nep-ara New Economics Papers
on Arab World
Issue of 2009‒11‒21
three papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. A comparative study of returns to education of urban men in Egypt, Iran, and Turkey By Djavad Salehi-Isfahani; Insan Tunali; Ragui Assaad
  2. Iran‘s Oil Wealth: Treasure and Trouble for the Shah‘s Regime. A Context-sensitive Analysis of the Ambivalent Impact of Resource Abundance By Miriam Shabafrouz
  3. What determines IPO underpricing ? Evidence from a frontier market By Boudriga, Abdelkader; Ben Slama, Sarra; Boulila, Neila

  1. By: Djavad Salehi-Isfahani; Insan Tunali; Ragui Assaad
    Abstract: This paper presents a comparative study of private returns to schooling of urban men in Egypt, Iran, and Turkey using similar survey data and a uniform methodology. We employ three surveys for each country that span nearly two decades, from the 1980s to 2006, and, to increase the comparability of the estimates across surveys, we focus on urban men 20-54 years old and in full time wage and salary employment. Our aim is to learn how the monetary signals of rewards that guide individual decisions to invest in education are shaped by the institutions of education and labor markets in these countries. Our estimates generally support the stylized facts of the institutions of education and labor markets in Middle Eastern countries. Their labor markets have been described as dominated by the public sector and therefore relatively inflexible, and their education systems as more focused on secondary and tertiary degrees than teaching practical and productive skills. Returns in all countries are increasing in years of schooling, which is contrary to the Mincer assumption of linear returns but consistent with overemphasis on secondary and tertiary degrees. Low returns to vocational training relative to general upper secondary, which have been observed in many developing countries, are observed in Egypt and Iran, but not Turkey. This pattern of returns across countries seems to correspond to how students are selected into vocational and general upper secondary tracks, which is an important part of the education institutions of these countries, and the fact that Turkey’s economy is more open than the other two. Greater competitiveness in all three countries over time seems to have increased returns to university education and in few cases to vocational education, but not to general high school.
    Keywords: Egypt, Iran, Turkey, returns to education, Mincer equation, labor market institutions, education institutions, labor market flexibility
    Date: 2009
  2. By: Miriam Shabafrouz (GIGA Institute of Global and Area Studies)
    Abstract: The Iranian revolution still appears to be a puzzle for theoretical approaches linking political instability and/or violent conflict to the resource wealth of a country. It therefore works well as a case study for the purposes of this paper: to show the necessity of a broader approach to the resource-violence link and to highlight the “context approach.” The focus is on the violence that accompanied the events preceding the revolution, and also on the fact that this violence was mainly exercised by the rulers and—excluding the activities of militant groups—only very randomly by the masses. Many relevant contextual conditions had an impact on the downfall of the shah’s regime: demographic (population growth, urbanization) and cultural factors (religious tradition, national identity); the vivid memory of several historical events; the personal preferences of central actors— mainly both the shahs—which in combination brought the country to an impasse; and the religious opposition to the regime. But upon closer examination, it becomes clear that many of those factors were influenced by resource-specific conditions such as the amount and the use of oil income, sudden oil-price drops, and external interference aimed mainly at the domination of the oil sector. It was the specific interplay of these and other contextual conditions—as much resource-specific as general, and both within the country and on an international scale—that finally brought about the downfall of the regime.
    Keywords: Iran, oil, revolution, resource curse, rentier state theory, context approach
    Date: 2009–11
  3. By: Boudriga, Abdelkader; Ben Slama, Sarra; Boulila, Neila
    Abstract: This paper empirically analyzes the short run performance of Tunisian initial public offerings (IPO). It sheds light on the determinants of IPO’s in a context of a frontier market characterized by high information asymmetry, low information efficiency, thin trading and the presence of “noise” traders. Using a sample of 34 Tunisian IPO’s from the period 1992-2008, we find that the average market adjusted initial return for the first three trading days is about 17.8 percent. The level of underpricing is related to retained capital, underwriter’s price support, oversubscription, listing delay and the offer price. Age of the firm, its size and the size of the offer do not seem to reduce the amount of money left on the table by issuers. It appears also that underpricing is driven by irrational investors (ipoers) seeking for short-run capital gains. These results remain unchanged after controlling for the presence of institutional investors and the existence of liquidity contract.
    Keywords: Initial public offerings; Short-run underpricing; Underwriter’s price support.
    JEL: G14 G11
    Date: 2009

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