Joana Silva

Associate Professor at Catholic University of Lisbon, and Word Bank Senior Research Economist


CV here


Joana Silva is an Associate Professor at CATÓLICA-LISBON since 2019. She has expertise in applied microeconomics, with particular focus on development, labor markets, international trade, firm dynamics, and policy evaluation. Her research has been published in leading academic journals, including the American Economic Review, Journal of International EconomicsReview of International Economics, and other specialized outlets.

Joana has over twelve years of experience in empirical work on policy-relevant questions. She spent most of her career at the World Bank, where her research agenda focused on (i) the impact of economic policies on employment fluctuations, welfare, and long-term growth; (ii) international trade and firm performance, examining the drivers and implications of exports at the firm-level, and more broadly how business cycles and globalization affect the evolution of entrepreneurial activity and labor demand; and (iii) adjustment to economic slowdowns and crises, analyzing the channels of transmission across countries; and how firms and workers respond to these shocks. In her research, Joana has used granular data from large administrative datasets from developed and developing countries to conduct impact evaluations of social programs and economic reforms, as well as research on globalization and its impacts on growth and inequality.

Joana led several large-scale research programs on Poverty, Inequality, Labor Markets and Social programs. She has also co-authored two World Bank Regional flagship reports, and managed lending operations to several countries. She has extensive experience advising and supporting countries on the design and analysis of economic reforms, social programs and monitoring and evaluation systems. Before joining the World Bank, Joana worked at the Nottingham Center for Research on Globalization and Economic Policy  and taught at the University of Nottingham. She holds a PhD in economics from the University of Nottingham.


Twenty years of Wage Inequality in Latin America. (with Julian Messina). The World Bank Economic Review. Forthcoming.

International competition, returns to skill and labor market adjustment. (with Rod Falvey and David Greenaway). The World Economy, 41(4), 1000-1024, 2018.

Exports Destinations and Input Prices (with Eric Verhoogen and Paulo Bastos). American Economic Review, 108(2), 353-392, 2018. [VoxDev column, and World Bank Research Digest summary (see p. 4)]

Exports and Job Training (with Paulo Bastos and Rafael Proenca), Review of International Economics24(4), 737-756, 2016.

Informality and exclusion: evidence from matched employer-employee data for Lebanon and Syria. (with Mohamad Alloush, Carole Chartouni and Roberta Gatti), IZA Journal of Labor Policy, 2(18), 1-18, 2013.


Networks, firms, and trade. (with Paulo Bastos), Journal of International Economics, 87(2), 352-364, 2012.


The quality of a firm's exports: Where you export to matters. (with Paulo Bastos), Journal of International Economics, 82(2), 99-111, 2010. Lead article


Trade liberalisation and human capital adjustment. (with Rod Falvey and David Greenaway), Journal of International Economics, 81(2), pp. 230-239, 2010


Identifying vertically differentiated products. (with Paulo Bastos), Economics Letters, 106(1), 32-34, 2010.


Intra-Industry trade expansion and employment reallocation between sectors and occupations. (with Manuel Cabral), Review of World Economics, 142(3), 496-521, 2006.



Wage Inequality in Latin America: Understanding the Past to Prepare for the Future (with Julian Messina). Latin American Development Forum, Washington DC - The World Bank, 2015..

Sustaining Employment and Wage Gains in Brazil: A Skills and Jobs Agenda (With Rita Almeida and Victoria Strokova), Directions in Development, Washington DC - The World Bank, 2015.

Inclusion and Resilience: The Way Forward for Social Safety Nets in the Middle East and North Africa (with Victoria Levin and Matteo Morgandi), MENA Development Report,  Washington DC - The World Bank, 2013. [Featured in: Financial Times; over 50 newspaper articles].

Striving for Better Jobs: The Challenge of Informality in the Middle East and North Africa (with Roberta Gatti, Diego-Angel-Urdinola and Andras Bodor), Directions in Development, Washinton DC - The World Bank, 2014. (Overview published in 2012)



The Inequality Story in Latin America and the Caribbean: Searching for an Explanation (with Augusto de la Torre and Julian Messina). In Luis Bertola and Jeffrey G. Williamson (eds.), Has Latin American Inequality Changed Direction: Looking Over the Long-Run, 317-338, Springer, 2017. (also published in Spanish: La historia de la desigualdad en América Latina y el Caribe: en busca de una explicación in Luis Bertola and Jefrey Williamson (eds): La fractura: Pasado y presente de la búsqueda de equidad social en América Latina, 435-476).

Conditionalities, School Performance and Progression of Bolsa Famila Program Beneficiaries. (with Flavio Cireno and Rafael Proenca), Chapter 19 in Ministry of Social Development and IPEA (eds.), Programa Bolsa Familia Uma Década de Inclusão e Cidadania, IPEA, Brasilia, 2013. (One pager available here)

Human capital and adjustment to trade. (with Rod Falvey and David Greenaway) in David Greenaway, Richard Upward and Peter W. Wright (eds.), Globalisation and Labour Market Adjustment, 97-114, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

The wage and unemployment impacts of trade adjustment. (with Paulo Bastos), in David Greenaway, Richard Upward and Peter W. Wright (eds.), Globalisation and Labour Market Adjustment, 31-53, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.


The Effects of Welfare Programs on Formal Labor Markets: Evidence from Conditional Cash Transfers in Brazil (with Joana Naritomi and Francois Gerard).

Trade, Skills and Productivity (with Giordano Mion and Rafael Proenca).

Worker- and Firm-level Labor Market Adjustment to External Shocks (with Ana Margarida Fernandes).

Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence for Latin America (with Olivier Bargain)

Trust in State Capacity and Support for Redistribution: Experimental Evidence from Jordan (with Victoria Levin and Matteo Morgandi).

Improving Learning Through Social Programs: Identifying Impacts on Bene.ficiary Children and Spillovers to Other Students (with Flavio Cireno and Rafael Proenca).

Teacher selection and learning in private and public schools (with Fernanda Brollo, Vitor Lavy, Roland Rathelot, and Zizhong Yan).

Business cycles, entrepreneurship, and fi.rm dynamics" (with Paulo Bastos and Sara Moreira).

The long-term impact of the China shock on Brazilian labor markets (with Rafael Dix-Carneiro, Joao Paulo Pessoa and Francisco Costa).


Wage Inequality in Latin America: Understanding the Past to Prepare for the Future (With Julian Messina), World Bank, November 16, 2017.

How Brazil (and Latin America) Can Preserve Job Growth (with Augusto de la Torre), Huffington Post, November 18, 2015.

Para Conter a Deterioração de Empregos e Salários (with Rita Almeida), Valor Economico (Brazil), November 18, 2015. (also available here)

O Principal Desafio do Brasil (e da America Latina): A Geração de Empregos de Qualidade (with Augusto de la Torre). Huffington Post, November 13, 2015.

Primeiro emprego: um sonho distante para milhões de jovens brasileiros (with Rita Almeida and Julia Loureiro). World Bank Blog, October 26, 2015.

MENA Adults More Tolerant of Reforming Nonfood Subsidies (with Victoria Levin, Matteo Morgandi and Cynthia English),, May 6, 2013.

MENA Residents Put Onus on Government to Help the Poor (with Victoria Levin, Matteo Morgandi and Cynthia English),, November 27, 2012.

What do large informal labor sectors mean for the region? Comment in Inter-American Dialogues-Latin America Advisor, Set 6, 2013.

The time is right for social welfare reform. Op-ed in Asharq Alawsat Newspaper, July 2013.

NOW is the time to bring MENA's poor Into the net. MENA Blog Voices and Views, World Bank, 26 November 2012.


Associate editor EconomiaJournal of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA)

Head of the Scientific Committee 2020 Conference of the Portuguese Economic Journal (PEJ).