Office of the Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean at the World Bank
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Economic development, Trade, Latin America
Office of the Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean at the World Bank
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Samuel Pienknagura is a Senior Economist in the World Bank's Office of the Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean. He obtained a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT in 2011. His research focuses on topics regarding economic growth and cross country productivity differences as well as political economy. He is currently working on various topics ranging from firm-level analysis of R&D and innovation decisions, the relation between skill differences and productivity differences, as well as the effect of financial development on growth.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 10
Latin America and the Caribbean as Tailwinds Recede : In Search of Higher Growth, LAC Semiannual Report, April 2013(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-04-24) de la Torre, Augusto ; Pienknagura, Samuel ; Levy Yeyati, EduardoThis semiannual report — a product of the Office of the Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean Region of the World Bank — examines the short and medium-term challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) as the external factors that were instrumental in the region’s recent performance recede. Chapter 1 gives an overview of the global economy and its implications for the short- and medium-term prospects of the LAC region. Chapter 2 provides a detailed analysis of the general patterns of domestic demand and supply observed in LAC over the last decade. In particular we document the steady increase in LAC’s domestic demand, especially its investment component, as a share of GDP over the 2000s. Moreover, we show that the rise of domestic demand has occurred in tandem with an expansion of the services sector. We assess what are the pitfalls and challenges for LAC’s growth pattern in a less benign global environment.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2013-10-09) de la Torre, Augusto ; Levy Yeyati, Eduardo ; Pienknagura, SamuelThis semiannual report examines the short and medium-term challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) as the external factors that were instrumental in the region’s recent performance recede. In particular, we address the role of the exchange rate as a counter-cyclical policy tool to buffer adverse external shocks. As is customary in this series, Chapter 1 starts by providing an overview of the global economy and its implications for the short and medium-term prospects of the LAC region. It also examines the vulnerabilities of the region as tailwinds recede. Chapter 2 describes the new role of the exchange rate as a shock absorber in LAC amid the important transformations observed in the region in the past decade on the macro-financial front. Finally, Chapter 3 gives a detailed look at exchange rate-smoothing policy interventions.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-12) Cordella, Tito ; Pienknagura, SamuelThe standard macro(prudential) models focus on externalities and treat all prudential instruments as alternative, but equivalent, forms of Pigouvian taxes. This paper explicitly models individual banks' risk choices and shows that different prudential instruments affect banks' risk-taking incentives differently. Thus, conflicts may arise between the micro and macro prudential stance.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2014-01-02) Lederman, Daniel ; Messina, Julián ; Pienknagura, Samuel ; Rigolini, JameleEntrepreneurship is a fundamental driver of growth, development, and job creation. While Latin America and the Caribbean has a wealth of entrepreneurs, firms in the region, compared to those in other regions, are small in size and less likely to grow or innovate. Productivity growth has remained lackluster for decades, including during the recent commodity boom. Enhancing the creation of good jobs and accelerating productivity growth in the region will require dynamic entrepreneurs. Latin American Entrepreneurs: Many Firms but Little Innovation studies the landscape of entrepreneurship in Latin America and the Caribbean. Utilizing new datasets that cover issues such as firm creation, firm dynamics, export decisions, and the behavior of multinational corporations, the book synthesizes the results of a comprehensive analysis of the status, prospects, and challenges of entrepreneurship in the region. Useful tools and information are provided to help policy makers and practitioners identify policy areas governments can explore to enhance innovation and encourage high-growth, transformational entrepreneurship.
Publication(Washington, DC, 2012-10) de la Torre, Augusto ; Messina, Julian ; Pienknagura, SamuelAfter a robust recovery following the global crisis, Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) has entered into a phase of lower growth dynamics: economic activity in the region is expected to expand by about 3 percent in 2012, after having grown at 4 percent in 2011 and 6 percent in 2010. This deceleration is not specific to LAC but is part of a global slowdown. World growth is indeed declining sharply, from 4.5 percent in 2011 to about 2.3 percent in 2012. Notably, the slowdown in middle-income regions has taken place in a highly synchronized manner: growth rates in LAC, Eastern Europe and South East Asia have fallen by a very similar magnitude (about 3 percentage points) between 2010 and 2012. While this synchronization reflects exogenous (global) forces the spillover to emerging markets of weaker activity in the world's growth poles, particularly Europe and China it also reflects endogenous (internal) dynamics, particularly the fact that many Middle Income Countries (MIC) had already reached in 2010-2011 the peak of their own business cycles. This synchronicity notwithstanding, the 2012 growth forecasts for individual countries in LAC are significantly heterogeneous, reflecting complex interactions between external and country-specific factors. The first chapter, which is shorter, concerns the economic juncture and growth prospects. The second chapter, which is longer and more substantive, deals with selected labor issues from both the structural and cyclical viewpoints.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-06) Lederman, Daniel ; Pienknagura, Samuel ; Rojas, DiegoTraditional measures of trade diversification only take into account contemporaneous export baskets. These measures fail to capture a country’s ability to respond to shocks by allocating factors of production into activities for which it has already paid the fixed costs associated with exporting. This paper corrects for the shortcoming of traditional measures of diversification by introducing a novel measure of trade diversification—latent diversification—and proposes a proxy to measure latent diversification, which is calculated by taking into account the entire history of a country’s exports. The paper shows that the observed gaps between traditional measures of diversification and the proposed proxy of latent diversification are sizeable; countries hold latent export baskets that are, on average, three times as large as their average contemporaneous export basket, and these gaps are largest for poor and small countries. Moreover, latent diversification is an important determinant of volatility—more diversified latent export baskets are associated with lower terms of trade volatility and, subsequently, lower GDP per capita volatility, even after controlling for the degree of contemporaneous export diversification and other trade and country characteristics. The latter result, together with the disproportionately large latent baskets relative to contemporaneous baskets observed in poor and small countries, suggests that latent diversification is an important vehicle toward stability in countries that face barriers in building diversified contemporaneous export baskets.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015-04) de la Torre, Augusto ; Ize, Alain ; Pienknagura, SamuelThe April 2015 LAC Semiannual Report covers the short-term prospects and provides an analysis of the external factors affecting the region's economic performance. The first chapter expands on LAC's economic outlook paying special attention to the global context and its effect on LAC’s economic performance. In this first Chapter we argue that the region experienced an external shock that has shaped growth in recent years, and that this shock is likely here to stay. Chapter 2 discusses the policy space available for LAC countries as they try to accommodate to the current global context. In particular, the first part of the second Chapter discusses the rather limited monetary fiscal and monetary space currently present in the region. The second part of the Chapter argues part of this limited policy space is associated to LAC’s relatively low savings rate. Moreover, the Chapter shows that in addition to the potential positive effects that higher savings could have on policy space, it could also have a beneficial effect on long-term growth.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-08) Bennett, Federico ; Lederman, Daniel ; Pienknagura, Samuel ; Rojas, DiegoAfter investment, exports and imports are the most volatile components of aggregate demand within countries. Moreover, the volatility of growth and the volatility of trade flows tend to move together; they declined from the 1990s until 2009, followed by an increase since 2009. This paper explores the drivers of such movements in trade-flow volatility. The analysis decomposes trade growth into six components to study their contribution to the overall volatility of trade flows, and presents three findings. First, trade volatility is mostly explained by a factor common to all countries, country-specific factors, and changes in the gravity-related characteristics of a country's trading partners. Product composition and the identity of trading partners appear to be less important in explaining volatility. Second, the pre-2009 decline in volatility and the post-2009 increase in volatility appear to be driven by different factors. The former is mostly explained by a steady decline in the variance of country-specific factors. In contrast, the latter appears to be driven mainly by an increase in the volatility of factors common to all countries. Third, trade diversification is a likely force behind the steady decline in trade volatility driven by country-specific factors, especially in developing countries.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2017-03-14) Bown, Chad P. ; Lederman, Daniel ; Pienknagura, Samuel ; Robertson, RaymondThis book proposes a renewal of 'Open Regionalism' in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) aimed at achieving the region's goals of high growth with stability. The LAC region experienced a growth spurt with equity during the first decade of the 21st Century. It is well understood that an unsustainable demand boom fueled by terms-of-trade improvements drove this growth acceleration episode, especially in South America. Unfortunately, terms of trade are no longer fueling growth, and the region’s policymakers are in search of new sources of growth with stability. With the experience of East Asia and the Pacific in mind, many policymakers in LAC are looking to international economic ties as a potential source of stable growth. The challenge highlighted in this book lies in designing an integration agenda comprising trade and factor market integration that is conducive to region-wide efficiency gains, which can help LAC enhance its global competitiveness. The forces of geography imply that pro-growth global integration cannot be achieved without building a strong neighborhood. Thus, this volume argues that LAC's regional economic integration agenda needs to go well beyond the current spaghetti bowl of preferential trading arrangements.
Are All Trade Agreements Equal?: The Role of Distance in Shaping the Effect of Economic Integration Agreements on Trade Flows(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-08) Freeman, Rebecca ; Pienknagura, SamuelHow does geographic distance affect the impact of trade agreements on bilateral exports, and through what channels? This paper examines this questions in a gravity model context for different types of goods for 185 countries over the period 1965-2010. Three stylized facts emerge. First, although economic integration agreements have a positive impact on trade flows, geographic distance significantly decreases their effect. Second, this phenomenon is in large part explained by the impact of economic integration agreements on distance-sensitive goods, in particular intermediates. These results hold when controlling for trade agreement depth, measured by the type of agreement and content of provisions, and economic similarity among trading partners. Third, this paper finds either no significant effect or a positive interaction between distance and economic integration agreements for final goods, suggesting that trade agreements among countries located far from each other help consumption patterns shift toward the most efficient producers.