Global Practice on Poverty, The World Bank
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Poverty and growth, Poverty measurement, Distributional impact of shocks, Labor informality, Inequality, Social Protection and Labor
Global Practice on Poverty, The World Bank
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated July 12, 2023
Sergio Olivieri is an economist in the Poverty Reduction and Equity department of the World Bank, based in Washington, DC. His main research areas are ex-ante analysis of the distributional impact of macroeconomic shocks, understanding the main channels through which economic growth affects poverty reduction, income distribution and multidimensional poverty. Olivieri has published articles about labor informality, polarization, mobility and inequality issues, most of them focused on Latin-American countries. He has also contributed to research reports on inequality, poverty, social cohesion and macroeconomic shocks. Before joining the Bank, Olivieri worked as a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Nation Development Program and the European Commission. He has taught courses on micro-simulation and micro-decomposition techniques for public servants and staff in international organizations around the world. He has also worked as an assistant professor of labor economics in the Department of Economics of Universidad National de La Plata in Buenos Aires, and as a researcher in the university's Center of Distributional, Labor and Social Studies.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 20
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-03) Jairo, Nunez ; Olivieri, Sergio ; Parra, Julieth ; Pico, JuliethColombia has reduced extreme poverty in the past 16 years by almost half, moderate poverty by 22 percentage points, and made more than four million Colombians jump the threshold of multidimensional poverty. However, it remains one of the most unequal countries in the region, after Brazil and Panama. Fiscal policy is one of the instruments that allow governments to speed up the decline in inequality levels and reduce poverty. This study presents an exhaustive and comprehensive analysis of the distributional impacts of taxes and expenditures in Colombia in 2017. It makes a methodological comparison with the Commitment to Equity, which was previously implemented, and includes multiple improvements in the methodology. The results suggest that the combined effect of taxes and social spending in Colombia contributes to poverty reduction between 0.3 and 2.6 percentage points for US$5.5 and US$3.2 per day per person respectively, while inequality is reduced by almost one Gini point. Taxes and direct transfers, as well as indirect transfers, are progressive and pro-poor, while indirect taxes are regressive and contribute to an increase in inequality. Finally, transfers in-kind for education and health services are progressive and contribute to the reduction of inequality.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-07) Munoz, Juan ; Munoz, Jose ; Olivieri, SergioThe worsening of Ecuador's socioeconomic conditions and the rapid inflow of Venezuelan migrants demand a rapid government response. Representative information on the migration and host communities is vital for evidence-based policy design. This study presents an innovative methodology based on the use of big data for sampling design of a representative survey of migrants and host communities' populations. This approach tackles the difficulties posed by the lack of information on the total number of Venezuelan migrants—regular and irregular—and their geographical location in the country. The total estimated population represents about 3 percent of the total Ecuadoran population. Venezuelans settled across urban areas, mainly in Quito, Guayaquil, and Manta (Portoviejo). The strategy implemented may be useful in designing similar exercises in countries with limited information (that is, lack of a recent census or migratory registry) and scarce resources for rapidly gathering socioeconomic data on migrants and host communities for policy design.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-07) Ballon, Paola ; Lara Ibarra, Gabriel ; Olivieri, Sergio ; Rivadeneira, AnaCoronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to preoccupy the population in Latin America and Caribbean (LAC), as do the pandemic’s economic ramifications. The willingness and or ability of people to follow the recommendation to stay at home began to noticeably tail off by the beginning of July. A gradual return to work is observed across all countries, although the situation remains less dynamic than before COVID. Among people re-engaged in the labor market, the majority are coming back to their pre-COVID jobs. Food insecurity has receded but continues to be a major issue for many families in the region. COVID has served to exacerbate existing disparities across the region with respect to medical care. Education continued in most cases thanks to distance learning. On most countries, over 90 percent of children were able to participate in distance learning activities during second wave.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-05) Rodriguez-Castelan, Carlos ; Araar, Abdelkrim ; Malasquez, Eduardo A. ; Olivieri, Sergio ; Vishwanath, TaraUnderstanding the economic and social effects of the recent global trends of rising market concentration and market power has become a policy priority, particularly in developing countries where markets are often more concentrated. In this context, since the poor are typically the most affected by lack of competition, new analytical tools to assess the distributional effects of variations in market concentration in a rapid and cost-efficient manner are required. To fill this knowledge gap, this paper introduces a simple simulation method, the Welfare and Competition tool (WELCOM), to estimate with minimum data requirements the direct distributional effects of market concentration through the price channel. Using this simple yet novel tool, this paper also illustrates the simulated distributional effects of reducing concentration in two markets in Mexico that are known for their high level of concentration: mobile telecommunications and corn products. The results show that increasing competition from four to 12 firms in the mobile telecommunications industry and reducing the market share of the oligopoly in corn products from 31.2 percent to 7.8 percent would achieve a combined reduction of 0.8 percentage points in the poverty headcount as well as a decline of 0.32 points in the Gini coefficient.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-05) Balcazar, Carlos Felipe ; Dang, Hai-Anh ; Malasquez, Eduardo ; Olivieri, Sergio ; Pico, JuliethThis study explores the short-run transitions between poverty, vulnerability, and middle class, using synthetic panels constructed from multiple rounds of Colombia's Integrated Household Survey (in Spanish Gran Encuesta Integrada de Hogares). The paper reports results from two approaches to define a vulnerability line: the first one employs a nonparametric and parsimonious model, while the second utilizes a fully parametric regression model with covariates. The estimation results suggest a range of between $8 to $13 per day per person in 2005 purchasing power parity dollars as the vulnerability line. Using an average daily vulnerability line of $10 per day per person, subsequent estimates on welfare dynamics suggest that, during the past decade, 20 percent of the Colombian population experienced downward mobility, and 24 percent experienced upward mobility. Furthermore, upward mobility increases with higher education levels and is lower for female-headed households.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-07) Clavijo, Irene ; Mejía-Mantilla, Carolina ; Olivieri, Sergio ; Lara-Ibarra, Gabriel ; Romero, Javier ; Balch, OliverThe most vulnerable households in Latin America and the Caribbean have been disproportionately affected by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, endangering the region’s inclusive development path. High-Frequency Phone Surveys show that two months into the pandemic, in May 2020, the gaps between the most vulnerable and the least vulnerable households in terms of job loss and income loss. The uneven impacts went beyond monetary indicators, as disadvantaged households suffered from higher levels of food insecurity and had lower access to good quality health and education services, such as online sessions with a teacher. To prevent the pandemic from erasing years of progress against inequality, the most vulnerable households require short-term support to overcome their liquidity constraints via safety net transfers, thus guaranteeing that their basic needs are met. In the medium term, government efforts should be focused on the recovery of households’ primary source of income through labor market policies that actively support the placement of the less advantaged groups and improve their employability. Equally important, it is necessary to curb losses related to human capital accumulation, given the long-term consequences that this entails. The return to in-person schooling, under strict bio-security protocols, is encouraged. When not possible, schools and parents should be provided with better tools to support distance learning.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-08) Ceriani, Lidia ; Olivieri, Sergio ; Ranzani, MarcoHousing is the largest durable good consumed by households. As such, any consumption-based measure of welfare, to be comprehensive, must include the value of the flow of services households derive from their dwellings, the so-called imputed rent. However, estimating imputed rents is a daunting task, which researchers and practitioners tend to overlook. This paper is the first attempt to assess the distributional impact of including housing in the welfare aggregate; the paper tests two estimation methods and analyzes four developing countries. The distributional impact cannot be predicted a priori, and evidence suggests it is context and method specific. Although changes in poverty and inequality are always statistically significant, they are only occasionally larger than one percentage point. By contrast, shared prosperity exhibits sizable changes, which might also determine international re-rankings. Albeit the inclusion of imputed rents reshuffles the set of poor households, observed changes in the socioeconomic profiling of the poor are unlikely to affect pro-poor policy design.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-07) Ballon, Paola ; Mejia-Mantilla, Carolina ; Olivieri, Sergio ; Lara-Ibarra, Gabriel ; Romero, Javier ; Balch, OliverDigital connectivity has been a critical mitigating factor for the adverse effects of lockdowns implemented in response to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on household welfare in Latin America and the Caribbean. Households with access to digital technologies were able to cope better with the shock. rates. More connected households also reported lower income losses, fewer instances of food insecurity and higher access to high quality remote learning. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has underlined the importance of ensuring that all segments of the population have access to digital technologies and of promoting digital skills throughout the lifecycle of individuals.
A Methodology for Updating International Middle-Class Lines for the Latin American and Caribbean Region(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-05-22) Fernandez, Jaime ; Olivieri, Sergio ; Sanchez, DianaThe middle class in Latin America and the Caribbean has been a central focus of policy debates in the region since the COVID-19 pandemic began. To identify and track vulnerable and middle-class populations accurately, it is necessary to update the upper and lower bounds for the middle class using 2017 purchasing power parity exchange rates. This paper contributes with a two-step methodology for updating these thresholds. The method indicates that updating the $13 lower-bound line in 2011 purchasing power parity dollars to 2017 purchasing power parity dollars results in a vulnerability line of $14. The study also finds an upper bound of $81 per person per day in 2017 purchasing power parity, compared with $70 in 2011 purchasing power parity. These thresholds are robust to a variety of assumptions and methodologies. The results of this study indicate that the proportion of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean classified as middle class increased from 36.3 percent in 2011 to 37.2 percent in 2017. However, there were no significant changes in the characteristics of this group.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-10) Ceriani, Lidia ; Inchauste, Gabriela ; Olivieri, SergioThis paper quantifies the contributions to poverty reduction observed in Sri Lanka between 2002 and 2012/13. The methods adopted for the analysis generate entire counterfactual distributions to account for the contributions of demographics, labor, and non-labor incomes in explaining poverty reduction. The findings show that the most important contributor to poverty reduction was growth in labor income, stemming from an increase in the returns to salaried nonfarm workers and higher returns to self-employed farm workers. Although some of this increase in earnings may point to improvements in productivity, defined as higher units of output per worker, some of it may simply reflect increases in food and commodity prices, which have increased the marginal revenue product of labor. To the extent that there have been no increases in the volumes being produced, the observed changes in poverty are vulnerable to reversals if commodity prices were to decline significantly. Finally, although private transfers (domestic and foreign) helped to reduce poverty over the period, public transfers were not as effective. In particular, the reduction in the real value of transfers of the Samurdhi program during 2002 to 2012/13 slowed down poverty reduction.