Olivieri, Sergio

Global Practice on Poverty, The World Bank
Profile Picture
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
Contact Information
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 19
  • Publication
    Evaluating the Accuracy of Homeowner Self-Assessed Rents in Peru
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-08) Ceriani, Lidia; Olivieri, Sergio; Ranzani, Marco
    Attributing a rental value to the dwellings of homeowners is essential in various contexts, including distributional analysis and the compilation of national accounts, consumer price indexes (CPIs), and purchasing power parity indexes. One of the methods for making the attribution is to use homeowner estimates of the market rental value they would pay (receive) for their dwellings if these were rented. This is known as homeowner self-assessed rent. However, homeowner estimates may not be accurate because of the way questions aimed at soliciting such information are phrased, the sentimental attachment of the homeowners to the properties, lack of information about rental markets, and other reasons. Yet, researchers and practitioners often neglect to ascertain the accuracy of homeowner assessments. This study argues that comparing unconditional or conditional means may be misleading if one has not ascertained whether the observable characteristics of homeowner and tenant dwellings are similar. Using Peruvian data from 2003 to 2017, the study tests the accuracy of self-assessed rental values with matching estimators. In Metropolitan Lima, homeowners typically provide accurate estimates of the rental market values of their dwellings. In rural areas, market rental values are underestimated by homeowners in more instances. The direction and magnitude of the inaccuracies in Metropolitan Lima and in rural areas are comparable and range between −25 percent and −20 percent.
  • 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
    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
    What is Behind the Decline in Poverty Since 2000? Evidence from Bangladesh, Peru and Thailand
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-09) Inchauste, Gabriela; Olivieri, Sergio; Saavedra, Jaime; Winkler, Hernan
    This paper quantifies the contributions of different factors to poverty reduction observed in Bangladesh, Peru and Thailand over the last decade. In contrast to methods that focus on aggregate summary statistics, the method adopted here generates entire counterfactual distributions to account for the contributions of demographics and income from labor and non-labor sources in explaining poverty reduction. The authors find that the most important contributor was the growth in labor income, mostly in the form of farm income in Bangladesh and Thailand and non-farm income in the case of Peru. This growth in labor incomes was driven by higher returns to individual and household endowments, pointing to increases in productivity and real wages as the driving force behind poverty declines. Lower dependency ratios also helped to reduce poverty, particularly in Bangladesh. Non-labor income contributed as well, albeit to a smaller extent, in the form of international remittances in the case of Bangladesh and through public and private transfers in Peru and Thailand. Transfers are more important in explaining the reduction in extreme compared with moderate poverty.
  • 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.