Vittorio Bassi

Vittorio Bassi is the Lead Academic for IGC Uganda.

He is currently an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Southern California and his primary research interests are in labour markets and productivity in developing countries.

Content by Vittorio Bassi
  • Publication - Working Paper

    Searching for customers, finding pollution

    In developing countries, most manufacturing firms are small and located in high-density urban areas, often near congested streets. To study the determinants and implications of this location choice, we collect a novel firm survey and detailed air pollution measurements within Ugandan cities. We find that firms locate on the busiest roads searching for customer visibility,...

    12 Oct 2022 | Vittorio Bassi, Matthew Kahn, Nancy Lozano Gracia, Tommaso Porzio, Jeanne Sorin

  • Project

    Targeting consulting services to high-growth entrepreneurs

    This pilot project will examine entrepreneur selection and matching for training programs as well as the ultimate impact of matching strategies on entrepreneur outcomes. Specifically, the researchers will evaluate the effectiveness of various marketing strategies in selecting entrepreneurs that have high potential for growth and improving the effectiveness of the training...

    3 Aug 2022 | Golvine de Rochambeau, Vittorio Bassi

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    Recovery from the COVID-19 shock and the informal labour market in urban Uganda

    We conducted a phone survey of a representative sample of manufacturing firms and their workers in Uganda in Spring 2022, two years after the onset of the pandemic. We find that the second lockdown implemented in Uganda in June- July 2021 resulted in a sharp increase in business closures, but these were largely temporary. However, a sizeable share of firm owners...

    25 Jul 2022 | Vittorio Bassi, Jung Hyuk Lee, Alessandra Peter, Tommaso Porzio, Ritwika Sen, Esau Tugume

  • Publication - Project Report

    Recovery from the COVID-19 shock and the informal labour market in urban Uganda

    As coronavirus cases escalated across developing countries in 2021, many governments reimposed harsh lockdown policies, reversing months of gradual economic recovery. This was also true in Uganda, where public transport and non-essential businesses were suspended for 42 days (Presidential order, 18 June 2021) echoing a prior shutdown through April-June 2020. These...

    7 Jul 2022 | Vittorio Bassi, Jung Hyuk Lee, Alessandra Peter, Tommaso Porzio, Ritwika Sen, Esau Tugume

  • Project

    Misallocation or mismeasurement? Collecting new panel data to improve production function estimation

    SMEs tend to show substantial differences in productivity even within narrow industries and geographical regions. In order to design effective industrial policies, it is important to quantify such differences in the productivity of SMEs, identify what constraints drive these differences, and to understand what are the benefits of reducing them through external policy...

    28 Apr 2022 | Vittorio Bassi, Monica Morlacco, Tommaso Porzio, Esau Tugume

  • Project

    Recovery from the COVID-19 shock and the informal labour market in urban Uganda

    As COVID-19 cases continue to escalate across developing countries, many governments reimposed harsh lockdown policies, reversing months of gradual economic recovery. In Uganda, public transport and non-essential businesses were suspended for 42 days, echoing a prior shutdown through April-June 2020. These restrictions significantly impacted the informal economy, where...

    5 Oct 2021 | Vittorio Bassi, Tommaso Porzio, Ritwika Sen, Esau Tugume, Jung Hyuk Lee, Alessandra Peter

  • Project

    Cross-sectoral movements of labour in a low-income country: Evidence from Uganda

    In this project we plan to employ a newly sourced matched employer-employee dataset in Uganda to explore the cross-sectoral and cross-firm movement of labour in a low-income country. Using this data, we aim to shed light on: The extent to which workers are able to progress up the job ladder and match with good and productive employers; The relative importance of...

    5 Oct 2021 | Vittorio Bassi, Tommaso Porzio

  • Publication - Project Report

    The resilience of informal labour markets

    This project studies labour relations in informal economies where there are no written contracts, employment benefits, or protection for workers. ‘Informality’ is a defining characteristic of labour markets in most developing countries, making the study of employment relationships and related policy challenges especially difficult due to the paucity of administrative...

    20 May 2021 | Vittorio Bassi, Tommaso Porzio, Ritwika Sen, Esau Tugume

  • Blog post

    The resilience of informal labour markets: Insights from Uganda

    While the lockdown in Uganda resulted in a large but temporary shock to SME activity, mature labour relationships were highly resilient to the lockdown, and a large share of workers were able to temporarily engage in alternative income generating activities during the lockdown. On 30th of March 2020, the Government of Uganda implemented a hard lockdown for a 14-day...

    18 May 2021 | Vittorio Bassi, Tommaso Porzio, Ritwika Sen, Esau Tugume

  • Publication - Project Report

    Vocational training, on-the-job training, and resilience to the COVID-19 shock

    In this final report, we use data from a phone survey with young workers tracked regularly since 2012 as part of an RCT on active labour market policies (Alfonsi et al. 2020) to document how they were impacted by the COVID-19 related lockdown. We targeted 1,700 young workers and successfully traced and interviewed 74% of them. The survey was conducted between October and...

    14 May 2021 | Livia Alfonsi, Oriana Bandiera, Vittorio Bassi, Robin Burgess, Imran Rasul, Anna Vitali

  • Project

    Vocational training, on-the-job training, and resilience to COVID-19: Evidence from Uganda

    Throughout 2020, governments around the world put in place restrictions to economic activity to curb the spread of COVID-19. In Uganda, the Government implemented one of Africa’s strictest lockdowns, which lasted for two months from late March. As a result, economic activity halted throughout the country. In this project, we study how the labour market outcomes of...

    14 May 2021 | Vittorio Bassi

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    The impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on SMEs and employment relationships in Uganda

    During 2020, governments in many developing countries introduced severe restrictions on economic activity and mobility to curb the spread of COVID-19. In Uganda, public transport and non-essential businesses were closed from early April to June 2020. This policy brief reports on the results from a phone survey of a representative sample of SMEs and their workers...

    6 May 2021 | Vittorio Bassi, Tommaso Porzio, Ritwika Sen, Esau Tugume

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    The impact of COVID-19 on Ugandan firms: Evidence from recent surveys and policy actions for supporting private sector recovery

    This policy brief outlines key discussions from a policy seminar on the impact of COVID-19 on Uganda’s firms held on 28 January 2021 by the Ugandan Ministry of Finance’s Private Sector Development Unit and the International Growth Centre. Researchers presented key findings from work exploring different impacts of the pandemic on Uganda’s economy. The...

    21 Apr 2021 | Livia Alfonsi, Vittorio Bassi, Priya Manwaring, Peter Ngategize, John Oryema, Miri Stryjan, Anna Vitali

  • Project

    COVID-19 and the value of relationships in informal economies

    Governments in many developing countries have put in place restrictions to economic activity and mobility to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This is true also in Uganda, where public transport and non-essential businesses were closed from early April to June. While firms were closed, there were reports of workers leaving cities and traveling back to their home villages....

    18 Feb 2021 | Vittorio Bassi, Esau Tugume, Ritwika Sen, Tommaso Porzio

  • Project

    Special economic zones in Uganda: An impact analysis

    As Uganda embarks on an ambitious plan for investing in industrial parks, there are opportunities for the government to target scarce resources towards tackling challenges facing firms in ways that are less financially and politically demanding compared to wide scale reforms. Many countries have used similar spatial policies as a catalyst for economic growth, with...

    2 Dec 2020 | Vittorio Bassi, Priya Manwaring, Matthieu Teachout

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    Understanding productivity dispersion: Evidence from a new survey of manufacturing firms in Uganda

    There are large productivity differences across firms in developing countries, even within the same sector and region. Understanding what contributes to such differences in productivity is important for designing policies to help low productivity firms grow. This project implemented a representative survey of over 1,000 manufacturing firms in Uganda to quantify...

    30 Jan 2020 | Vittorio Bassi, Raffaela Muoio , Joshua Mutambi, Tommaso Porzio, Ritwika Sen, Esau Tugume

  • Project

    Understanding productivity dispersion: Evidence from a new survey of manufacturing firms in Uganda

    Differences in income per capita across countries are mostly accounted for by differences in aggregate total factor productivity (Hall and Jones, 1999; Caselli, 2005). These differences are also present at the firm level, as firms in less developed countries have, on average, much lower labour productivity. However, there is substantial productivity dispersion within...

    20 Sep 2019 | Vittorio Bassi, Tommaso Porzio, Raffaela Muoio , Robert Mpiira

  • Project

    The long-term impact of vocational training and job search assistance for unemployed youth: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Uganda

    Youth unemployment and underemployment are key policy challenges in developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where 60% of the population is below the age of 25 and where it is expected to generate one million new unemployed in 2018 alone. This project seeks to provide new evidence on the effectiveness of active labour market policies in improving youth...

    20 Sep 2019 | Oriana Bandiera, Vittorio Bassi, Robin Burgess, Imran Rasul, Munshi Sulaiman, Anna Vitali

  • Publication - Project Report

    Understanding productivity dispersion: Evidence from a new survey of manufacturing firms in Uganda

    19 Sep 2019 | Vittorio Bassi, Raffaela Muoio , Joshua Mutambi, Tommaso Porzio, Ritwika Sen, Esau Tugume

  • Project

    Firm-level technology adoption and investment in training

    In developing countries, firms produce using technologies farther away from the frontier, and workers have lower education and formal training. It has long been argued that skills and technology are complementary (see, for example, Foster and Rosenzweig 1996). As a result, the lower skill endowment of workers may reduce the incentives of firms to invest in technology, and...

    22 Feb 2018 | Vittorio Bassi, Tommaso Porzio, Esau Tugume, Ritwika Sen, Raffaela Muoio