nep-ara New Economics Papers
on Arab World
Issue of 2009‒01‒03
ten papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. Trade Openness and the Demand for Skills: Evidence from Turkish Microdata By Meschi, Elena; Taymaz, Erol; Vivarelli, Marco
  2. Household Expenditure on Cigarettes and Tobacco in Syria By Ahmad Alachkar
  3. How sustainable are fiscal deficits? Evidence from Mediterranean countries By Aristovnik, Aleksander
  4. Anti-Poverty Transfers without Riots in Tunisia By Christophe Muller
  5. Implicit Prejudice and Ethnic Minorities: Arab-Muslims in Sweden By Agerström, Jens; Rooth, Dan-Olof
  6. Can Hearts and Minds Be Bought? The Economics of Counterinsurgency in Iraq By Eli Berman; Jacob N. Shapiro; Joseph H. Felter
  7. The law of growth and attraction: an endogenous model of absorptive capacities, FDI and income for MENA countries By Alaya MAROUANE (Université of Tunis); Dalila NICET-CHENAF (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113); Eric ROUGIER (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113)
  8. دور بورصة النيل فى تنمية المشروعات الصغيرة والمتوسطة فى مصر By Alasrag, Hussien
  9. Switching to the Inflation Targeting Regime: Does it necessary for the case of Egypt? By Ibrahim L. Awad
  10. Markets and the role of government in an economy from Islamic perspective By Hasan, Zubair

  1. By: Meschi, Elena (Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona); Taymaz, Erol (Middle East Technical University); Vivarelli, Marco (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)
    Abstract: In this paper we report evidence on the relationship between trade openness, technology adoption and relative demand for skilled labour in the Turkish manufacturing sector, using firm-level data over the period 1980-2001. In a dynamic panel data setting using a unique database of 17,462 firms, we estimate an augmented cost share equation whereby the wage bill share of skilled workers in a given firm is related to international exposure and technology adoption. Overall, results suggest that trade openness and technology play a key role in shifting the demand for labour towards more skilled workers within each firm. Technology-related variables (domestic R&D expenditures and technological transfer from abroad) are positive and significantly related to skill upgrading, as are the involvement of foreign capital in a firm's ownership and the propensity to export. Moreover, firms belonging to those sectors that most raised their imported inputs also experienced a higher increase in the labour cost share of skilled workers. This finding is consistent with the idea that imports by a middle-income country imply a transfer of new technologies that are more skill-intensive than those previously in use in domestic markets. This idea is reinforced by the finding that only imported inputs from industrialised countries − where the potential for innovation diffusion comes from - enter the estimated regression significantly.
    Keywords: globalisation, skills, skill-biased technological change, technology transfer, GMM-SYS
    JEL: F16 O15 O33
    Date: 2008–12
  2. By: Ahmad Alachkar
    Abstract: The study uses average data from Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2004 in Syria to examine monthly household expenditure on cigarettes and tobacco and its relationships with a group of socioeconomic variables. It is found that this expenditure increases by average household income. This increase, however, is relatively small; the percent of total expenditure allocated to smoking is much higher among the poor compared to the rich. Expenditure on smoking is negatively affected by the improvements in educational conditions. Household expenditure on domestic cigarettes does not vary by household income; it is positively correlated with characteristics of the place of residence, particularly with illiteracy, polygamy; and negatively with developed educational structure. Expenditure on foreign cigarettes is spread mostly in governorate centers and among rich households. The study deduces that people with low income cannot smoke unless they decrease their monthly expenditure on basic requirements. In order to decrease smoking, two recommendations are made, developing the educational structure and eradicating illiteracy and launching concentrated campaigns to raise awareness against smoking.
    Keywords: Household Economics; Social Policy; Poverty
    JEL: C21 D12
    Date: 2008–12
  3. By: Aristovnik, Aleksander
    Abstract: The paper’s main purpose is to assess the short-, medium- and long-term sustainability of fiscal policy in the great majority of the EU and non-EU member states in the Mediterranean Region. By using mainstream (primary fiscal gap) theory (proposed by Buiter (1983) and Blanchard (1990)), the difference between the required primary fiscal balance to GDP ratio and the actual primary fiscal balance to GDP ratio is calculated for selected Mediterranean countries. Based on simple mainstream theory measures of fiscal sustainability, the results indicate that fiscal sustainability seems to be a problem in many Mediterranean countries, particularly in Greece, Italy and France (in the EU Mediterranean region) as well as in Croatia, Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey (in the non-EU Mediterranean region). However, since the paper is dealing with an ex ante analysis on the grounds of ex post algebra of sustainability some caution should be exercised.
    Keywords: the Mediterranean region; public finance; fiscal sustainability; forecasting
    JEL: H60 H68
    Date: 2008–12–20
  4. By: Christophe Muller (THEMA, University of Cergy-Pontoise)
    Abstract: We draw some lessons from the Tunisian experience of social reforms and associated unrest. Our main interest is the riots that occurred after subsidy cuts and the attempts at substitution of price subsidies by direct cash transfers. We propose new welfare indicators to assess reforms in such situations. Using micro level data, we show that plausible policy decisions depend on parameters describing the balance between poverty and program exclusion risk. In the Tunisian case, only a much larger weight put on poverty relatively to exclusion could bring the decision maker to substitute in force price subsidies with direct cash transfers.
    Keywords: Poverty; Social conflicts; North Africa, Tunisia, Targeting; Social transfers
    JEL: D63 H53 I38
    Date: 2008–03
  5. By: Agerström, Jens (Kalmar University); Rooth, Dan-Olof (Kalmar University)
    Abstract: This paper examines whether Swedish employers implicitly/automatically hold i) negative attitudes toward Arab-Muslims, an ethnic minority group subjected to substantial labor market discrimination in Sweden, and more specifically ii) associate members of this minority group with lower work productivity, as compared to native Swedes. Adapted versions of the Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald et al., 1998) designed to measure implicit attitudes and productivity stereotypes toward Arab-Muslims were used. Corresponding explicit measures were administered. The results clearly show that employers have stronger negative implicit attitudes toward Arab-Muslims relative to native Swedes as well as implicitly perceive Arab-Muslims to be less productive than native Swedes. Notably, the explicit measures reveal much weaker negative associations. Whereas traditional research has focused on self-conscious, explicit work related attitudes toward various ethnic minority groups, this study offers a novel approach to understanding work related prejudice.
    Keywords: implicit, attitudes, stereotypes, discrimination, ethnicity
    JEL: J70
    Date: 2008–12
  6. By: Eli Berman; Jacob N. Shapiro; Joseph H. Felter
    Abstract: Rebuilding social and economic order in conflict and post-conflict areas will be critical for the United States and allied governments for the foreseeable future. Little empirical research has evaluated where, when, and how improving material conditions in conflict zones enhances social and economic order. We address this lacuna, developing and testing a theory of insurgency. Following the informal literature and US military doctrine, we model insurgency as a three-way contest between rebels seeking political change through violence, a government seeking to minimize violence through some combination of service provision and hard counterinsurgency, and civilians deciding whether to share information about insurgents with government forces. We test the model using new data from the Iraq war. We combine a geo-spatial indicator of violence against Coalition and Iraqi forces (SIGACTs), reconstruction spending, and community characteristics including measures of social cohesion, sectarian status, socio-economic grievances, and natural resource endowments. Our results support the theory’s predictions: counterinsurgents are most generous with government services in locations where they expect violence; improved service provision has reduced insurgent violence since the summer of 2007; and the violence-reducing effect of service provision varies predictably across communities.
    JEL: F51 F52 H4 H43 H56 O12 O53
    Date: 2008–12
  7. By: Alaya MAROUANE (Université of Tunis); Dalila NICET-CHENAF (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113); Eric ROUGIER (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113)
    Abstract: In this paper, we build a structural model of growth and we estimate it on panel data. We go further than the previous studies of Bende et al. (2000, 2003) or Li & Liu (2005), because we not only control for the endogenity of FDI towards growth, but we also control for the endogenity of FDI towards the other variables (trade openness, domestic investment, human development) that are likely to increase the effects of foreign investments on growth through the absorption capacities building. We show that this model brings in new and interesting results about the interactions between attraction, FDI and growth in MENA countries (Middle East and North Africa countries).
    Keywords: FDI, Human capital, Growth, simultaneous equations, MENA
    JEL: F1 O11
    Date: 2008
  8. By: Alasrag, Hussien
    Abstract: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a crucial role in the Egyptian economy, in term of their contribution to the GDP and total employment. Yet, their contribution in capital formation is very limited, mainly because of the finance constraints they face. Consequently, to improve the SMEs access to finance, the creation of a junior exchange is a must. In this context, the Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchanges (CASE) just launched a new platform; that is Nile Stock Exchange with new listing rules and regulations that focus on a cost-effective regulatory regime adapted to the needs and characteristics of SMEs. This research aims to study the role of the Nile Stock Exchange in the development of Small and medium-sized enterprises in Egypt
    Keywords: SMEs; industrial structure; Stock Exchange; NILEX; Egypt
    JEL: L16 K22 G18 G28
    Date: 2008–12
  9. By: Ibrahim L. Awad (Institute of Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to answer the question of whether the switching to the Inflation Targeting (IT) regime is necessary for the Egyptian case or not? Our judgment of applying IT regime in the Egyptian economy is established on doubled criterion. That is, the practical experience of the inflation targeters, and the efficiency of Monetary Targeting Regime (MTR) in the case of Egypt. Defining the efficiency of a monetary policy regime by the efficiency of the embedded nominal anchor to send the right message to all practitioners about the potential behavior of the price level, I assessed the efficiency of MTR in Egypt by measuring; whether there is a relationship between money and prices, the stability of the velocity of circulation, and the stability of the demand for money function. The study concluded that MTR is not efficient to tie down individuals expectations about the future path of inflation in Egypt. Taking into account that IT regime is a way to reform monetary policy and it does not worsen economic performance it becomes necessary for Egypt to switch to the IT regime once the prerequisites for IT regime have been met.
    Keywords: inflation targeting; demand for money function; monetary policy in Egypt.
    JEL: E31 E41 E51 E52 E58 E59
    Date: 2008–12
  10. By: Hasan, Zubair
    Abstract: This paper explains the notion of market in historical perspective and the role markets play in free enterprise economies. It lists the major market failures and the role governments are expected to play in regulating and supplementing markets including the promotion of CSR from Islamic perspective. The discussion is limited to product and factor markets.
    Keywords: Market; Invisible hand; Market failures; Islam norms; Trade; Role of state; CSR
    JEL: F10 D41 E61
    Date: 2008–12–15

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