Policy Research Working Paper series publication roundup for March 1–15

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This blog is a biweekly feature highlighting recent working papers from around the World Bank Group that were published in the World Bank’s Policy Research Working Paper Series. This entry introduces five papers published from March 1 to March 15 on various topics, including voting patterns and migration, citizen participation, gender, vaccinations among others.

The first two papers we introduce touch upon topics related to Latin American electoral politics and citizen participation. In The Electoral Consequences of Easing the Integration of Forced Migrants: Evidence from a Southern Country, Sandra V. Rozo and coauthors examine how easing the economic integration of forced migrants affect native voting behaviors in the Global South.  In Citizen Participation and Political Trust in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Machine Learning Approach, Natalia Pecorari and Jose Cuesta take a look at the linkages between trust in government and citizen participation in Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • The Electoral Consequences of Easing the Integration of Forced Migrants: Evidence from a Southern Country examines the electoral effects of the Programa Especial de Permanencia (PEP) in Colombia. The PEP was a regularization program offered to approximately half a million Venezuelan forced migrants for up to two years. The paper provides evidence that a large migrant regularization program that granted job permits and social benefits to Venezuelan migrants did not change the voting behavior of Colombian natives. This lack of voter response does not stem from lack of information about the PEP program.

Figure 1. Venezuelan Inflows to Colombia

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A line Chart showing Figure 1. Venezuelan Inflows to Colombia
  • Citizen Participation and Political Trust in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Machine Learning Approach investigates the relationship between trust in government and citizen participation in Latin America and the Caribbean. Using machine learning techniques and Latinobarómetro 2020 data, the paper estimates that trust in national governments or other governmental institutions plays neither a dominant nor consistent role in driving political participation. Instead, interest in politics, personal circumstances such as experience of crime and discrimination, and socioeconomic aspects appear to drive citizen participation much more strongly.

The next two papers we introduce examine very timely topics as the world commemorated International Women’s Day on March 8. In Not All That It Seems: Narrowing of Gender Gaps in Employment during the Onset of COVID-19 in Indonesia, Daniel Halim and coauthors measure the gendered impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment in Indonesia. In Sharing Parental Leave between Mothers and Fathers: Experimental Evidence from a Messaging Intervention in Uruguay, Ana Maria Munoz Boudet and coauthors examine parental leave as a family policy to facilitate balancing care and work responsibilities and promoting gender equality.

  • Not All That It Seems: Narrowing of Gender Gaps in Employment during the Onset of COVID-19 in Indonesia uses Indonesia’s National Labor Force Survey from 2016 to 2020 to study the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Indonesia’s labor market. The results suggest that the pandemic has had mixed effects on the Indonesian labor market. While the pandemic has narrowed the gender gaps in employment participation through the “added worker effect” among women, it has also lowered the overall employment quality among both gender groups. The findings show that the increase in female employment is primarily driven by women in rural areas without high school education, entering informal work, agricultural employment, or unpaid family work. For men, the pandemic has had adverse impacts on their employment across the board in all sub-populations.

Figure 2. Share of formal employment across the years

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A line chart showing Figure 2. Share of formal employment across the years
Source: Sakernas 2016–2020 (February and August rounds). Formal employment includes employers that are assisted by permanent workers, as well as employees (wage workers). The green and yellow dots represent the female and male shares of formal employment within the pool of employed individuals of each sex group. The dash vertical line indicates the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia (March 2020). Green and yellow dash lines represent the lowest fit of the female and male formal employment shares between February 2016 and February 2020, while the green and yellow solid lines represent the linear fit of female and male employment shares from February 2020 to August 2020
  • Sharing Parental Leave between Mothers and Fathers: Experimental Evidence from a Messaging Intervention in Uruguay examines the effects of an information and awareness-raising intervention, delivered via email and text messages on men’s and women’s awareness and intentions of shared take-up of a parental leave program. The intervention was successful in increasing knowledge about the parental leave program and shifting traditional gender norm views among women, regarding father’s involvement and care planning. For men, knowledge about the program increased. However, the strong association between parental leave and breastfeeding led to fathers privileging mothers’ use of the leave benefit.

The last paper we introduce explores cash transfers and vaccinations. In Can Vaccination Incentives Backfire? Experimental Evidence That Offering Cash Incentives Can Reduce Vaccination Intentions in Some Contexts, William Seitz and coauthors study the effect of proposing a monetary incentive for vaccination intentions, with a survey-based randomized controlled experiment conducted separately in three countries, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. Respondents from nationally representative surveys were randomly assigned to a control group (for which no incentive was proposed) or to one of several treatment groups with varying levels of hypothetical compensation. Offering incentives markedly reduced overall vaccination intentions in all three counties. Country-level results ranged from no meaningful effect on vaccination intentions (Tajikistan) to a decline of up to 22 percent (Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan).

The following are other interesting papers published in the first half of March. Please make sure to read them as well.

  1. Exciting, Boring, and Nonexistent Skylines: Vertical Building Gaps in Global Perspective
  2. The Global Investment Slowdown: Challenges and Policies
  3. Unlocking SME Finance in Fragile and Conflict Affected Situations
  4. The Fragility and Resilience of Nations
  5. How Did Urban Household Enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa Fare during COVID-19? Evidence from High-Frequency Phone Surveys
  6. Toward Environmentally Sustainable Public Institutions: The Green Government IT Index
  7. How Well Do Internet-Based Surveys Track Labor Market Indicators in Middle-Income Countries?
  8. Potential Growth: A Global Database
  9. Trade as an Engine of Growth: Sputtering but Fixable
  10. How Do Borrowers Respond to a Debt Moratorium? Experimental Evidence from Consumer Loans in India
  11. Potential Growth Prospects: Risks, Rewards, and Policies
  12. Modeling Transition Paths for the Energy and Transport Sectors: A Literature Review
  13. The Impact of COVID-19 on Mobility and Congestion
  14. Prevalence of Catastrophic and Impoverishing Health Expenditures and Potential Protection against Financial Risks through Subsidies in Guinea
  15. The Impact of Infrastructure on Development Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis
  16. Growth and Transformative Effects of ICT Adoption: A Survey
  17. Improving Estimates of Mean Welfare and Uncertainty in Developing Countries
  18. Data Transparency in the Middle East and North Africa
  19. On the Welfare Costs of Premature Deindustrialization
  20. Behavioral Aspects of Healthy Longevity
  21. The Importance of Financial Education for the Effective Use of Formal Financial Services
  22. Carbon Pricing and Transit Accessibility to Jobs: Impacts on Inequality in Rio de Janeiro and Kinshasa
  23. The Impact of Infrastructure on Development Outcomes: A Qualitative Review of Four Decades of Literature
  24. Natural Resource Dependence and Monopolized Imports
  25. Poorer than Adults and Deprived in Almost All Counts: Welfare Status of Children in Nigeria
  26. Deep Trade Agreements and FDI in Partial and General Equilibrium: A Structural Estimation Framework
  27. Combatting Forest Fires in the Drylands of Sub-Saharan Africa: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Burkina Faso
  28. The Global Survey of Public Servants: A Foundation for Research on Public Servants around the World

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