nep-ara New Economics Papers
on Arab World
Issue of 2012‒03‒21
six papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. Europeanization in Turkey - Stretching a Concept to its Limits? By Tanja A. Börzel; Digdem Soyaltin
  2. Regional Trade Integration in the Middle East and North Africa: Lessons from Central Europe By Sándor Richter
  3. Operative Principles of Islamic Derivatives - Towards a Coherent Theory By Juan Sole; Andreas Jobst
  4. Is there Fiscal Space for Financing an Arab Development Transformation? By Khalid Abu-Ismail; Rathin Roy; Raquel Almeida Ramos
  5. Fiscal Space in the Arab Countries By Khalid Abu-Ismail; Rathin Roy; Raquel Almeida Ramos
  6. The business management strategy of Iran's large apparel firms : overview of results from a questionnaire survey and interviews 2009-2011 By Iwasaki, Yoko

  1. By: Tanja A. Börzel; Digdem Soyaltin
    Abstract: Research on Europeanization and domestic change has moved south-eastwards and was provided with another real-world experiment when it has meet with Turkey. This paper explores to what extent Europeanization approaches travel to Turkey, which does have a membership perspective that looks, however, ever less credible. The first part outlines the main findings of research on ‘External Europeanization’ focusing on factors that have limited or at least qualified the domestic impact of the EU in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) and Western Balkan (WB) accession countries. The paper, then, discusses to what extent Europeanization approaches need further qualification when applied to Turkey, which squares on democracy with the Western Balkans (with the exception of Croatia), but whose statehood is less limited. We argue that existing Europeanization approaches, largely, account for the overall moderate degree of Europeanization in Turkey. Yet, selective and differential domestic changes are mostly related to the extent to which EU conditionality helps domestic actors gain or hold political power and push their own political agenda. The paper concludes by summarizing the major implications Turkey’s accession to the EU has for Europeanization approaches and discussing why Turkey is not a case sui generis.
    Keywords: East-Central Europe; East-Central Europe; EU-South-Eastern Europe; EU-South-Eastern Europe; Turkey; neighbourhood policy; governance
    Date: 2012–03–02
  2. By: Sándor Richter
    Abstract: In this paper regional integration among the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is addressed. There are a number of economic and integration blocs with one or more MENA countries’ participation, but there is no one overarching agreement that would cover the whole MENA region. The results of various gravity model calculations suggest that intra-MENA trade is below its potential. Intra-MENA trade is a small fraction (5.9% in exports, 5.1% in imports) of the MENA countries’ total trade. Exports to the EU are ten times, imports from the EU eight times more relevant than intra-MENA trade flows. The most recent goal of the EU-MENA cooperation has been the creation of a deep Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area, aimed at a substantial liberalization of trade between both the EU and Southern Mediterranean countries (North-South), and Southern Mediterranean countries themselves (South-South). Recent research result point out that a successful revival of intra-regional trade in Central Europe was conditional upon these countries’ close integration with the EU. In the case of the Central European countries close integration meant full EU membership, what is for the MENA not available currently. Nevertheless a provision of some of the main attributes of deep integration with the EU, even without full membership, may facilitate intra-MENA trade to a similar way as it did for Central Europe.
    Date: 2012–03
  3. By: Juan Sole; Andreas Jobst
    Abstract: Derivatives are few and far between in countries where the compatibility of financial transactions with Islamic law requires the development of shari’ah-compliant structures. Islamic finance is governed by the shari’ah, which bans speculation and gambling, and stipulates that income must be derived as profits from the shared generation of goods and services between counterparties rather than interest or a guaranteed return. The paper explains the fundamental legal principles underpinning Islamic finance with a view towards developing a cohesive theory of derivatives subject to shari’ahprinciples. After critically reviewing accepted contracts and the scholastic debate surrounding existing financial innovation in this area, the paper offers an axiomatic perspective on a principle-based permissibility of derivatives under Islamic law.
    Keywords: Financial instruments , Islamic banking , Risk management ,
    Date: 2012–03–01
  4. By: Khalid Abu-Ismail (Macroeconomics and Poverty Advisor in UNDP?s Sub-Regional Resource Facility for the Arab States); Rathin Roy (International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth); Raquel Almeida Ramos (IPC-IG)
    Abstract: The fundamental development challenge in the Arab region is one of economic transformation or, more pertinent, a lack thereof. Heavy sectoral weights of extractive industries lead to dependence on global oil prices, even in oil-producing countries. The structure of production limits employment generation for skilled and semi-skilled labour. Low-skill services and informal activities then absorb the labour force, with corresponding harm to aggregate productivity and living standards. The slow emergence of manufacturing capacities distinguishes the economies of the Arab region from other developing countries. Compared to suitable aggregates or, more poignant, the successful Asian emerging economies, manufacturing exports from the Arab region do not contribute sufficiently to growth. Concurrently, growth is volatile and saving and investment rates are significantly below what is required to undertake this economic transition (see Arnim et al., 2011; Abu-Ismail, Moustafa, and Arabaci, 2011; Abu-Ismail et al., 2011). (?)
    Keywords: Is there Fiscal Space for Financing an Arab Development Transformation?
    Date: 2012–02
  5. By: Khalid Abu-Ismail (Macroeconomics and Poverty Advisor in UNDP?s Sub-Regional Resource Facility for the Arab States); Rathin Roy (International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth); Raquel Almeida Ramos (IPC-IG)
    Abstract: The paper on which this One Pager is based (Roy, Abu-Ismail and Ramos, 2011) suggests concrete policy options which would create the fiscal space needed for structural transformation. After analysing the fiscal constraints faced by different countries and country groupings in the region, the paper suggests policies to increase fiscal space for the development transformation needed by expanding the fiscal base and fostering changes in the sources of revenue. The paper seeks to identify policies that improve the equity and progressivity of fiscal incidence. (?)
    Keywords: Fiscal Space in the Arab Countries
    Date: 2012–02
  6. By: Iwasaki, Yoko
    Abstract: This paper is an overview of the results from a questionnaire survey and subsequent supplementary interviews of Iran's large apparel firms conducted by the author in 2009-2011. Most of the large apparel firms in Iran are based in Tehran and have been in business for some twenty years. They have a solid business with regular customers, but in general have hesitated to expand the size of their firms. Following the relaxation of restrictions on the procurement of raw materials that existed in the 1990s, the results of survey and interviews show that the firms have developed new channels of procurement although they depend to a considerable degree on imported raw materials and machinery. They have managed to maintain their level of output even with the rapid increase in imports since 2000, although the number of firms has decreased. Low-priced Chinese products have basically not been their rivals; instead, the inflow of foreign name-brand products have hit them heavily.
    Keywords: Iran, Apparel industry, Industrial management, Large-scale enterprises, Apparel firms, Questionnaire survey, Interview
    JEL: L67 M11
    Date: 2012–02

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