Herrera, Santiago

Middle East and North Africa
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Fields of Specialization
Macroeconomics, Egypt, International Finance, Expenditure Efficiency Measurement and Benchmarking, Latin America
Middle East and North Africa
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Last updated: February 1, 2023
Santiago Herrera Aguilera is the Lead Country Economist for Egypt in the Middle East and North Africa region at the World Bank. He has been in this position since September of 2008. He first joined the Bank in May of 1998 as a Senior Economist working for the Latin America and Caribbean Region. In February of 2004 he became the Lead Economist for economic policy at the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network in Washington. Prior to joining the Bank, Aguilera was the Deputy Minister of Finance in Columbia from 1995 to 1996. Before that, he was the Director of the National Budget also at the Columbian Ministry of Finance. Aguilera holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Economics from Columbia University in New York. He also holds a Masters degree in Economics from the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota, Columbia.

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 21
  • Publication
    What Determines the Size of Public Employment? An Empirical Investigation
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-08) Munoz, Ercio; Herrera, Santiago
    This paper explores the determinants of public employment across the world and finds that it is negatively associated with country size (by population) and positively associated with the income level. The findings show that a country's openness to trade is positively associated with public employment in low- and middle-income countries, but inversely related in high-income countries. The estimated models are used to predict the expected public employment for a country given its income, population, and openness to trade, and to compare the actual levels with the predicted ones. In general, public employment in Latin American countries is below the predicted levels, except for Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and the República Bolivariana de Venezuela. Public employment in the Middle East and North Africa is above the predicted levels, particularly in the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Islamic Republic of Iran. East Asian and Pacific countries' public employment is significantly below the predicted levels, particularly in Hong Kong SAR, China; Japan; the Republic of Korea; and Mongolia. Countries in Europe and Central Asia show higher than predicted public employment, mostly in Romania, Denmark, Sweden, Armenia, and Belorussia. Public employment in Sub-Saharan Africa appears to be below the predicted levels, with the notable exceptions of Botswana and South Africa. The deviations from predicted levels are positively correlated with the union density rate, which is negatively associated with private employment rates. Finally, the study finds no statistical association between public and private employment, suggesting the absence of crowding-out in the employment levels.
  • Publication
    Internal Migration in Egypt : Levels, Determinants, Wages, and Likelihood of Employment
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-08) Herrera, Santiago
    This paper describes stylized facts about internal migration and the labor force in Egypt, and shows how internal migration in the country is low compared with international standards. Using aggregate labor force survey data, the paper shows how individuals migrate to governorates with higher wages. With a Mincerian equation, the analysis finds that migrants earn premiums with respect to non-migrants, except for those migrants with low education levels. The aggregate labor statistics reveal lower unemployment rates among migrants, a phenomenon that is verified by an employment equation. According to the econometric results, migrants are more likely to be employed, even after controlling for other observable individual characteristics. Finally, the paper estimates a Probit model for the decision to migrate, finding that more educated individuals are more likely to migrate, agricultural workers have a lower probability of migrating, and individuals from governorates in which food production for own consumption is higher are less likely to migrate. These results suggest that low educational attainment and the "food problem", which ties resources to food production to meet subsistence requirements, are at the root of low migration in Egypt.
  • Publication
    Productivity in the Non-Oil Sector in Nigeria: Firm-Level Evidence
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-07) Kouame, Wilfried; Herrera, Santiago
    This paper examines the determinants of the productivity of Nigerian firms, using three waves of Enterprise Surveys from 2007, 2009, and 2014 and 7,670 firms. The paper uses three alternative measures of productivity, which are found to be highly correlated: labor productivity, value added per worker, and total factor productivity. The more notable trends in the data show: a rise in productivity, with the output of exporting firms decreasing; increasing concentration of production, reflected in the rise of the Herfindahl-Hirschman index by a factor of three; increasing costs of crime, power outages, lack of security, and bribery; significant heterogeneity of these costs along several dimensions, such as firm size, age, location, and the exporting or domestic nature of the market it serves. These costs are inversely related with investment. Regardless of the measure of productivity, its main determinants are the education of the worker, size of the firm, availability of credit, and business climate variables. When labor productivity is used, the stock of capital is also a major determinant of productivity. Within the investment climate variables, power outages and the corruption index are the more significant ones. Power outages are negatively associated with productivity. Bribery is positively related, supporting the "greasing the wheels" hypothesis of bribery as a factor that reduces transaction costs. The impact is nonlinear, as it decreases with firm size. The results also show a positive association between productivity and exporting, but the causality is reversed when the analysis controls for endogeneity: productivity is a weak determinant of the likelihood of a firm becoming an exporter.
  • Publication
    Long-Run Growth in Ghana : Determinants and Prospects
    (World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2014-11) Herrera, Santiago
    Ghana's economic growth picked up in the early 2000s and has been exceptionally strong over the past few years, with price booms of its main commodity exports, gold and cocoa, and the initiation of commercial oil production in 2011. This paper examines recent econometric evidence on Ghana's long-term growth and evaluates its sustainability. The empirical evidence surveyed finds that Ghana's main growth drivers were investment, oil, and mineral rents, while government consumption acted as a growth retardant. Based on various scenarios for its determinants, per capita GDP growth rates are predicted to be between 3.5 and 4.5 percent for 2014-34. Nevertheless, the predictions are subject to considerable uncertainty associated with the expected trends and volatility of the drivers of growth, particularly to sustaining investment levels and external factors such as commodity prices and international capital flows. A growth decomposition exercise shows that Ghana's past growth was led by capital accumulation, which will be difficult to sustain given the high current account deficits and the volatility of capital flows. Hence, a switch toward a productivity-based growth strategy, instead of the investment-led growth strategy of the past, is the only viable alternative to sustain the recent high growth rates. For that, Ghana needs focus on policies that enhance government effectiveness and public spending efficiency. To mitigate the risk of falling into the so-called growth traps like many other countries, Ghana must resolve its macroeconomic imbalances and resume the institutional reform to enhance the quality of institutions and make growth more inclusive.
  • Publication
    Efficiency of Public Spending in Education, Health, and Infrastructure: An International Benchmarking Exercise
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-09) Ouedraogo, Abdoulaye; Herrera, Santiago
    Governments of developing countries typically spend between 20 and 30 percent of gross domestic product. Hence, small changes in the efficiency of public spending could have a major impact on aggregate productivity growth and gross domestic product levels. Therefore, measuring efficiency and comparing input-output combinations of different decision-making units becomes a central challenge. This paper gauges efficiency as the distance between observed input-output combinations and an efficiency frontier estimated by means of the Free Disposal Hull and Data Envelopment Analysis techniques. Input-inefficiency (excess input consumption to achieve a level of output) and output-inefficiency (output shortfall for a given level of inputs) are scored in a sample of 175 countries using data from 2006-16 on education, health, and infrastructure. The paper verifies empirical regularities of the cross-country variation in efficiency, showing a negative association between efficiency and spending levels and the ratio of public-to-private financing of the service provision. Other variables, such as inequality, urbanization, and aid dependency, show mixed results. The efficiency of capital spending is correlated with the quality of governance indicators, especially regulatory quality (positively) and perception of corruption (negatively). Although no causality may be inferred from this exercise, it points at different factors to understand why some countries might need more resources than others to achieve similar education, health, and infrastructure outcomes.
  • Publication
    Egypt beyond the Crisis : Medium-Term Challenges for Sustained Growth
    (2010-10-01) Herrera, Santiago; Youssef, Hoda; Zaki, Chahir
    The paper analyzes the impact of the recent global crisis in the context of the previous two decades' growth and capital flows. Growth decomposition exercises show that Egyptian growth is driven mostly by capital accumulation. To estimate the share of labor in national income, the analysis adjusts the national accounts statistics to include the compensation of self-employed and non-paid family workers. Still, the share of labor, about 30 percent, is significantly lower than previously estimated. The authors estimate the output costs of the current crisis by comparing the output trajectory that would have prevailed without the crisis with the observed and revised gross domestic product projections for the medium term. The fall in private investment was the main driver of the output cost. Even if private investment recovers its pre-crisis levels, there is a permanent loss in gross domestic product per capita of about 2 percent with respect to the scenario without the crisis. The paper shows how the shock to investment is magnified due to the capital-intensive nature of the Egyptian economy: if the economy had the traditionally-used share of labor in income (40 percent), the output loss would have been reduced by half.
  • Publication
    Public Expenditure and Growth
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-10) Herrera, Santiago
    Given that public spending will have a positive impact on GDP if the benefits exceed the marginal cost of public funds, the present paper deals with measuring costs and benefits of public spending. The paper discusses one cost seldom considered in the literature and in policy debates, namely, the volatility derived from additional public spending. The paper identifies a relationship between public spending volatility and consumption volatility, which implies a direct welfare loss to society. This loss is substantial in developing countries, estimated at 8 percent of consumption. If welfare losses due to volatility are this sizeable, then measuring the benefits of public spending is critical. Gauging benefits based on macro aggregate data requires three caveats: a) considering of the impact of the funding (taxation) required for the additional public spending; b) differentiating between investment and capital formation; c) allowing for heterogeneous response of output to different types of capital and differences in network development. It is essential to go beyond country-specificity to project-level evaluation of the benefits and costs of public projects. From the micro viewpoint, the rate of return of a project must exceed the marginal cost of public funds, determined by tax levels and structure. Credible evaluations require microeconomic evidence and careful specification of counterfactuals. On this, the impact evaluation literature and methods play a critical role. From individual project evaluation, the analyst must contemplate the general equilibrium impacts. In general, the paper advocates for project evaluation as a central piece of any development platform. By increasing the efficiency of public spending, the government can permanently increase the rate of productivity growth and, hence, affect the growth rate of GDP.
  • Publication
    Why Some Countries Can Escape the Fiscal Pro-Cyclicality Trap and Others Cannot ?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-08) Kouame, Wilfred A.; Herrera, Santiago; Mandon, Pierre
    This paper analyzes the procyclicality of fiscal policy on the tax and spending sides in a sample of 116 developing countries between 2000 and 2016. About 20 percent of the countries in the sample switched from procyclical to countercyclical policy stance. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 30 of 39 countries remained caught in the procyclicality trap and the region has the highest degree of procyclicality. The Middle East and North Africa region switched from a countercyclical policy stance to a procyclical one over time. The Europe and Central Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean regions significantly reduced the degree of procyclicality. The main economic variables that affect procyclicality are financial depth, tax base variability, and natural resource dependence. In line with the political economy literature, the perception of corruption, social fragmentation, and inequality in resource distribution are positively associated with procyclicality. The findings also show that the quality of fiscal institutions is associated with procyclicality; countries with fiscal rules have smaller procyclical bias, but the effect is not homogeneous; and higher degrees of expenditure rigidity are associated with lower procyclical bias. The study finds asymmetric policy stances along the business cycle, with procyclicality being more pronounced during recessions. Similarly, the political cycle affects procyclicality, as procyclical bias increases in electoral years. From the tax management perspective, procyclical bias is still present, but there are significant changes: most of the political economy variables lose significance; the resource-dependence variable is not significant; external credit availability reduces procyclicality; tax base variability increases procyclical bias; and expenditure rigidity is no longer significant, but fiscal space becomes determinant of procyclical bias.
  • Publication
    Heterogeneity in Returns to Investment in Education in Egypt
    (World Scientific, 2013-09-25) Herrera, Santiago
    The paper estimates the rates of return to investment in education in Egypt, allowing for multiple sources of heterogeneity across individuals. The paper finds that, in the period 1998–2006, returns to education increased for workers with higher education, but fell for workers with intermediate education levels; the relative wage of illiterate workers also fell in the period. This change can be explained by supply and demand factors. On the supply side, the number workers with intermediate education, as well as illiterate ones, outpaced the growth of other categories joining the labor force during the decade. From the labor demand side, the Egyptian economy experienced a structural transformation by which sectors demanding higher-skilled labor, such as financial intermediation and communications, gained importance to the detriment of agriculture and construction, which demand lower-skilled workers. In Egypt, individuals are sorted into different educational tracks, creating the first source of heterogeneity: those that are sorted into the general secondary-university track have higher returns than those sorted into vocational training. Second, the paper finds that large-firm workers earn higher returns than small-firm workers. Third, females have larger returns to education. Female government workers earn similar wages as private sector female workers, while male workers in the private sector earn a premium of about 20 percent on average. This could lead to higher female reservation wages, which could explain why female unemployment rates are significantly higher than male unemployment rates. Formal workers earn higher rates of return to education than those in the informal sector, which did not happen a decade earlier. And finally, those individuals with access to technology (as proxied by personal computer ownership) have higher returns.
  • Publication
    Public Expenditure and Consumption Volatility
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-05) Herrera, Santiago
    Recent estimates of the welfare cost of consumption volatility find that it is significant in developing nations, where it may reach an equivalent of reducing consumption by 10 percent per year. Hence, examining the determinants of consumption volatility is of utmost relevance. Based on cross-country data for the period 1960-2005, the paper explains consumption volatility using three sets of variables: one refers to the volatility of income and the persistence of income shocks; the second set of variables refers to policy volatility, considering the volatility of public spending and the size of government; while the third set captures the ability of agents to smooth shocks, and includes the depth of the domestic financial markets as well as the degree of integration to international capital markets. To allow for potential endogenous regressors, in particular the volatility of fiscal policy and the size of government, the system is estimated using the instrumental variables method. The results indicate that, besides income volatility, the variables with the largest and most robust impact on consumption volatility are government size and the volatility of public spending. Results also show that deeper and more stable domestic financial markets reduce the volatility of consumption, and that more integrated financial markets to the international capital markets are associated with lower volatility of consumption.