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 - 9 of 9
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, 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, 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.
Estimating the Welfare Costs of Reforming the Iraq Public Distribution System: A Mixed Demand Approach(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-06) Krishnan, Nandini ; Ramadan, Racha ; Olivieri, SergioThe 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.
Considering Labor Informality in Forecasting Poverty and Inequality: A Microsimulation Model for Latin American and Caribbean Countries(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-07-12) Montoya, Kelly ; Olivieri, Sergio ; Braga, CiceroEconomists have long been interested in measuring the poverty and distributional impacts of macroeconomic projections and shocks. In this sense, microsimulation models have been widely used to estimate the distributional effects since they allow accounting for several transmission channels through which macroeconomic forecasts could impact individuals and households. This paper innovates previous microsimulation methodology by introducing more flexibility in labor earnings, considering intra-sectoral variation according to the formality status, and assessing its effect on forecasting country-level poverty, inequality, and other distributive indicators. The results indicate that the proposed methodology accurately estimates the intensity of poverty in the most immediate years indistinctively of how labor income is simulated. However, allowing for more intra-sectoral variation in labor income leads to more accurate projections in poverty and across the income distribution, with gains in performance in the middle term, especially in atypical years such as 2020.
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, SergioIraq 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.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-08) Buitrago, Paola ; Muller, Miriam ; Olivieri, Sergio ; Pico, JuliethThis note presents the gender poverty profiles for Colombia using a lifecycle approach. In Colombia, as in the vast majority of countries around the world, girls and boys are consistently poorer than adults and seniors. Notwithstanding, the difference on poverty rates between women and men during their reproductive age in Colombia is around 6 p.p. while in the world is around 2 p.p. Another interesting finding is that the likelihood of being poor diminishes with formal education, for both women and men. Nevertheless, as the level of formal education increases, the share of women among the poor do so also. This note is organized as follows: section one presents the poverty rates for women and men, by education level, marital status, location, and employment type. Section two presents the results of the lifecycle approach. The authors present the gender poverty profile when variables as age, demographic, and economic composition are combined with gender, to define the profiles. And finally, section three presents some final remarks.