Latin America and Caribbean
Author Name Variants
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Social Development, Sustainable Development
Latin America and Caribbean
Externally Hosted Work
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.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 25
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-08) Díaz, Juan José ; Chacaltana, Juan ; Rigolini, Jamele ; Ruiz, ClaudiaToo 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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-12) Rigolini, JameleThis paper reviews the role of Social Protection and Labor in supporting both climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. The Climate Crisis is impacting the poor and vulnerable disproportionally, both as a consequence of climate shocks and through the distributional impacts of climate mitigation policies. The paper discusses how – even without explicit environmental objectives – Social Protection and Labor strengthens resilience against climate shocks. However, integrating crisis-sensitive elements into social protection and labor programs increases substantially their ability to respond to shocks. Social protection and labor programs also facilitate green and Just Transitions by supporting equitable policies and can ease transitions towards Green jobs. Finally, Social protection and labor programs can also directly support mitigation measures by positively affecting behaviors. While investments in climate-related Social Protection and Labor are rapidly expanding, its full potential to support adaptation, decarbonization and mitigation is still to be realized.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-12) Dhillon, Amrita ; Rigolini, JameleThe authors examine how institutions that enforce contracts between two parties-producers and consumers-interact in a competitive market with one-sided asymmetric information and productivity shocks. They compare an informal enforcement mechanism, reputation, the efficacy of which is enhanced by consumers investing in "connectedness," with a formal mechanism, legal enforcement, the effectiveness of which can be reduced by producers by means of bribes. When legal enforcement is poor, consumers connect more with one another to improve informal enforcement. In contrast, a well-connected network of consumers reduces producers' incentives to bribe. In equilibrium, the model predicts a positive relationship between the frequency of productivity shocks, bribing, and the use of informal enforcement, providing a physical explanation of why developing countries often fail to have efficient legal systems. Firm-level estimations confirm the partial equilibrium implications of the model.
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.
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( 2009-07-01) Olaberria, Eduardo ; Rigolini, JameleEast 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(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.
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, 2003-08) Gatti, Roberta ; Paternostro, Stefano ; Rigolini, JameleUsing individual-level data for 35 countries, the authors investigate the microeconomic determinants of attitudes toward corruption. They find women, employed, less wealthy, and older individuals to be more averse to corruption. The authors also provide evidence that social effects play an important role in determining individual attitudes toward corruption, as these are robustly and significantly associated with the average level of tolerance of corruption in the region. This finding lends empirical support to theoretical models where corruption emerges in multiple equilibria and suggests that "big-push" policies might be particularly effective in combating corruption.
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.