nep-ara New Economics Papers
on Arab World
Issue of 2012‒03‒14
two papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. Two Transitions: A Brief on Analyses and Policies for MENA and CESEE By Vladimir Gligorov
  2. Equality of Opportunity in Education in the Middle East and North Africa By Djavad Salehi-Isfahani; Nadia Belhaj Hassine

  1. By: Vladimir Gligorov (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw)
    Abstract: One year after the onset of the Arab Spring, the transition is clearly at its very beginning. In that, it does not compare with the onset of transition in Central, East and Southeast Europe (CESEE) in 1989 or 1990, which was a kind of breakthrough and provided a clear discontinuity with the past in almost all respects. In the majority of cases this has been one more step in the process of systemic change in the CESEE that will take some time to unfold. This Policy Note compares changes in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) with the processes of reforms and change that took place in the socialist world from, arguably, 1956 to 1989. It is hard to time the current turmoil in the MENA region in comparison with the long process of reforms and transition in CESEE, but it could be argued that in most cases the 1989 moment is yet to come to the former region. ...
    Date: 2012–01
  2. By: Djavad Salehi-Isfahani; Nadia Belhaj Hassine
    Abstract: This paper is an empirical investigation of inequality of education opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). We use student scores from tests administered by the international consortium Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) for a number of MENA countries and over time since 1999 to estimate the effect of circumstances children are born into on their academic achievement in science and mathematics. From the variation in inequality of education opportunities across countries and over time we draw lessons on the influence of different education systems or changes in policy on equality of opportunity. We ï¬nd that inequality of opportunities explains a signiï¬cant part of the inequality in educational achievements in most MENA countries, but in a few cases, notably Algeria, its role is small. Family background variables are the most important determinants of inequality in achievement, followed by community characteristics. Inequality of education opportunities are high in several MENA countries, and have either stayed the same or worsened in recent years. The results show that, despite great efforts in past decades to invest in free public education, in most MENA countries are less opportunity equal in educational achievement that European countries, and several are less equal than Latin America countries and the United States. There is plenty of room for policy to further level the playing ï¬eld in education. We discuss how our results shed light on policy choices in education that can contribute to greater equality of education and income in the region.
    Keywords: Equality of opportunity; Education; Middle East and North Africa
    Date: 2012

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