Verme, Paolo

Global Practice on Poverty and Inequality
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Welfare, Poverty, Inequality, Labor markets, Refugees, Middle East, North Africa, former Soviet Union
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Global Practice on Poverty and Inequality
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Paolo Verme is Lead Economist at the World Bank. A Ph.D. graduate of the London School of Economics, he was Visiting Professor at Bocconi University in Milan (2004-2009) and at the University of Turin (2003-2010) before joining the World Bank in 2010. For almost two decades, he served as senior advisor and project manager for multilateral organizations, private companies and governments in the areas of labor market, welfare and social protection policies. His research is widely published in international journals, books and reports. His most recent book is on the welfare of Syrian refugees, a joint study between the World Bank and the UNHCR.
Citations 52 Scopus

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Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
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    Social Assistance and Poverty Reduction in Moldova, 2001-2004 : An Impact Evaluation
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-06) Verme, Paolo
    This paper assesses the impact of social assistance benefits on household welfare in Moldova. Ignoring standard issues of impact evaluations such as selection bias, behavioral responses, unobserved heterogeneity and endogeneity, an incidence analysis suggests that increased spending on social assistance enhances the probability of moving out of poverty and reduces the probability of moving into poverty. However, double difference estimates (based on a mimicked randomized experiment) and parametric estimates (based on panel data) indicate that social benefits have not contributed to improve household welfare or reduce poverty. Double difference estimates point to a negative impact on welfare. Parametric estimates do not yield any consistent significant impact on welfare or poverty. The author concludes that the growth in population coverage and expenditure on cash benefits that characterized social assistance policies in recent years has not resulted in a significant improvement in welfare, all other factors being equal.
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    Constraints to Growth and Job Creation in Low-Income Commonwealth of Independent States Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-04) Verme, Paolo
    Despite sustained output growth since 1997, low-income Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries (CIS-7) have not experienced growth in employment, a phenomenon observed elsewhere in transitional economies and labeled as "jobless growth." The author addresses the causes of this phenomenon in the CIS-7. He argues that the lack of job creation is explained by a combination of structural factors, including capital-intensive growth, large potential for productivity gains among existing workers, and compartmentalized economies best depicted by a dual labor market framework. Agriculture and industry have performed asymmetrically and grown apart during the recession and during the growth periods. Agriculture provides subsistence and refuge from urban poverty and unemployment but is unable to grow beyond subsistence because it is disconnected from industrial manufacturing and because the agricultural infrastructure is depleted and underinvested. Industry has progressively lost its manufacturing capacity, and focuses on capital-intensive, highly productive sectors, and provides good wages for the few highly skilled workers. With governments and the international community currently refraining from investing in agricultural and industrial policies focused on reviving manufacturing, jobless growth is likely to persist.
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    The Economics of Forced Displacement: An Introduction
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-04) Verme, Paolo
    Forced displacement -- defined as the displacement of refugees and internally displaced persons due to violence -- has reached an unprecedented scale and global attention during the past few years, particularly in the aftermath of the Syrian refugee crisis in 2011 and the European Union's migration crisis in 2015. As this plight gained momentum, economics found itself unprepared to answer the basic questions surrounding refugees and internally displaced persons. Few economists or institutions were working on forced displacement. Economic theory or empirics had little to offer in articles published in journals. Data were scarce, unreliable, or inaccessible. Can economics rise to the challenge? Is the economics of forced displacement different from neoclassical economics? Can off-the-shelves models be used to study forced displaced populations? What is missing to do the economics of forced displacement? What are the data constraints that limit economists in this work? This paper provides a first nontechnical introduction to these topics. The paper argues that the modeling of utility, choice, risk, and information in a short-term setting is the key to address the problem. Neoclassical economics lacks some of the theoretical ingredients that are needed, but recent developments in game theory, neuroeconomics, and behavioral economics have opened new horizons that make the task of modeling forced displacement within reach. Empirics is clearly limited by the scarcity of quality data, but an example shows how welfare economists can start working with existing data. Economists have no excuse to maintain the status quo and should get on with the work on forced displacement.
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    Relative Deprivation, Reference Groups and the Assessment of Standard of Living
    ( 2012-01-01) Silber, Jacques ; Verme, Paolo
    This paper proposes two new indices of relative deprivation, derived from an extension of the concept of the generalized Gini for the measurement of distributional change. Population- and income-weighted relative deprivation indices are then defined and, using panel data from the Consortium of Household Panels for European Socio-Economic Research, this paper checks which of the various ways of defining individual deprivation best fits the answers given by individuals on the degree of their satisfaction with income. The analysis finds that the deprivation indices proposed are consistently and negatively correlated with income satisfaction as reported by respondents, that income weighted measures fit better than population weighted measures, and that this fit improves with countries that experienced deep institutional changes such as the transitional economies of Eastern Europe.