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: 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.
Citations 5 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 13
  • 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
    The Costs of Staying Healthy: COVID-19 in LAC
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-04) Ballon, Paola; Mejia-Mantilla, Carolina; Olivieri, Sergio; Lara Ibarra, Gabriel; Romero, Javier
    COVID-19 closures in Latin American and the Caribbean countries helped to curb the spread of the virus, but inevitably brought negative consequences for households, principally in the form of job losses, income reduction, and, in some cases, food insecurity. Future policy measures should aim to strike the right balance between saving lives and protecting livelihoods. Where closures are necessary, they should be adapted to a country's labor market and other localized conditions so as to minimize profound welfare losses. Governments should strive for robust and agile social safety net systems to be able to respond to the sudden falls in household welfare.
  • Publication
    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, Diana
    The 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
    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
    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
    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
    COVID-19 in LAC: High Frequency Phone Surveys - Technical Note
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-04) Mejía-Mantilla, Carolina; Olivieri, Sergio; Rivadeneira, Ana; Lara Ibarra, Gabriel; Romero, Javier
    Latin American and the Caribbean is one of the regions in the world most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the welfare impacts for households have been severe. At the macroeconomic level, the World Bank estimates a contraction of 6.9 percent of the region’s GDP in 2020, due to pandemic-control measures and the deceleration of the global economy (World Bank, 2021). Regional export prices significantly dropped in the first semester of 2020 (5.2 percent) (Inter-American Development Bank, 2020), and although they began to recover in the second half of the year, the volume of goods-exports dropped by 8 points by the third quarter of 2020 (World Bank, 2021).
  • Publication
    The Labor Market Effects of Venezuelan Migration in Ecuador
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-07) Ortega, Francesc; Olivieri, Sergio; Carranza, Eliana; Rivadeneira, Ana
    As of 2019, more than 1.2 million Venezuelans passed through Ecuador and more than 400,000 settled (almost 3 percent of Ecuador's population). This paper analyzes the location choices of Venezuelan migrants in Ecuador and the labor market consequences of these choices, using data from Ecuador's labor force survey and mobile phone records on the geographic distribution of Venezuelan migrants. Around half of the migrants live in four cantons (of 221). Their location is primarily driven by local economic conditions, rather than point of entry. Overall, the regions with the largest inflows of Venezuelans have not seen any effects on labor market participation or employment, compared with regions with fewer inflows. However, our difference-in-difference estimates clearly indicate that young, low-educated Ecuadoran workers in high-inflow regions have been adversely affected. Specifically, the estimates that these workers have experienced reductions in employment quality, a 5 percentage-point increase in the rate of informality, and a 13 percentage-point reduction in earnings, relative to workers with similar characteristics living in areas with very low or non-existent inflows of Venezuelans.
  • Publication
    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, Cicero
    Economists 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.