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Labor economics, Private sector development, Private Sector Development, Trade
Development Research Group
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Bob Rijkers is an economist in the Trade and International Integration Unit of the Development Economics Research Group. He is interested in political economy, trade and labor market issues. Since joining the World Bank full-time in 2008, he has worked in the Poverty Reduction Anchor of the PREM network, the Macroeconomics and Growth Unit of the Development Economics Research Group and the Office of the Chief Economist of the Middle East and Northern Africa region. He holds a BA in Science and Social Sciences from University College Utrecht, Utrecht University and an M.Phil. and D.Phil. in Economics from the University of Oxford.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 48
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-12) Burger, Martijn ; Ianchovichina, Elena ; Rijkers, BobWhich foreign direct investments are most affected by political instability? Analysis of quarterly greenfield investment flows into countries in the Middle East and North Africa from 2003 to 2012 shows that adverse political shocks are associated with significantly reduced investment inflows in the non-resource tradable sectors. By contrast, investments in natural resource sectors and non-tradable activities appear insensitive to such shocks. Consistent with these patterns, the significant reduction in investment inflows in Arab Spring affected economies was starkest in the non-resource manufacturing sector. Political instability is thus associated with increased reliance on non-tradables and aggravated resource dependence. Conversely, how intensified political instability affects aggregate foreign direct investment is critically contingent on the initial sector composition of these flows.
Publication(MIT Press, 2013-12) Hallward-Driemeier, Mary ; Rijkers, BobUsing Indonesian manufacturing census data (1991–2001), this paper rejects the hypothesis that the East Asian crisis unequivocally improved the reallocative process. The correlation between productivity and employment growth did not strengthen, and the crisis induced the exit of relatively productive firms. The attenuation of the relationship between productivity and survival was stronger in provinces with comparatively lower reductions in minimum wages, but not due to reduced entry, changing loan conditions, or firms connected to the Suharto regime suffering disproportionately. On the bright side, firms that entered during the crisis were relatively more productive, which helped mitigate the reduction in aggregate productivity.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-03) Rijkers, Bob ; Freund, Caroline ; Nucifora, AntonioThis paper examines the relationship between regulation and the business interests of President Ben Ali and his family, using firm-level data from Tunisia for 1994-2010. Data on investment regulations are merged with balance sheet and firm-level census data in which 220 firms owned by the Ben Ali family are identified. These connected firms outperform their competitors in terms of employment, output, market share, profits, and growth and sectors in which they are active are disproportionately subject to authorization requirements and restriction on foreign direct investment. Consistent with theories of capture, performance differences between connected firms and their peers are significantly larger in highly regulated sectors. In addition, the introduction of new foreign direct investment restrictions and authorization requirements in narrowly defined five-digit sectors is correlated with the presence of connected firms and with their startup, suggesting that regulation is endogenous to state capture. The evidence implies that Tunisia's industrial policy was used as a vehicle for rent creation for the president and his family.
Who Benefits from Promoting Small and Medium Scale Enterprises? Some Empirical Evidence from Ethiopia(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-05) Rijkers, Bob ; Ruggeri Laderchi, Caterina ; Teal, FrancisThe Addis Ababa Integrated Housing Development Program aims to tackle the housing shortage and unemployment that prevail in Addis Ababa by deploying and supporting small and medium scale enterprises to construct low-cost housing using technologies novel for Ethiopia. The motivation for such support is predicated on the view that small firms create more jobs per unit of investment by virtue of being more labor intensive and that the jobs so created are concentrated among the low-skilled and hence the poor. To assess whether the program has succeeded in biasing technology adoption in favor of labor and thereby contributed to poverty reduction, the impact of the program on technology usage, labor intensity, and earnings is investigated using a unique matched workers-firms dataset, the Addis Ababa Construction Enterprise Survey. The data are representative of all registered construction firms in Addis and were collected specifically for the purpose of analyzing the impact of the program. The authors find that program firms do not adopt different technologies and are not more labor intensive than non-program firms. There is an earnings premium for program participants, who tend to be relatively well-educated, which is heterogeneous and highest for those at the bottom of the earnings distribution.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-03) Loening, Josef ; Rijkers, Bob ; Söderbom, MånsThis paper uses uniquely matched household, enterprise and community survey data from four major regions in rural Ethiopia to characterize the performance, constraints and opportunities of nonfarm enterprises. The nonfarm enterprise sector is sizeable, particularly important for women, and plays an important role during the low season for agriculture, when alternative job opportunities are limited. Returns to nonfarm enterprise employment are low on average and especially so for female-headed enterprises. Women nevertheless have much higher participation rates than men, which attest to their marginalized position in the labor market. Most enterprises are very small and rely almost exclusively on household members to provide the required labor inputs. Few firms add to their capital stock or increase their labor inputs after startup. Local fluctuations in predicted crop performance affect the performance of nonfarm enterprises, because of the predominant role played by the agricultural sector. Enterprise performance is also affected by the localized nature of sales and limited market integration for nonfarm enterprises. The policy implications of these and other findings are discussed.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-10) Falco, Paolo ; Maloney, William F. ; Rijkers, Bob ; Sarrias, MauricioUsing an extraordinarily rich panel dataset from Ghana, this paper explores the nature of self-employment and informality in developing countries through the analysis of self-reported happiness with work and life. Subjective job satisfaction measures allow assessment of the relative desirability of different jobs in ways that, conditional wage comparisons cannot. By exploiting recent advances in mixed (random parameter) ordered probit models, the distribution of subjective well-being across sectors of employment is quantified. There is little evidence for the overall inferiority of the small firm informal sector: there is not a robust average satisfaction premium for formal work vs. self-employment or informal salaried work, and owners of informal firms that employ others are on average significantly happier than workers in the formal private sector. Moreover, the estimated distribution of parameters predicting satisfaction reveal substantial heterogeneity in subjective well-being within sectors that conventional fixed parameter models, such as standard ordered probit models, cannot detect: Whatever the average satisfaction premium in a sector, all job categories contain both relatively happy and disgruntled workers. Specifically, roughly 67, 50, 40 and 59 percent prefer being a small-firm employer, sole proprietor, informal salaried, civic worker respectively, than formal work. Hence, there is a high degree of overlap in the distribution of satisfaction across sectors. The results are robust to the inclusion of fixed effects and alternate measures of satisfaction. Job characteristics, self-perceived autonomy and experimentally elicited measures of attitudes toward risk do not appear to explain these distributional patterns.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2012) Costa, Rita ; Rijkers, BobUsing novel matched household-enterprise-community datasets from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, this paper analyses gender differences in rural non-farm entrepreneurship. Women have lower rates of non-farm entrepreneurship, except in Ethiopia. Female-headed households which run a non-farm firm derive a larger share of their income from it, even though female firms are smaller and less productive. Differences in output per worker are overwhelmingly accounted for by sorting by sector and size, as well as differences in factor intensity They are not due to, increasing returns to scale, differences in human capital or local investment climate characteristics. By contrast, gender differences in investment and growth rates are small.
Labor Supply Responses to Health Shocks: Evidence from High-Frequency Labor Market Data from Urban Ghana(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2019-10) Heath, Rachel ; Mansuri, Ghazala ; Rijkers, BobWorkers in developing countries are subject to frequent health shocks. Using 10 weeks of high-frequency labor market data that were collected in urban Ghana, this paper documents that men are 9 percentage points more likely to work in weeks in which another worker in the household is unexpectedly ill. The paper provides suggestive evidence that these effects are strongest among very risk averse men, men in poorer households, and men who are the highest earners in their household. By contrast, women display a net zero response to another worker's illness, even women who are the highest earners in their household.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-05) Rijkers, Bob ; Costa, RitaDespite their increasing prominence in policy debates, little is known about gender inequities in non-agricultural labor market outcomes in rural areas. Using matched household-enterprise-community data sets from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, this paper documents and analyzes gender differences in the individual portfolio choice and productivity of non-farm entrepreneurship. Except for Ethiopia, women are less likely than men to become nonfarm entrepreneurs. Women's nonfarm entrepreneurship isn't strongly correlated with household composition or educational attainment, but is especially prevalent amongst women who are the head of their household. Female-led firms are much smaller and less productive on average, though gender differences in productivity vary dramatically across countries. Mean differences in log output per worker suggest that male firms are roughly 10 times as productive as female firms in Bangladesh, three times as those in Ethiopia and twice as those in Sri Lanka. By contrast, no significant differences in labor productivity were detected in Indonesia. Differences in output per worker are overwhelmingly accounted for by sorting by sector and size. They can't be explained by differences in capital intensity, human capital or the local investment climate, nor by increasing returns to scale.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-11) Johansson, Sara ; Revenga, Ana ; Paci, Pierella ; Rijkers, BobAlthough economic crises are difficult to predict, their recurrence is a salient feature of emerging market economies. Nevertheless, many developing countries continue to lack an effective policy infrastructure that can mitigate the impacts of economic downturns on employment opportunities without affecting long-term growth prospects. This was painfully highlighted by the hasty reactions implemented by many countries in response to the global downturn of 2008-09, and by the ad hoc and reactive nature of many of the policies implemented. The weak ability of governments to systematically foresee, monitor, and offset adverse labor market impacts of economic downturn is of particular concern in developing countries where poverty incidence is high and labor is typically the only asset for the majority of the population. The main objectives of this note are: 1) to highlight the need for policies that limit earnings volatility; 2) to guide policy makers through the challenges inherent in crafting effective and comprehensive policy packages.