nep-ara New Economics Papers
on Arab World
Issue of 2011‒12‒13
seventeen papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. Leveraging Training Skills Development in SMEs: An Analysis of OSTIM Organised Industrial Zone, Turkey By Sirin Elci
  2. Fiscal Regimes In and Outside the MENA Region By Ibrahim Ahmed Elbadawi; Raimundo Soto
  3. Price Rigidity In Turkey : Evidence From Micro Data By M. Utku Ozmen; Orhun Sevinc
  4. Social returns to education in a developing country By Filiztekin, Alpay
  5. Decline in Social Mobility: Unfulfilled Aspirations among Egypt's Educated Youth By Binzel, Christine
  6. The rise of independent administrative authorities in Turkey: A close look on sources, successes and challenges of this new institutional transformation By Göktaylar, Yavuz
  7. Assessment of sectoral innovation systems approach: The case of Turkish internet service market By Tözer, Ayhan; Göktaylar, Yavuz
  8. Education-occupation mismatch in Turkish labor market By Filiztekin, Alpay
  9. Monetary policy communication under inflation targeting: Do words speak louder than actions? By Selva Demiralp; Hakan Kara; Pýnar Özlü
  10. Demographic Change Across The Globe Maintaining Social Security In Ageing Economies By Marga Peeters; Loek Groot
  11. Tarımsal Korumacılık, Korumacılığın Ölçümü ve Türkiye By Demirdöğen, Alper
  12. The Effect of Religion on Cooperation and Altruistic Punishment: Experimental Evidence from Public Goods Experiments By Akay, Alpaslan; Karabulut, Gökhan; Martinsson, Peter
  13. Hypothesis of Currency Basket Pricing of Crude Oil: An Iranian Perspective By Melhem Sadek; Diallo Abdul Salam; Terraza Michel
  14. Politiques énergétiques et accès aux services urbains en réseau à Istanbul : une ambition métropolitaine au détriment de l'intérêt général By Elvan Arik
  15. The Efficiency Cost of the Kafala in Dubai: A Stochastic Frontier Analysis By Raimundo Soto; Rosalía Vásquez
  16. Etude empirique des déterminants des choix de comptabilisation des investissements immatériels : cas des entreprises tunisiennes By Ahmed Chabchoub; Abdelfettah Bouri
  17. Assessment testing can be used to inform policy decisions : the case of Jordan By Abdul-Hamid, Husein; Abu-Lebdeh, Khattab M.; Patrinos, Harry Anthony

  1. By: Sirin Elci
    Abstract: This policy review of vocational education and training in the Ostim Organised Industrial Zone, Turkey was prepared within the framework of the OECD LEED project, "Leveraging Training and Skills Development in SMEs". The findings and recommendations of the report brings new perspectives to SME-training related policies in Turkey.
    Date: 2011–12–01
  2. By: Ibrahim Ahmed Elbadawi; Raimundo Soto
    Abstract: The 1990s ushered the world not only into a democracy wave, following the collapse of the former Soviet Union, but also a wave of fiscal rules, where the number of countries adopting this fiscal regime steadily rose from only 10 in 1990 to reach 97 in 2009. Countries that depend on hydrocarbons tend to suffer from fiscal policies that are highly susceptible to energy price shocks. This provides incentives for implementing fiscal stabilization instruments in the form of “fiscal rules”. However, the resource-rich but largely democracy-deficit MENA region has been a fiscal rules-free region. Against this backdrop, this paper asks two fundamental questions: why has MENA chose not to adopt fiscal rules? And what role, if any, resources dependence and political institutions might have played in this outcome? We find that lack of democracy and weak systems of political checks and balances that characterize MENA countries appear to have outweighed the positive impacts of oil resources so that fiscal instability persists despite ample oil revenues. The nascent Arab 'democracy spring' might tip the scale in favor of the adoption of fiscal rules by emerging democratic governments in the region. However, stronger systems of political checks and balances are also needed and, unfortunately, not necessarily a certain outcome. A move toward inflation targeting regimes, as proposed for Tunisia and Egypt, might also provide additional impetus for adoption of fiscal rules as the evidence of Chile and other inflation targeters suggests.
    Keywords: Fiscal regimes, fiscal stabilization, discrete-choice panel-data models
    JEL: E61 E62 E63
    Date: 2011
  3. By: M. Utku Ozmen; Orhun Sevinc
    Abstract: In this study we investigate the duration of consumer price spells and the price change patterns for Turkey. The study employs the most comprehensive unofficial micro price data so far for Turkey covering around 6000 items over four years which comprises a major part of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In detail, we analyze how long a typical price spell lasts, the average size of price changes, the relationship between price change size and spell duration, distribution of price changes and synchronization of prices. Compared to advanced economies, we estimate a high frequency of consumer price changes in Turkey. Findings suggest substantial heterogeneity among sub-groups and underline the time-varying nature of frequency and synchronization indicators. The study confirms that the empirical regularity of mixed evidence of both state and time-dependent pricing generally cited for developed economies also holds for an emerging market economy, Turkey.
    Keywords: Consumer prices, price spell duration, price rigidity, distribution of price changes, state and time dependent pricing
    JEL: E31 C41 D40 E50
    Date: 2011
  4. By: Filiztekin, Alpay
    Abstract: This paper estimates social returns to education in Turkey. Most evidence on spillovers from human capital comes mostly from developed countries, and estimates vary from country to country. The paper finds that social returns to education are around 3-4%, whereas private returns per year of education amount to 5% in Turkey. Moreover, the findings indicate that workers with lower skills, or working in sectors with lower average wages benefit most from externalities. The results are robust to a series of checks, using a number of individual and regional controls, as well as instrumental variable estimation.
    Keywords: human capital externalities; returns to education; wages
    JEL: J31 A20 R23
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Binzel, Christine (University of Heidelberg)
    Abstract: This paper studies how the gradual suspension of an employment guarantee scheme for secondary and post-secondary graduates has affected intergenerational mobility across well-educated cohorts in Egypt. The empirical results support suggestive evidence in the Middle East of a decline in social mobility among the increasingly well-educated youth. The results further indicate that unequal opportunities are due to difficulties in attaining high-level occupations in the formal private sector for graduates from a lower socio-economic background, and that personal connections may play a decisive role. Thus, aside from credit market imperfections, labor market constraints may be important in explaining low social mobility.
    Keywords: intergenerational mobility, Islamic revival, schooling, labor market
    JEL: J62 J24 O10
    Date: 2011–11
  6. By: Göktaylar, Yavuz
    Abstract: Turkey has experienced important institutional transformation during the last decades. In particular, it has started with liberal policies of early 1980s. Turkey has abandoned the import substitution policies after a serious balance of payment crisis. Foreign trade regime has been liberalized and export oriented development strategy has been adopted. The main goal has been to create a market based economy integrated with world markets. However, this first wave of institutional change is far from adequate. On the contrary, inadequate regulatory framework at financial sector and widespread corruption as well as bad macroeconomic management has led to crises between 1990 and 2001. Thus, the institutional change towards regulatory state is triggered with those economic crises. In response to these economic crises and the external pressure of global institutions like the IMF, significant legal changes such as liberalization in utilities sectors and restructuring of banking sector have been realized and some independent regulatory authorities have been set up. The Competition Authority was established in 1994 as part of the Custom Union agreement with the European Union (EU). The Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency was established in 1999 to improve the effectiveness of regulation and supervision and to establish an independent decision-making mechanism for the banking sector. The legal infrastructure for the Central Bank's independence was established by amending some articles of the Banking Law in 2001. Telecommunications Authority and Energy Market Regulatory Authority were set up in 2001 prior to liberalization of communications and electricity generation and distribution markets. The implicit logic of all this so-called structural reforms is to create and enhance the market based economy and the associated rationalization of public management in line with it. The Central Bank's independence from the political authorities that is perceived as a vital guarantee for prevention of irresponsible monetary policies, liberalization of electricity, gas, telecommunications and aviation sectors, privatization of large state monopolies at those utilities sector including Turk Telekom, building independent regulatory authorities, …etc are among some of the important changes of this new institutional era. In this paper, I try to discuss the questions why these significant institutional changes have occurred and what the promises realized and shortfalls of these authorities during the last decade in Turkey by conducting a literature survey. I think that after the introduction of second wave of institutional change, macroeconomic stability has substantially improved by creating a new institutional environment based on market mechanism and state as a regulator. Institutional change has been seemed to be successful for avoiding crisis in spite of the global financial crisis. The robustness of banking sector due to the restructuring is crucial for avoiding crises. On the other hand, new institutional environment is far from perfect. There are some serious risks and deficits. First, legal ambiguities between regulatory agencies may create power struggles and inefficiency. Secondly, having independent regularity authorities and new laws alone does not mean a guarantee for expected effective results. Finally, political class in Turkey is a myopic behaviour and their understanding has very serious short comings. Especially, I argue that the political commitment to support those independent administrative authorities by political elites is limited. I believe that the role of independent administrative authorities and the reorganization of Turkish traditional state structure towards regulatory state will continue to be debated in near future. --
    Date: 2011
  7. By: Tözer, Ayhan; Göktaylar, Yavuz
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to evaluate sectoral innovation system of Turkish internet service market by looking into some case studies and making interviews with related actors. In this attempt, firstly, a sectoral innovation systems approach has been described briefly from theoretical point of view. Then, third section introduces sectoral innovation systems of internet services. At fourth section, two case studies are mentioned. At the following chapter, we focus on regulatory developments that affect market and sectoral innovation systems regarding broadband internet access in Turkey. Fourthly, we describe the results of interviews done with executive officers of several large Internet Service Providers and a general secretary of a sector association in this country. Finally, we discuss the policy implications for Turkish policy makers in order to improve the functioning of sectoral innovation systems of internet services. At the conclusion section, we summarize the main findings and policy suggestions. --
    Keywords: competition,innovation,internet service market,sectoral innovation system,telecommunications,regulation.
    JEL: L51 L96
    Date: 2011
  8. By: Filiztekin, Alpay
    Abstract: There is a consensus that one of the most important ingredients for high and sustainable growth is human capital accumulation. Yet, a different strand of literature argues that there are some frictions in the labor markets of most countries that result in possible education-occupation mismatches, and consequently inefficiencies. Despite a significant amount of research using data from advanced economies there are very few studies on developing economies. Considering that human capital is scarce in these countries, whether it is efficiently allocated is arguably relatively more important. This paper using data from two different years examines the incidence of overeducation in Turkey. The findings show that there is a significant amount of over- and undereducated workers, and they are paid significantly less than those with the same level of education but working in jobs that require education levels that match their own. The magnitude of the incidence and the impact of mismatches on wages are, however, not too different than in most developed economies.
    Keywords: human capital; overeducation; returns to schooling; Turkey
    JEL: A20
    Date: 2011
  9. By: Selva Demiralp (Koc University); Hakan Kara (Central Bank of Turkey Research and Monetary Policy Department); Pýnar Özlü (Central Bank of Turkey Research and Monetary Policy Department)
    Abstract: This paper assesses the effectiveness of monetary policy communication of the Central Bank of Turkey (CBT) by quantifying the information content of the policy statements released right after the monthly Monetary Policy Committee meetings. First, we quantify the signal regarding the next interest rate decision and ask whether CBT’s words match its deeds, i.e., whether communication improves predictability using the Autoregressive Conditional Hazard model. Our findings suggest that the role of statements in predicting the next policy move have strengthened following the adoption of full-fledged inflation targeting (IT) regime. Second, we identify the surprise component of policy communication directly from market commentaries and assess its impact on the term structure of interest rates. We find that the response of the yield curve to policy statements have become highly significant for the unanticipated changes in the monetary policy communication and the relative importance of communication in driving market yields has increased through time.
    Keywords: Central Bank Communication, Predictability, Transparency
    JEL: E52 E58
    Date: 2011–10
  10. By: Marga Peeters; Loek Groot
    Abstract: This paper investigates the fiscal pressure from demographic change in relation to the labour marketspace for fifty countries that cover 75% of the world population. The pressure-to-space indicator ranks Poland, Turkey and Greece high. Apart from Turkey and India, developing countries rank low due to low spending on the old (pensions, health care) and the young (education, family costs). Peculiarly, economies with higher pressure have more space. The hypothesis that ageing economies have started using their space in anticipation to higher demographic pressure is rejected. Raising the retirement age in developed economies by five years alleviates the pressure by almost 30% and creates 10% more labour market space.
    Keywords: Demography, dependency rates, labour market, social security, pensions, government spending.
    JEL: D6 E24 E62 H51 H52 H53 H55 J0 J11 J18 J21 J26 O57
    Date: 2011–11–18
  11. By: Demirdöğen, Alper
    Abstract: This study reviews conceptual framework of agricultural protectionism, relevant measurement issues, and changes in agricultural protectionism with time in selected countries based on the composition of supports. When measuring the levels of agricultural protection, OECD method, the most widespread one, was employed, and related criticisms were discussed. In order to determine levels of protection, 11 countries, which are thought to have a significant role in the world agricultural markets and/or in terms of protectionism, were selected. These countries were grouped as low, medium and high protection countries, based on their Nominal Assistance Coefficients. Further, differing applications and specific conditions of those countries were discussed. Producer Support Estimate Percentages, Nominal Assistance Coefficient and Nominal Protection Coefficient were used to analyze changes in the protection level of the countries. Nominal Assistance Coefficients are found to be as follows: 1,04-1,11 in low protection countries (Australia, Brazil, China), 1,16-1,43 in medium protection countries (United States of America, European Union, Canada, Russia, Turkey) and 2,12-2,76 in high protection countries (South Korea, Switzerland, Japan). Although share of decoupled payments in support compositions increases, share of market price supports causing price distortions is still high. Furthermore, it was also observed that importance of environmental issues is increasing in almost all countries. Based on nominal protection coefficient, it can be said that countries are protecting staple crops more. In this case, concerns of the countries on being self sufficient at least for these crops and decreasing their dependency on world markets are affecting the decisions of those countries. Hence, it can be concluded that agriculture will remain as the most controversial issue in free trade negotiations.
    Keywords: : Agricultural Protectionism; Nominal Assistance Coefficient; Nominal Protection Coefficient; Producer Support Estimate; Turkey
    JEL: H20 Q18
    Date: 2011
  12. By: Akay, Alpaslan (IZA); Karabulut, Gökhan (Istanbul University); Martinsson, Peter (University of Gothenburg)
    Abstract: This paper experimentally examines how religious festivals and the degree of religiosity affect cooperation and altruistic punishment by using public goods experiments. We conducted the experiments in Turkey at different points in time; one on the most religious day during Ramadan (the Night of Power – Laylat al-Qadr) and the other at a time without any religious festivals other than the normal daily prayers. The overall results show no differences in cooperation or altruistic punishment among individuals during Ramadan, even when the degree of their religiosity varied. However, less religious people did change their cooperative behaviour in response to religious festivals. Most of the differences can, however, be explained by differences in beliefs about others contributions. By and large, this indicates the importance of conditional cooperation.
    Keywords: cooperation, experiment, public goods, punishment, religion
    JEL: C72 C91 H41
    Date: 2011–11
  13. By: Melhem Sadek; Diallo Abdul Salam; Terraza Michel
    Abstract: The decline in the value of US dollar and the emergence of other currencies has opened the debate within OPEC, of whether it is possible to resort to the pricing of crude oil in alternative currencies. The debate was limited because of the inadequate liquidity of most other currencies. In this paper, we focus on the implications of the shift in the pricing of Iran’s crude oil to other currencies than the US dollar. The results demonstrated that the pricing for Iranian oil in US dollar had high reaction potential and responded moderately to the change in the exchange rate, when compared to the pricing in Euro and in Yen. Consequently, it appeared that stability on the financial market led to partial stability in the oil market.
    Keywords: Crude Oil Pricing, Currency Basket, OPEC, Exchange Rate of Dollar, Euros, Yen.
    Date: 2011–06
  14. By: Elvan Arik (IUL - Institut d'urbanisme de Lyon - Université Lumière - Lyon II)
    Abstract: À partir de la thématique énergétique à Istanbul, ce mémoire apporte des éléments de réponse à la double interrogation suivante : comment les structures de gouvernance locale se sont-elles adaptées aux injonctions du développement urbain durable ? ; dans une métropole déjà fragmentée socio-spatialement, l'accès au confort énergétique ne devient-il pas une nouvelle clé de lecture des distinctions sociales ? L'analyse de l'accès au réseau de gaz naturel nous a servi d'angle d'approche pour répondre à cette dernière question. Actuellement, l'émergence des thématiques du développement durable n'introduit pas de changements majeurs dans les politiques urbaines. On assiste plutôt à une redéfinition opportuniste des missions et des statuts de certains acteurs. Ceci contribue à opacifier les structures décisionnelles locales. Concernant l'accès au gaz naturel, le déploiement large et rapide du réseau ne s'est pas traduit mécaniquement en une généralisation de l'usage de cette ressource énergétique par toutes les catégories sociales. Les difficultés d'accès à ce réseau s'expliquent par la situation socialement précaire d'une importante part des Stambouliotes. Par ailleurs, l'apparition de territoires énergétiquement favorisés n'est pas la traduction d'une désintégration néolibérale des réseaux traditionnels. Elle résulte de visions métropolitaines publiques encourageant les projets d'envergure internationale. Ces deux dernières affirmations remettent ainsi en cause la théorie du Splintering Urbanism.
    Keywords: services urbains en réseaux, politiques énergétiques, développement urbain durable, gaz naturel, splintering urbanism, fragmentation socio-spatiale, néo-libéralisme, privatisation, métropolisation, Istanbul, Turquie, urban network services, energy policy, sustainable urban development, natural gas, splintering urbanism, socio-spatial fragmentation, neoliberalism, privatization, Turkey
    Date: 2011–09–08
  15. By: Raimundo Soto; Rosalía Vásquez
    Abstract: The Kafala (or sponsorship) system is the key instrument behind the economic development of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and most Middle East economies. The system governs both labor migration and foreign investment by assigning a native-UAE sponsor to each migrant worker and each foreign investor. Sponsors enjoy significant command over these factors and extract sizable economic rents. Firms in free-zones, in contrast, are exempt from the Kafala system. Therefore, they provide an appropriate counterfactual to study the effect of policy regulations on technical efficiency. Using a representative sample of 600 firms of Dubai we estimate stochastic frontier models to identify and compare the degree of technical inefficiency between firms operating under the Kafala system and those in free zones. Our results suggest that on average technical inefficiency resulting from the Kafala amounts to 6.6% of total costs (or 11% of profits). Inefficiency is also greater among firms in Main Dubai in all economic sectors.
    Keywords: Labor sponsorship (Kafala), technical inefficiency, economic rents
    JEL: D2 L5
    Date: 2011
  16. By: Ahmed Chabchoub (Ecole Supérieure de Commerce Sfax - Ecole Supérieure de Commerce Sfax); Abdelfettah Bouri (Faculté des sciences économiques et de gestion Sfax - Faculté des sciences économiques et de gestion Sfax)
    Abstract: La dématérialisation croissante de la politique d'investissement des entreprises justifie la nécessité de mesurer ses différentes manifestations. Cet article se propose d'étudier les déterminants des choix de comptabilisation des investissements immatériels par les firmes tunisiennes. Notre étude de terrain, réalisée auprès de 21 entreprises tunisiennes cotées à la BVMT et de 51 entreprises non cotées sur la période 2002 - 2005, montre principalement que les facteurs de contingence qui déterminent le choix d'activation des investissements immatériels sont les contraintes d'endettement et la qualité d'audit pour les entreprises cotées, et les contraintes d'endettement la taille de la firme pour les entreprises non cotées.
    Keywords: investissement immatériel ; choix comptables ; coûts d'agence ; contingence ; entreprises tunisiennes
    Date: 2011
  17. By: Abdul-Hamid, Husein; Abu-Lebdeh, Khattab M.; Patrinos, Harry Anthony
    Abstract: Over the past two decades, the Jordanian education system has made significant advances. Net enrollment in basic education increased from 89 percent in 2000 to 97 percent in 2006. Transition rates to secondary education increased from 63 to 79 percent in the same period. At the same time, Jordan made significant gains on international surveys of student achievement, with a particularly impressive gain of almost 30 points on the science portion of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study. Changes in test scores over time are presented and analyzed using decomposition analysis. The trends are related to policy changes over time. It is argued that benchmarking education systems and constant feedback between researchers and policymakers contributed to this achievement.
    Keywords: Tertiary Education,Education For All,Teaching and Learning,Secondary Education,Primary Education
    Date: 2011–12–01

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