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Maloney, William

Office of the Chief Economist Latin America and the Caribbean Region
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Innovation, Labor Economics, Trade, Productivity, Private Sector Development, Financial Sector, Spatial economics
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Office of the Chief Economist Latin America and the Caribbean Region
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Last updated: April 10, 2024
Biography
William F. Maloney is Chief Economist for the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. Mr. Maloney, a U.S. national, joined the Bank in 1998 as Senior Economist for the Latin America and Caribbean Region. He held various positions including Lead Economist in the Office of the Chief Economist for Latin America, Lead Economist in the Development Economics Research Group, Chief Economist for Trade and Competitiveness and Global Lead on Innovation and Productivity. He was most recently Chief Economist for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions (EFI) Vice Presidency. From 2011 to 2014 he was Visiting Professor at the University of the Andes and worked closely with the Colombian government on innovation and firm upgrading issues. Mr. Maloney received his PhD in Economics from the University of California Berkeley (1990), his BA from Harvard University (1981), and studied at the University of the Andes in Bogota, Colombia (1982-83). His research activities and publications have focused on issues related to international trade and finance, developing country labor markets, and innovation and growth, including several flagship publications about Latin America and the Caribbean.He has published in academic journals on issues related to international trade and finance, developing country labor markets, and innovation and growth as well as several flagship publications of the Latin American division of the Bank, including Informality: Exit and Exclusion;  Natural Resources: Neither Curse nor Destiny and Lessons from NAFTA, Does What you Export Matter: In Search of Empirical Guidance for Industrial Policy. Most recently, he published The innovation paradox: Developing Country Capabilities the Unrealized Potential of Technological Catch-Up and Harvesting Prosperity: Technology and Productivity Growth in Agriculture as part of the World Bank Productivity Project.  
Citations 202 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
  • Publication
    Place, Productivity, and Prosperity: Revisiting Spatially Targeted Policies for Regional Development
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-01-21) Grover, Arti; Lall, Somik V.; Maloney, William F.
    Place matters for productivity and prosperity. Myriad factors support a successful place, including not only the hard infrastructure such as roads, but also the softer elements such as worker skills, entrepreneurial ability, and well-functioning institutions. History suggests that prosperous places tend to persist, while “left-behind” regions—or those hurt by climatic, technological, or commercial shocks—struggle to catch up. This division gives rise to demands to “do something” about the subsequent spatial inequality. Such pressures often result in costly spatially targeted policies with disappointing outcomes because of a lack of analysis of the underlying barriers to growth and structural transformation and a fair appraisal of the possibility of overcoming them. The latest volume of the World Bank Productivity Project series, Place, Productivity, and Prosperity: Revisiting Spatially Targeted Policies for Regional Development makes three broad contributions. First, it provides new analytical and empirical insights into the three drivers of economic geography—agglomeration economies, migration, and distance—and the way in which these drivers interact. Second, it argues that these forces are playing out differently in developing countries than they have in advanced economies: urbanization is not accompanied by structural transformation, leaving cities crowded and accruing all the negative aspects of urbanization without being concentrated productively. Long-term amelioration of poverty in lagging regions requires advancing the overall national agenda of structural change and productivity growth. Third, it provides a heuristic framework with which to inform policy makers’ assessments of place-based policy proposals, helping them identify the regions where policy is likely to have an impact and those that would remain nonviable. The framework enables governments to clarify the implications of various policy options; to think critically about design priorities, including necessary complementary policies; and to navigate the implementation challenges.
  • Publication
    Income Mobility, Income Risk, and Welfare
    (Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank, 2019-06) Krebs, Tom; Krishna, Pravin; Maloney, William F.
    This paper presents a framework for the quantitative analysis of individual income dynamics, mobility, and welfare, with ex ante identical individuals facing a stochastic income process and market incompleteness, implying that they are unable to insure against persistent shocks to income. We show how the parameters of the income process can be estimated using repeated cross-sectional data with a short panel dimension and use a simple consumption-saving model for quantitative analysis of mobility and welfare. Our empirical application, using data on individual incomes from Mexico, provides striking results. Most of the measured income mobility is driven by measurement error or transitory income shocks and is therefore (almost) welfare neutral. Only a small part of measured income mobility is due to either welfare-reducing income risk or welfare-enhancing catching-up of low-income individuals with high-income individuals, both of which, nevertheless, have economically significant effects on social welfare. Strikingly, roughly half of the mobility that cannot be attributed to measurement error or transitory income shocks is driven by welfare-reducing persistent income shocks. Decomposing mobility into its fundamental components is thus crucial from the standpoint of welfare evaluation.
  • Publication
    Heterogeneity in Subjective Wellbeing : An Application to Occupational Allocation in Africa
    (Elsevier, 2015-01-03) Falco, Paolo; Maloney, William F.; Rijkers, Bob; Sarrias, Mauricio
    By exploiting recent advances in mixed (stochastic parameter) ordered probit estimators and a unique longitudinal dataset from Ghana, this paper examines the distribution of subjective wellbeing across sectors of employment. We find little evidence for the overall inferiority of the small firm informal sector relative to the formal salaried sector at the conditional mean. Moreover, the estimated underlying random parameter distributions unveil substantial latent heterogeneity in subjective wellbeing around the central tendency that fixed parameter models cannot detect. All job categories contain substantial shares of both relatively happy and disgruntled workers.
  • Publication
    Harvesting Prosperity: Technology and Productivity Growth in Agriculture
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020) Fuglie, Keith; Gautam, Madhur; Goyal, Aparajita; Maloney, William F.
    This book documents frontier knowledge on the drivers of agriculture productivity to derive pragmatic policy advice for governments and development partners on reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity. The analysis describes global trends and long-term sources of total factor productivity growth, along with broad trends in partial factor productivity for land and labor, revisiting the question of scale economies in farming. Technology is central to growth in agricultural productivity, yet across many parts of the developing world, readily available technology is never taken up. We investigate demand-side constraints of the technology equation to analyze factors that might influence producers, particularly poor producers, to adopt modern technology. Agriculture and food systems are rapidly transforming, characterized by shifting food preferences, the rise and growing sophistication of value chains, the increasing globalization of agriculture, and the expanding role of the public and private sectors in bringing about efficient and more rapid productivity growth. In light of this transformation, the analysis focuses on the supply side of the technology equation, exploring how the enabling environment and regulations related to trade and intellectual property rights stimulate Research and Development to raise productivity. The book also discusses emerging developments in modern value chains that contribute to rising productivity. This book is the fourth volume of the World Bank Productivity Project, which seeks to bring frontier thinking on the measurement and determinants of productivity to global policy makers.