Maria Ana Lugo



I am a Lead Economist and Program Leader for Human Development for China, Mongolia, and South Korea. I am based in Beijing, China since early 2023.  In this role, I work with colleagues from Health, Education and Social Protection and Jobs practices delivering lending support and analytical products to the three East Asian countries. I am also an Affiliated Scholar at the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality, at CUNY, and a council member of the Society for the Study of Economic Inequality (ECINEQ). 

My background is in the fields of microeconomics theory, welfare economics, and development, with strong interests in concepts of well-being and in measures of poverty and inequality. I spent most of my doctorate and post-doctorate research wondering how to measure inequality and poverty when multiple dimensions of well-being are taken into account. I also worked on the impact of economic inequality on children's achievement at school, through the effect of social socioeconomic segregation, and on the bounding on test score estimates when selection is present. Since I joined the World Bank I focused on issues related to inequality of opportunities, and economic mobility in Latin America and Russia, as well as poverty and inequality in selected South American countries. More recently, I have been focusing on the impact of food prices on poverty, the distributional incidence of energy subsidies, and the incidence of fiscal policies (taxation, subsidies and expenditure). 

Until November 2022, I was working at the World Bank's Poverty and Equity Practice, on China's economic transformation and poverty reduction,  and on the role of fiscal policy to address inequality in China.  Together with colleagues from private sector, I also led work on the impact of COVID-19 on households and firms, across 6 other East Asian countries. In addition, I was co-leading a global solution group where we developed tools for other poverty economists to analyze the distributional implications of policies, including fiscal policies, climate adaptation and mitigation policies, among others.  

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