Development Research Group
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Financial Sector, Private Sector Development, Global Economy
Development Research Group
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Last updated July 5, 2023
Ha Minh Nguyen is an Economist in the Macroeconomics and Growth Team of the Development Research Group. He joined the Bank in July 2009 as a Young Economist after earning a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Maryland, College Park. He also holds a M.A. and B.A. in economics from The University of Adelaide, Australia. His research interests include International Finance and Economic Growth. His current research is on the financial crisis and the real exchange rates.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 12
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020-10-19) Arezki, Rabah ; Moreno-Dodson, Blanca ; Yuting Fan, Rachel ; Gansey, Romeo ; Nguyen, Ha ; Cong Nguyen, Minh ; Mottaghi, Lili ; Tsakas, Constantin ; Wood, ChristinaThe MENA Economic Update is a product of the World Bank's Office of the Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa. This presents the short-term, macroeconomic outlook and economic challenges facing countries in the region.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-07) Arezki, Rabah ; Djankov, Simeon ; Nguyen, Ha ; Yotzov, IvanThis paper explores the dynamics of media chatter about economic reforms using text analysis from about a billion newspaper articles in 28 languages. The paper shows that the intensity of reform chatter increases during economic downturns. This increase is more significant in democracies. Using instrumental variable techniques, the analysis finds the relationship to be causal. The paper also documents that reform chatter is followed by actual reforms, suggesting that democracies benefit from a "self-correcting" mechanism stemming from changing popular attitudes toward reform.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-07) Arezki, Rabah ; Dama, Alou Adesse ; Djankov, Simeon ; Nguyen, HaThis paper explores the spillover of protests across countries using data on nonviolent and spontaneous demonstrations for 200 countries from 2000 to 2020. Using an autoregressive spatial model, the analysis finds strong evidence of "contagious protests," with a catalyzing role of social media. In particular, social media penetration in the source and destination of protests leads to protest spillovers between countries. There is evidence of parallel learning between streets of nations alongside the already documented learning between governments.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-08) Banuri, Sheheryar ; Nguyen, HaThe quest for status is a powerful motivator, but does it affect inequality? This paper presents a novel lab experiment that was designed and conducted to identify the relationship between inequality, status signaling, debt, and conspicuous consumption. It reports three main findings: First, consumption increases when it is "conspicuous" (i.e. is both observable, and signals ability/status). Second, borrowing increases when consumption is conspicuous. More critically, this increase in loan-taking is driven by those at the bottom of the income distribution. Third, in the presence of conspicuous consumption, access to finance exacerbates inequality. The results point to a vicious cycle of inequality and costly borrowing.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-04) Yuting Fan, Rachel ; Lederman, Daniel ; Nguyen, Ha ; Rojas, Claudio J.Public debt in developing economies rose at a fast clip during 2020–21, at least partly due to the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic. Nobel laureate Paul Krugman opined in early 2021 that “fighting covid is like fighting a war.” This paper argues that the Covid-19 pandemic shares many traits with natural disasters, except for the global nature of the pandemic shock. This paper empirically examines trends in debt and economic growth around the onset of three types of calamities, namely natural disasters, armed conflicts, and external-debt distress in developing countries. The estimations provide quantitative estimates of differences in growth and debt trends in economies suffering episodes of calamities relative to the trends observed in economies not experiencing calamities. The paper finds that debt and growth evolve quite differently depending on the type of calamity. The evidence indicates that public debt and output growth tend to rise faster after natural disasters than in the counterfactual scenario without disasters, thus illustrating how debt-financed fiscal expansions can help economic reconstruction. The findings are different for episodes of debt distress defined as periods of debt restructuring, however. Economies experiencing debt distress are associated with growth trends that are on average below the growth rates of unaffected economies prior to and after the beginning of an episode of debt restructuring.
Overconfident: How Economic and Health Fault Lines Left the Middle East and North Africa Ill-Prepared to Face COVID-19(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-10-07) Gatti, Roberta ; Lederman, Daniel ; Fan, Rachel Yuting ; Hatefi, Arian ; Nguyen, Ha ; Sautmann, Anja ; Sax, Joseph Martin ; Wood, Christina A.This report examines the region’s economic prospects in 2021, forecasting that the recovery will be both tenuous and uneven as per capita GDP level stays below pre-pandemic levels. COVID-19 was a stress-test for the region’s public health systems, which were already overwhelmed even before the pandemic. Indeed, a decade of lackluster economic reforms left a legacy of large public sectors and high public debt that effectively crowded out investments in social services such as public health. This edition points out that the region’s health systems were not only ill-prepared for the pandemic, but suffered from over-confidence, as authorities painted an overly optimistic picture in self-assessments of health system preparedness. Going forward, governments must improve data transparency for public health and undertake reforms to remedy historical underinvestment in public health systems.
Middle East and North Africa Economic Update, April 2020: How Transparency Can Help the Middle East and North Africa(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020-04-09) Arezki, Rabah ; Lederman, Daniel ; Abou Harb, Amani ; El-Mallakh, Nelly ; Fan, Rachel Yuting ; Islam, Asif ; Nguyen, Ha ; Zouaidi, MarwaneDue to the dual shocks of the spread of the virus and lower oil prices, World Bank economists expect output of MENA to decline in 2020. This is in sharp contrast to the growth forecast of 2.6 percent published in October 2019. The growth downgrade of 3.7 percentage points is arguably a measure for the costs associated with the dual shocks of Covid-19 and the oil price collapse. These numbers are tentative. The true impact depends on future developments of the dual shocks, policy and society’s response, which depends on the transparent use of health and economic data. We recommend a two-step approach: It might be desirable to focus first on responding to the health emergency and the associated economic contraction. Fiscal consolidation and structural reforms associated with the persistent drop in oil prices and pre-existing challenges are also very important, but with proper external support, can wait until the health emergency subsides. Nevertheless, the MENA region has challenges that predate the crisis – it has been growing far slower than its peers. Had MENA’s growth of output per capita been the same as that of a typical peer economy over the past two decades, the region’s real output per capita would be at least 20% higher than what it is today. A large part of MENA’s low growth is arguably due to a lack of transparency. MENA is the only region that dropped in data transparency and capacity since 2005. We estimate that this has cost MENA 7-14 percent in GDP per capita losses since 2005. Lack of transparency hinders credible analyses of many important issues, two of which are highlighted in the report. First, lack of data transparency hampers credible analyses on the region’s debt sustainability – an important issue to examine after the crisis. MENA countries vary greatly in their debt reporting standards. World Bank economists and other external analysts do not have access to vital information about many types of public debt. Second, the unemployment and informality numbers in the region are debatable since MENA countries rely on varying definitions of employment with little harmonization across the region or with respect to international standards. This affects analyses of unemployment and informality.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-04-11) Gatti, Roberta ; Lederman, Daniel ; Islam, Asif M. ; Wood, Christina A. ; Fan, Rachel Yuting ; Lotfi, Rana ; Mousa, Mennatallah Emam ; Nguyen, HaThe Middle East and North Africa economies face an uncertain recovery. The war in Ukraine presents significant challenges to the global economy and the MENA region. Inflationary pressures brought about by the pandemic are likely to be further exacerbated by the conflict. The potential for rising food prices is even higher, which is likely to hurt the wallets of the poor and vulnerable in the region. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cast a shadow. As the latest variant sweeps over the region, countries grapple with a host of problems depending on initial conditions and policy priorities. The region, like the rest of the world, is not out of the woods yet. Vaccinations remain the effective path out of the pandemic, leading to lower hospitalizations and death rates. Testing helps curb the spread. During times of uncertainty, it is important to not be overconfident about the region’s growth prospects. Growth forecasts serve as a significant signpost for policymakers to chart a path forward. Over the last decade, growth forecasts in the MENA region have often been inaccurate and overly optimistic, which can lead to economic contractions down the road due to ebullient borrowing. There is considerable room for the region to improve its forecasts that are largely hindered by opaque data systems, growth volatility and conflict. The MENA region lags considerably in the timely production of credible statistics. A key finding of the report is that the best way to improve forecasters is to provide forecasters with as much good quality information as possible.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-06) Arezki, Rabah ; Djankov, Simeon ; Nguyen, Ha ; Yotzov, IvanUsing a new data set of 207 national elections across 50 democracies, this paper is the first to systematically examine the effects of oil price shocks on incumbents’ political fortunes in developed oil-importing countries. We find that oil price increases systematically lower the odds of reelection for incumbents and increase the likelihood of changes in the ideology of the incoming government. These shocks are found to operate through lowering consumption growth.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-11) de Nicola, Francesca ; Nguyen, Ha ; Loayza, NormanThis paper examines within-sector resource misallocation in three Southeast Asian countries -- Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The methodology accounts for measurement error in revenues and costs. The firm-level evidence suggests that measurement error is substantial, resulting in an overestimation of misallocation by as much as 30 percent. Nevertheless, resource misallocation across firms within a sector remains large, albeit declining. The findings imply that there are considerable potential gains from efficient reallocation -- above 80 percent for Indonesia and around 20 to 30 percent for Malaysia and Vietnam. Private domestic firms and firms with higher productivity appear to face larger distortions that prevent them from expanding.