundamental driver of growth, development, and job creation. While Latin America and the Caribbean has a wealth of entrepreneurs, firms in the region, compared to those in other regions, are small in size and less likely to grow or innovate. Productivity growth has remained lackluster for decades, including during the recent commodity boom. Enhancing the creation of good jobs and accelerating productivity growth in the region will require dynamic entrepreneurs. Latin American Entrepreneurs: Many Firms but Little Innovation studies the landscape of entrepreneurship in Latin America and the Caribbean. Utilizing new datasets that cover issues such as firm creation, firm dynamics, export decisions, and the behavior of multinational corporations, the book synthesizes the results of a comprehensive analysis of the status, prospects, and challenges of entrepreneurship in the region. Useful tools and information are provided to help policy makers and practitioners identify policy areas governments can explore to enhance innovation and encourage high-growth, transformational entrepreneurship.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2013) Ferreira, Francisco H.G. ; Messina, Julian ; Rigolini, Jamele ; López-Calva, Luis-Felipe ; Lugo, Maria Ana ; Vakis, RenosAfter 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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-03) Loayza, Norman ; Rigolini, Jamele ; Llorente, GonzaloThe paper examines the link between poverty, the middle class and institutional outcomes using a new cross-country panel dataset on the distribution of income and expenditure. It uses an econometric methodology to gauge whether a larger middle class has a causal effect on policy and institutional outcomes in three areas: social policy in health and education, market-oriented economic structure and quality of governance. The analysis find that when the middle class becomes larger (measured as the proportion of people earning more than US$10 a day), social policy on health and education becomes more progressive, and the quality of governance (democratic participation and official corruption) also improves. This trend does not occur at the expense of economic freedom, as a larger middle class also leads to more market-oriented economic policy on trade and finance. These beneficial effects of a larger middle class appear to be more robust than the impact of lower poverty, lower inequality or higher gross domestic product per capita. That may be linked to the evolution of the middle class: they are more enlightened, more likely to take political actions and have a stronger voice. They also share preferences and values for policy and institutional reforms, as well as higher stakes in property rights and wealth accumulation.
Addressing Access and Behavioral Constraints through Social Intermediation Services : A Review of Chile Solidario and Red Unidos(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-12) Camacho, Adriana ; Cunningham, Wendy ; Rigolini, Jamele ; Silva, VeronicaSocial programs are often designed under the assumption that individuals make rational decisions that improve their welfare. Yet, informational and behavioral constraints limit the extreme and chronic poor's access and participation in social programs. This paper reviews the implementation and performance of two "social intermediation services" that were designed to address these constraints, improve beneficiaries' access to social programs, and help the poor surmount poverty: Chile Solidario, the first such service in Latin America, and Red Unidos, implemented later in Colombia. The analysis provides insights on key factors influencing performance, cost effectiveness, and the impacts that such services can be expected to have.
Publication( 2016-07-20) Vakis, Renos ; Rigolini, Jamele ; Lucchetti, LeonardoOne out of every five Latin Americans—about 130 million people—have never known anything but poverty, subsisting on less than US$4 a day throughout their lives. These are the region's chronically poor, who have remained so despite unprecedented inroads against poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean since the turn of the century. This book takes a closer look at the region’s entrenched poor, who and where they are, and how existing policies need to change to effectively assist the poor. The book shows significant variations of rates of chronic poverty across and within countries. The book posits that refinements to the existing policy toolkit —as opposed to more programs—may come a long way in helping the remaining poor. These refinements include intensifying efforts to improve coordination between different social and economic programs, which can boost the income-generation process and deal with the intergenerational transmission of chronic poverty by investing in early childhood development. In addition, there is an urgent need to adapt programs to directly address the psychological toll of chronic poverty on people’s mindsets and aspirations, which currently undermines the effectiveness of existing policy efforts.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-06-26) Bruni, Lucilla Maria ; Rigolini, Jamele ; Troiano, SaraDemography affects our daily lives. Consciously or not, we take into account the demographic context when making choices on employment, savings, health, and education. This report studies how demographic change is likely to affect demand for social services in Southern Africa and how today’s policies can be shaped to reap potential benefits from demographic dynamics and address the population’s evolving needs. The authors define the social sectors as education, health, and social assistance and social policies as policies related to these three sectors. The study illustrates how social policies designed to fit with evolving demographic structures are likely to lead to wealthier and more productive future generations, fostering growth and equity. But the reverse also holds: ill-tailored social policies can hold back countries’ development and heighten intergenerational tensions. The rest of this report is structured as follows. Chapter two presents evidence on demographic trends in Southern Africa. Chapter three explains the report’s conceptual framework and how demography can be an opportunity or a curse, depending on the policy environment. Chapter four studies the five countries’ labor markets and documents challenges that a growing active labor force is likely to generate. Chapter five looks at the likely impacts of changing demographics on social sectors. It shows how a dependency ratio that will remain relatively low for decades to come will provide the opportunity to redirect social spending towards emerging priorities, and identifies which of these priorities will be in education, health, and social assistance. Chapter six concludes the study by discussing immediate policy implications.
Publication( 2011-08-01) Loayza, Norman V. ; Rigolini, Jamele ; Calvo-Gonzalez, OscarIn 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.
Should Cash Transfers Be Confined to the Poor? Implications for Poverty and Inequality in Latin America( 2011-11-01) Acosta, Pablo ; Leite, Phillipe ; Rigolini, JameleThis paper compares for 13 Latin American countries the poverty and inequality impacts of cash transfer programs that are given to all children and the elderly (that is, "categorical" transfers), to programs of equal budget that are confined to the poor within each population group (that is, "poverty targeted" transfers). The analysis finds that both the incidence of poverty and the depth of the poverty gap are important factors affecting the relative effectiveness of categorical versus poverty targeted transfers. The comparison of transfers to children and the elderly also supports the view that choosing carefully categories of beneficiaries is almost as important as targeting the poor for achieving a high poverty and inequality impact. Overall, the findings suggest that although in the Latin American context poverty targeting tends to deliver higher poverty impacts, there are circumstances under which categorical targeting confined to geographical regions (sometimes called "geographic targeting") may be a valid option to consider. This is particularly the case in low-income countries with widespread pockets of poverty.