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 11
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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-04) Breceda, Karla ; Rigolini, Jamele ; Saavedra, JaimeThis paper presents an incidence analysis of both social spending and taxation for seven Latin American countries, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The analysis shows that Latin American countries are headed de facto toward a minimalist welfare state similar to the one in the United States, rather than toward a stronger, European-like welfare state. Specifically, both in Latin America and in the United States, social spending remains fairly flat across income quintiles. On the taxation side, high income inequality causes the rich to bear most of the taxation burden. This causes a vicious cycle where the rich oppose the expansion of the welfare state (as they bear most of its burden without receiving much back), which in turn maintains long-term inequalities. The recent increased socioeconomic instability in many Latin American countries shows nonetheless a real need for a stronger welfare state, which, if unanswered, may degenerate into short-term and unsustainable policies. The case of Chile suggests that a way out from this apparent dead end can be found, as elites may be willing to raise their contribution to social spending if this can lead to a more stable social contract.
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.
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( 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.
Is There Such Thing As Middle Class Values? Class Differences, Values and Political Orientations in Latin America( 2011-11-01) Lopez-Calva, Luis F. ; Rigolini, Jamele ; Torche, FlorenciaMiddle class values have long been perceived as drivers of social cohesion and growth. This paper investigates the relation between class (measured by position in the income distribution), values, and political orientations using comparable values surveys for six Latin American countries. The analysis finds that both a continuous measure of income and categorical measures of income-based class are robustly associated with values. Both income and class tend to display a similar association to values and political orientations as education, although differences persist in some important dimensions. Overall, there is no strong evidence of any "middle class particularism": values appear to gradually shift with income, and middle class values are between the ones of poorer and richer classes. If any, the only peculiarity of middle class values is moderation. The analysis also finds changes in values across countries to be of much larger magnitude than the ones dictated by income, education, and individual characteristics, suggesting that individual values vary primarily within bounds dictated by each society.
No Thumbnail AvailablePublication( 2009) Breceda, Karla ; Rigolini, Jamele ; Saavedra, JaimeThis article analyzes the incidence of social spending and taxation by income quintile for seven Latin American countries, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Absolute levels of social spending in Latin America are fairly flat across income quintiles, a pattern similar to that in the United States and differing from the more progressive pattern of spending in the United Kingdom. The structure of taxation in Latin America is also similar to that of the United States. Because of high income inequality in Latin America and the US, the rich bear of most the burden, whereas the United Kingdom taxes the middle class to a greater extent. The analysis suggests that many Latin American countries are trapped in a vicious cycle in which the rich resist the expansion of the welfare state (because they bear most of its tax burden without receiving commensurate benefits), and their opposition to its expansion in turn maintains long-term inequalities.
Publication(Oxford University Press, 2015-11-03) Allwine, Melanie ; Rigolini, Jamele ; López‐Calva, Luis F.The evaluation of policy performance against set targets is rarely adjusted to the heterogeneity in the initial distribution of characteristics. Building on previous literature, we propose a framework to account for differences in initial characteristics in evaluating policy performance. We apply the proposed framework to the appraisal of poverty reduction and show that initial characteristics can considerably affect performance. The framework advances by explicitly quantifying the importance of the non-linearity of the growth elasticity of poverty reduction. Whilst wealthier countries did perform better in reducing poverty during 1995–2008, after equalizing the mean of the initial distribution of income the situation reverses, with the poorest countries going from being the worse to being the best performers in poverty reduction.