Latin America and Caribbean
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Fields of Specialization
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 - 8 of 8
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, 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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-12) Loayza, Norman V. ; Rigolini, JameleThis 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(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.
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.
Publication(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, TinaUniversal 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.