Olivieri, Sergio

Global Practice on Poverty, The World Bank
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Poverty and growth, Poverty measurement, Distributional impact of shocks, Labor informality, Inequality, Social Protection and Labor
Global Practice on Poverty, The World Bank
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Last updated: June 6, 2024
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.
Citations 5 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 22
  • Publication
    Understanding Poverty Reduction in Sri Lanka: Evidence from 2002 to 2012/13
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-10) Ceriani, Lidia; Inchauste, Gabriela; Olivieri, Sergio
    This 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.
  • Publication
    Mind the Gap: How COVID-19 is Increasing Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-07) Clavijo, Irene; Mejía-Mantilla, Carolina; Olivieri, Sergio; Lara-Ibarra, Gabriel; Romero, Javier; Balch, Oliver
    The 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
    Jobs Interrupted: The Effects of COVID-19 in the LAC Labor Markets
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-05) Mejia-Mantilla, Carolina; Olivieri, Sergio; Rivadeneira, Ana; Lara Ibarra, Gabriel; Romero, Javier
    Given the importance of labor income in the region, there are several important questions about the effects of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the labor market. At the outset of the pandemic, 48 percent of Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) workers stopped working and 16 percent lost their job. Yet, were job losses similar for all workers? Has the COVID-19 shock exacerbated unfavorable labor market conditions for vulnerable groups over time? What happened to those workers who remained employed throughout the early months of the pandemic? And, what lessons can be drawn from the experience? This note sheds light on these inquiries using household data from the LAC high-frequency phone surveys (HFPS) which were collected between May and August of 2020 from 13 countries in the region.
  • Publication
    Distributional Effects of Competition: A Simulation Approach
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-05) Araar, Abdelkrim; Rodriguez-Castelan, Carlos; Malasquez, Eduardo A.; Olivieri, Sergio; Vishwanath, Tara
    Understanding 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
    The Distributive Impact of Taxes and Expenditures in Colombia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-03) Jairo, Nunez; Olivieri, Sergio; Parra, Julieth; Pico, Julieth
    Colombia 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
    Shoring Up Economic Refugees: Venezuelan Migrants in the Ecuadoran Labor Market
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-07) Ortega, Francesc; Olivieri, Sergio; Rivadeneira, Ana; Carranza, Eliana
    Ecuador became the third largest receiver of the 4.3 million Venezuelans who left their country in the last five years, hosting around 10 percent of them. Little is known about the characteristics of these migrants and their labor market outcomes. This paper fills this gap by analyzing a new large survey (EPEC). On average, Venezuelan workers are highly skilled and have high rates of employment, compared with Ecuadorans. However, their employment is of much lower quality, characterized by low wages and high rates of informality and temporality. Venezuelans have experienced significant occupational downgrading, relative to their employment prior to emigration. As a result, despite their high educational attainment, Venezuelans primarily compete for jobs with the least skilled and more economically vulnerable Ecuadoran workers. Our simulations suggest that measures that allow Venezuelans to obtain employment that matches their skills, such as facilitating the conversion of education credentials, would increase Ecuador's GDP between 1.6 and 1.9 percent and alleviate the pressure on disadvantaged native workers. We also show that providing work permits to Venezuelan workers would substantially reduce their rates of informality and increase their average earnings.
  • Publication
    Spatial Heterogeneity and Household Life Cycle in the Multidimensional Poverty Index: The Case of Colombia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-06-14) Felipe Balcázar, Carlos; Malásquez, Eduardo A.; Olivieri, Sergio; Pico, Julieth
    This note discusses the evolution of the MPI in Colombia since 2010 and describes some of the challenges associated with the spatial heterogeneity of multidimensional poverty across urban and rural areas, and the relationship between life cycle and the evolution of the MPI over time. Also, this note opens a discussion that has not been yet addressed by the literature on how to update the indicators in the MPI once these are no longer capturing significant deprivations.
  • Publication
    The Welfare Costs of Being Off the Grid
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-07) Ballon, Paola; Mejia-Mantilla, Carolina; Olivieri, Sergio; Lara-Ibarra, Gabriel; Romero, Javier; Balch, Oliver
    Digital 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.
  • Publication
    Estimating the Welfare Costs of Reforming the Iraq Public Distribution System: A Mixed Demand Approach
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-06) Ramadan, Racha; Krishnan, Nandini; Olivieri, Sergio
    The Iraqi Public Distribution System is the largest universal, in-kind subsidy system in the world. In 2012, the Public Distribution System transfers accounted for as much as 30 percent of incomes of the poorest 10 percent of the Iraqi population and provided 70 percent of the calories of the poorest 40 percent. In effect, the Public Distribution System remains the only safety net program that covers all the poor and vulnerable in the country. Yet, it is a very inefficient and expensive means to deliver transfers to the poor and creates distortions in the economy as well as an unsustainable fiscal burden. The fiscal crisis since mid-2014 has put reform of the Public Distribution System back on the agenda. This paper employs a mixed demand approach to analyze the consumption patterns of Iraqi households and quantify the welfare impact of a potential reform of the Public Distribution System in urban areas. The results show that household consumption of Public Distribution System items is relatively inelastic to changes in price. Consumption is more inelastic for the poorest quintiles and, for much of the population, these goods are not inferior, but rather normal goods. Cross-sectional comparisons suggest that with improvements in welfare levels, and with well-functioning markets, some segments of the population are substituting away from the Public Distribution System and increasing their consumption of market substitutes. The removal of all subsidies will require compensating poor households by 74.4 percent of their expenditures compared with nearly 40 percent for the richest households in urban areas.
  • Publication
    Losing the Gains of the Past: The Welfare and Distributional Impacts of the Twin Crises in Iraq 2014
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-02) Krishnan, Nandini; Olivieri, Sergio
    Iraq was plunged into two simultaneous crises in the second half of 2014, one driven by a sharp decline in oil prices, the other, by the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The severity and recurrent nature of these crises demand a fast understanding and quantification of their welfare impact, which is critical for policy makers. This paper employs an innovative extension of the micro-simulation methodology to provide an ex ante estimate and analysis of the complex and dynamic poverty and distributional impact of the twin crises. The results show an almost complete erosion of the welfare gains of the past, with poverty falling back to 2007 levels and a 20 percent increase in the number of the poor. While the incidence of poverty is higher among internally displaced persons than the rest of the population (except in the Islamic State–affected governorates, where poverty is higher), internally displaced persons make up only a small proportion of Iraq's eight million poor in 2014. The rest comprise of households who already lived below the poverty line, or those who have fallen below the poverty line in the face of the massive economic disruptions the country is facing. The welfare impact of the crises varies widely across space, with the largest increases in poverty headcount rates in Kurdistan and the Islamic State–affected governorates. Yet, the poorest regions in the 2014 crisis scenario are the same as in 2012, the currently Islamic State–affected, and the South, with poverty rates of 40 and 30 percent, respectively. Although the simulated results are not strictly comparable to ex post micro data estimates, because of survey coverage constraints, overall the results are very much in line, particularly in Kurdistan and the South.