DECRG Kuala Lumpur Seminar Series: Welfare Dynamics Based on Synthetic Panels Using Objective and Subjective Data
February 18, 2016DECRG Kuala Lumpur Seminar Series

Abstract: This paper combines both objective and subjective welfare measures to study welfare dynamics in countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Absent actual panel data, we employ recently developed statistical techniques to construct synthetic panels using repeated cross sections from household and Gallup Poll surveys, conducted during the 2000s and the Arab Spring period. Our findings suggest that analysis of welfare dynamics using expenditure data from household surveys do not always align with that based on subjective wellbeing data from value surveys, pointing to the need to combine both types of data for richer analysis. Before the Arab Spring, upward mobility for objective welfare was reasonably strong for Palestine, Tunisia, and Syria, while downward mobility was observed for Yemen, Egypt, and Jordan. Life satisfaction was falling, however, in most countries before and after the Arab Spring transitions. Only Morocco shows positive dynamics with the size of the unhappy population declining by more than a quarter. Lower education achievement, informal work, and rural residence are characteristics associated with worse upward mobility and more pronounced downward mobility for both objective and subjective welfare measures.
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  • Hai-Anh H. Dang

    Economist with the Poverty and Inequality Unit, Development Research Group
    Hai-Anh H. Dang is an Economist in the Poverty and Inequality Unit, Development Research Group, World Bank. He received his B.A. from Foreign Trade University, Vietnam and his Ph.D. in Applied Economics from University of Minnesota. His main research is on development, poverty, education, labor, and methodology to construct synthetic (pseudo) panel data from cross sections. He has published in journals such as Economic Development and Cultural Change, Economics of Education Review, European Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Development Economics, World Bank Economic Review, as well as a book on private tutoring in Vietnam.
  • The DECRG Kuala Lumpur Seminar Series is hosted by the World Bank's Development Research Group (DECRG) based in the World Bank Malaysia office. The series invites leading researchers in development economics and public policy to present their recent work in an academic-style seminar format.
  • WHEN: Thursday, February 18, 2016; 12:30 - 2:00 pm
  • WHERE: World Bank Malaysia Office, Level 3, Sasana Kijang, No. 2, Jalan Dato’ Onn
  • RSVP: By February 15, 2016 to Please include your full name, passport/Malaysia IC and affiliation