Why PSIA? Why did you choose PSIA over any other bank instrument or product?
For simplicity, and the process which was fairly clear and relatively simple at least in the first stage. It was clear how to apply, what kind of product would be considered, and who should apply to. There were other instruments in the bank but not particularly for PSIA, so the PSIA Multi-Donor Trust Fund was particularly useful because it had a clear mandate of what kind of work it would finance whereas other trust funds at least available in the MENA Region did not have such a focus, so it was almost mandatory choice for the type of work that we wanted to do.
If you had to do this PSIA over, what would you do differently, based on the lessons learned from this one?
Probably apply for larger funds from the beginning, I think it’s useful to have two instruments, a quick instrument for below 50.000$ and a large instruments for above. But in fact I find the PSIA trust fund useful if you want to do similar things in a number of countries. It would be also useful to distinguish between country-specific activities versus regional or global activities. So if in the future the PSIA trust fund could have these two lines of work, let’s say country-specific or regional/global, I think that would be very useful, as it will be clear where one should apply to.
Any recommendations for TTLs working on PSIAs – what are the top three things TTLs should always keep in mind when working on a PSIA
The PSIA work tends to be quite technical, because it has to do with distributional analysis, has to do with the impact of reforms, so it’s clear what is the theoretical and empirical background of the work, and in a sense that should be clear also in the PSIA proposal. So the people who work on these proposals should have a good background on both, a theory and empirics of distributional analysis. The second thing is that it’s important to clarify what kind of tools one wants to use. As we know there’s a wide variety of tools and possibilities, and it’s important to clarify in the PSIA proposal what are specifically tools to be used and how familiar the staff working on the proposal are on these tools. The third thing is how this distributional analysis work would contribute to policy-making through interaction with clients. This was already one of the requirements if I recall, but it’s important to see how these analyses eventually turn into policy-making. This of course can be different depending on whether you are working on one country specifically and therefore you know your government, your client, and it’s clear who should make the policy changes and how this contributes to policy making or it could be something different if you have a regional or a global proposal, something more related to knowledge-creation and the World Bank level and knowledge dissemination outside the bank, so one of the two tracks should be clear in the PSIA proposal.
What do you do when you are not doing a PSIA?
Lots of different things, other types of Analytical Advisory Activities (AAA), I spend some time contributing to lending activities, well a lot of my time goes into bureaucracy.
Paolo Verme is Senior Economist at the World Bank. A Ph.D. graduate of the London School of Economics, he was Visiting Professor at Bocconi University in Milan (2004-2009) and at the University of Turin (2003-2010) before joining the World Bank in 2010. For almost two decades, he served as advisor and project manager for multilateral organizations, private companies and governments in the areas of labor market, welfare and social protection policies. His research is widely published in international journals, books and reports and he has worked extensively on subsidies in the MENA region and beyond. He is the co-author of the subsidies simulation model SUBSIM.