nep-ara New Economics Papers
on Arab World
Issue of 2012‒09‒03
eighteen papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. Tolerance as a European Norm or an Ottoman Practice? An Analysis of Turkish Public Debates on the (Re)Opening of an Armenian Church in the Context of Turkey’s EU Candidacy and Neo-Ottoman Revival By Bilgin Ayata
  2. Household Structure, and Household Income and its Components over the Life-Cycle in Turkey By Seyit Mümin Cilasun; Murat Güray Kýrdar
  3. The Comparison of the Recent Crises in Turkey in terms of Output Gap By Goksel , Turkmen; Ozturkler, Harun
  4. The long diverfence: how Islamic law held back the Middle East by Timur Kuran By Islahi, Abdul Azim
  5. Health Expenditures Risk, Purchase of Private Health Insurance, and Precautionary Saving in Turkey By Evren Ceritoglu
  6. Nowcasting Unemployment Rate in Turkey : Let's Ask Google By Meltem Gulenay Chadwick; Gonul Sengul
  7. Turkiye’de Enflasyon : Sektorel ve Uluslararasi Bazda Karsilastirmali Bir Analiz ve One Cikan Noktalar By Selen Baser; Sevim Kosem; Fethi Ogunc
  8. Protection in good and bad times ? the Turkish green card health program By Aran, Meltem A.; Hentschel, Jesko S.
  9. The Holy Trinity of Democracy, Economic Development, and Security. EU Democratization Efforts Beyond its Borders - The Case of Tunisia By Assem Dandashly
  10. İşletme Kuluçkalarında Sunulan Destek Hizmetlerinin Yeni Kurulan Firmaların Hayatta Kalabilirliği Üzerine Etkisi: İş Geliştirme Merkezleri (İŞGEM) Örneği By Murat, Karaoz; Murat Ali, Dulupcu; Mesut, Albeni; Hakan, Demirgil; Onur, Sungur
  11. Sectoral System of Innovation and Exploring Technological Upgrading Strategies in Late-Industrializing Countries By TUNCEL, Cem Okan
  12. Turk Imalat Sanayi Sektorel Reel Efektif Doviz Kuru Endeksleri Uzerine Bir Degerlendirme By Hulya Saygili; Gokhan Yilmaz
  13. Financial Development and Income Inequality: Is there any Financial Kuznets curve in Iran? By Muhammad, Shahbaz; Tiwari, Aviral; Reza , Sherafatian-Jahromi
  14. Gli scambi commerciali agroalimentari euromediterranei. Contributo allo sviluppo del "Processo di Barcellona: Unione per il Mediterraneo" By Zarbà, Alfonso Silvio; Allegra, Valeria; Bucca, Marcella; Pappalardo, Gioacchino
  15. Internal migration in Egypt : levels, determinants, wages, and likelihood of employment By Herrera, Santiago; Badr, Karim
  16. Are international food price spikes the source of Egypt's high inflation ? By Al-Shawarby, Sherine; Selim, Hoda
  17. Turkiye Icin Bir Reel Iktisadi Faaliyet Gostergesi By S. Boragan Aruoba; Cagri Sarikaya

  1. By: Bilgin Ayata
    Abstract: Turkey has undergone significant legal and institutional reforms regarding minority rights and cultural rights in the past decade as part of a reform process to meet political criteria for EU membership. However, it has not been studied so far if this increasing institutional compliance has also led to transformations at a normative level in the public discourse in Turkey. To explore this question, this paper presents the results of a qualitative media analysis that I conducted on the restoration and reopening of an Armenian church in 2007 – a milestone for the Republic as churches were destroyed or doomed to vanish for nearly a century since the Armenian Genocide in 1915. The restoration of the Sourp Khatch/Akhtamar Church became a showcase for Turkey’s self-promotion as a ‘tolerant nation’. However, the church was notably made accessible to the public as a museum that initially lacked the cross on its dome and was conceived to only host a religious service once a year. This opening of a church-museum is a symbolic instance in Turkey’s ongoing transformation process in which tolerance and plurality have become prominent keywords in politics and public debate. Yet, as the findings suggest, they do not so as a reflection of European norms, but rather stand for a rediscovery and reinterpretation of Turkey’s Ottoman past practices as a multi-religious empire. I show, however, that this reinterpretation occurs on the shaky grounds of a blindfolded view of the past, in particular the denial of the Armenian Genocide, and on the denial that minorities are still endangered in present day Turkey. I conclude that, without an acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey’s nostalgic embracement of the Ottoman past and representation of norms such as tolerance as the ‘true’ Turkish/Islamic norms do not stand for a norm internalization or a norm adaption process, but instead, for a disconnection between norm and practice.
    Keywords: international relations; Turkey
    Date: 2012–07–03
  2. By: Seyit Mümin Cilasun (Atýlým University); Murat Güray Kýrdar (Middle East Technical University)
    Abstract: In this study, using the 2003 Turkish Household Budget Survey (HBS), we investigate the life-cycle profiles of household income and its components by educational attainment, and compare these profiles with those reported for various developed and developing countries. A key aspect of our analysis is that we examine the link between household structure and household income over the life-cycle. The most interesting finding of the study is that household income profiles conditional on educational attainment in Turkey are nondecreasing and quite flat over the life-cycle. This is in stark contrast to the hump-shaped household income profiles reported for developed countries. There are three main reasons for this fact in Turkey: i) Multiple nuclear families live together in the same household, especially when the household head is very young or old, and many adult children who are employed live in their parents’ households. ii) Many household heads are still employed at end of their life cycle, especially among the less-educated. iii) Pension income levels, for those who are qualified for them, are relatively high compared to other components of income.
    Date: 2012
  3. By: Goksel , Turkmen; Ozturkler, Harun
    Abstract: The importance of output gap and its timely measure come from the fact that it can serve as a guide to macroeconomic policy design. The knowledge of the position of an economy in a cycle is invaluable information and it has an important role in formulation of monetary, fiscal, and income policies. In this paper, we measure potential GDP and output gap for the Turkish Economy for the period between 1998Q1 and 2011Q4, using production function approach. We analyze the crises and the boom periods in terms of output gap. We find that according to the length of downturn and recovery periods, the worst crisis is the 2001. However, when we compare the crises according to the magnitude, the biggest collapse occurs during 2008 crisis. After recovering from 2008 crisis, once again the actual real GDP remains higher than the potential GDP for 5 successive quarters. Moreover, in this period actual real GDP is back on its old trend suggesting that the recovery period is over for Turkey and the negative effects of 2008 global crisis are not permanent.
    Keywords: Crises; Output gap; Potential GDP; Production function approach; Turkey
    JEL: E32
    Date: 2012–06
  4. By: Islahi, Abdul Azim
    Abstract: This is a critical evaluation of the book entitled The Long Divergence:How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East by Timur Kuran.
    Keywords: Economic History of Middle East; Ottoman Economic History; Decadence of Muslim East
    JEL: P00 O53 K00 N00 N95 B00 P52
    Date: 2012
  5. By: Evren Ceritoglu
    Abstract: The precautionary saving hypothesis proposes that purchase of private health insurance diminishes household saving, since health insurance coverage decreases the possibility of unexpected out-of-pocket health expenditures. The empirical analysis is realised using the TURKSTAT Household Budget Surveys between 2003 and 2010 for the Turkish economy for this purpose. The econometric results from the Two-Stage Probit Least Squares (2SPLS) regressions indicate that there is a negative and statistically significant relationship between household saving and voluntary health insurance, which includes purchases of private health insurance. Moreover, the relationship between household saving and green-card ownership, which is distributed to the poorest individuals without social security coverage, is negative and statistically significant. As a result, the empirical analysis provides evidence in favour of the precautionary saving hypothesis.
    Keywords: health expenditures risk, precautionary saving
    JEL: D12 I11
    Date: 2012
  6. By: Meltem Gulenay Chadwick; Gonul Sengul
    Abstract: We use linear regression models and Bayesian Model Averaging procedure to investigate whether Google search query data can improve the nowcast performance of the monthly nonagricultural unemployment rate for Turkey for the period from January 2005 to January 2012. We show that Google search query data is successful at nowcasting1 monthly nonagricultural unemployment rate for Turkey both in-sample and out-of-sample. When compared with a benchmark model, where we use only the lag values of the monthly unemployment rate, the best model contains Google search query data and it is 47.8 percent more accurate in-sample and 38.3 percent more accurate for the one month ahead nowcasts in terms of relative root mean square errors (RMSE). We also show via Harvey, Leybourne, and Newbold (1997) modification of the Diebold-Mariano test that models with Google search query data indeed perform statistically better than the benchmark.
    Keywords: Google Insights, nowcasting, nonagricultural unemployment rate, Bayesian model averaging
    JEL: C22 C53 E27
    Date: 2012
  7. By: Selen Baser; Sevim Kosem; Fethi Ogunc
    Abstract: [TR] Bu calismada Turkiye’de enflasyonun Avrupa Birligi ulkelerine kiyasla yuksek seyrinde one cikan alt kalemler tespit edilmis; alkol-tutun, enerji, islenmemis gida ve yemek hizmetleri gruplarinda fiyatlarin yakin donemde hem yurt ici genel fiyat endeksine hem de yurt disi ilgili sektor fiyat endeksine kiyasla daha hizli oranda arttigi gozlenmistir. Bir sonraki adimda Turkiye’deki dusuk goreli fiyat seviyesinin enflasyonun yuksek seyrindeki rolu incelenmistir. Sonuclar, goreli fiyat seviyesinin diger ulkelere kiyasla dusuk olmasinin kismi bir aciklayici guce sahip oldugunu gostermis ve enflasyonun yuksek seyrinde Turkiye’ye ozgu yapisal faktorlerin rolune isaret etmistir. Bu cercevede, alkol-tutun, enerji ve gida kalemlerinde vergi politikasi, disa bagimliliga bagli etkiler ve sektorel rekabet yapisi gibi konulara dikkat çekilmistir. [EN] In this note, the subsectors that stand out in the higher surge of inflation in Turkey relative to European Union countries are identified; and alcohol-tobacco, energy, unprocessed food and catering services price indices are observed to display higher increases relative to both domestic aggregate price index and international price index of the same sector in the recent period. Then, the role of low relative price on the high course of inflation is analyzed. Results show that having a low level of price relative to other countries has partial explanatory power and indicate the relevance of structural factors that are specific to Turkey in explaining the high course of inflation. In this framework, for the subsectors of alcohol-tobacco, energy and food, attention is drawn on the issues like tax policy, effects resulting from import dependence and sectoral competition.
    Date: 2012
  8. By: Aran, Meltem A.; Hentschel, Jesko S.
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the equity and financial protection implications of the expansion of the Green Card (Yesil Kart) non-contributory health insurance program in Turkey during the growth years from 2003 to 2008. It also considers the program's protective impact during the economic crisis in 2009. The authors find that the rapid expansion of the program between 2003 and 2008 was highly progressive. It led to significant gains in coverage of the poor but offered limited financial protection as out-of-pocket expenditures even before the introduction of the program had been limited. Using a specialized welfare monitoring survey, fielded in 2009, the authors estimate the impact of the program on household level health care utilization during the first phase of the economic slowdown in Turkey. Using three different estimation techniques, they find that the Green Card program had a significantly positive impact on protecting health care utilization during the crisis.
    Keywords: Health Monitoring&Evaluation,Health Systems Development&Reform,Health Economics&Finance,Health Law,Housing&Human Habitats
    Date: 2012–08–01
  9. By: Assem Dandashly
    Abstract: The EU has been engaged in democracy promotion, human rights, and civil liberties in the Mediterranean countries for over two decades with results ranging from very limited success to total failure. The revolutions in the Arab world – that have caught the EU and Western countries by surprise – provide a window of opportunity for real democratic reforms in the region. The successful democratization in Tunisia will send positive messages to the neighboring countries. Why should the EU be more involved in supporting Tunisia’s democratic transition? And what can the EU do to support Tunisia’s efforts to build and reform its institutions and to move towards a consolidated democracy with a functioning market economy? Answering these research questions requires understanding the major failures of the EU in the Mediterranean region – the Union of the Mediterranean is on hold and conditionality (at least political conditionality) is problematic and questionable. Prior to the Dignity Revolution, security and stability were moving in the opposite direction to democracy –leading the EU to focus more on the former. Now, consolidating democracy, economic development, stability, and security on the EU’s Southern borders are moving in the same direction. This paper argues that, first, supporting democracy is a necessary condition for guaranteeing stable and secure southern borders and, secondly, economic growth is a necessary condition for consolidating democracy and political reforms in Tunisia.
    Keywords: democratization; democratization; democracy; Mediterranean
    Date: 2012–07–31
  10. By: Murat, Karaoz; Murat Ali, Dulupcu; Mesut, Albeni; Hakan, Demirgil; Onur, Sungur
    Abstract: Business incubators are mechanisms which aim to formation and development of new ventures and to survive of these ventures through various supportive services. The aim of this study is to examine the effects of business incubator programs and its services on tenant firm performance in the context of Business Development Centers (ISGEMs). The study consists of 414 firms and 12 business incubators in Turkey. Within the framework of research model, business incubator services were categorized in 4 groups as (1) office services, (2) shared/common services, (3) education/training services and (4) counseling services and results show that all service groups have significant and positive effects on firms’ survival probabilities.
    Keywords: Business Incubators; New Firm Formation; Survival Analysis; Business Development Centers; Cox Proportional Hazard Regression Model
    JEL: C14 C41 D02 M13
    Date: 2012–06
  11. By: TUNCEL, Cem Okan
    Abstract: Latecomer sectors in late-industrializing economies follow different patterns in their development and growth processes, which largely determine the share acquired from the global value chain. The development and growth process of the sectors is generally argued to be the result of the interaction of macro level specific institutional context and micro level firm strategic choices. In this study I argue that meso-level sectoral systems also play a critical role in the development and growth process of latecomer sectors. Accordingly, I aim to integrate these three theoretical perspectives -resource-based view (RBV) of the firm, sectoral system of innovation (SSI) perspective, and technological capability perspective for late industrializing economies- to explain the relative developmental failure of Turkish automotive industry compared to other successful latecomer industries such as South Korean automotive industry In the light of theoretical framework, I will try to investigate sectoral technological upgrading trajectory and compare between Korean and Turkish automotive industry development path by using case study method. I will end by discussing how a multilevel framework that takes into account the systemic factors can guide research on sectoral development in late-industrializing countries. In the light of a comparative historical analysis of development of Turkish and Korean automotive industries it is argued that a pace of industrial transformation can be accelerated by multilevel proactive state intervention.
    Keywords: Sectoral System of Innovation; Upgrading Strategies; Late-Industrializing Countries; Korean and Turkish Automotive Industry
    JEL: L92
    Date: 2012
  12. By: Hulya Saygili; Gokhan Yilmaz
    Abstract: Sektorlere ozgu rekabet ve dis ticaret ortaklarinin farklilastigi dusunuldugunde, sektorel reel kur endekslerinin imalat sanayi butunu icin hesaplanan endekslerden farkli bir seyir izleyerek, sektorel rekabet gucu gelismelerinin anlasilmasinda daha bilgilendirici olmasi beklenmektedir. Bu calismanin amaci Turk Imalat Sanayine ait Saygili ve ark. (2012)’de olusturulan sektorel reel efektif doviz kuru (sektorel REK) endekslerini tanitmak, endeks ozellikleri ve gelismeleri hakkinda bilgi vermektir. Calismada sektorel reel kur endekslerinin hem kendi aralarinda hem de genel UFE ve TUFE bazli imalat sanayi reel kur endekslerine gore farkli egilimler icerisinde oldugu saptanmistir. Yapilan goreli reel kur analizinde sektorlerin rekabet gucu asinanlar, ilimli iyilesenler ve artanlar olmak uzere uc alt grupta siniflandirilabilecegi gorulmustur. Ayrica, Hodrick-Prescott analizi dis ekonomik gelismelere oldukca duyarli olan enerji ve ana metal sanayinde reel kurlarin dongusel hareketlerinin digerlerine gore yuksek oldugunu ortaya koymustur. Sektorel REK endeksleri bilesenlerine ayristirildiginda ise genellikle sektorel reel kur degerlenmelerinin ve sektorlerin rekabet gucu baglaminda uc alt gruba ayrilmasinin temelde goreli fiyat hareketlerinden kaynaklandigi da gozlenmistir. Calismada, son olarak, ucuncu ulke piyasasi agirliginin, ulke genel ihracat agirligi hesaplamasinda dikkate alinmamasi durumunda reel efektif kur degerinin olmasi gerekenden farklilasabilecegi de saptanmistir.
    Keywords: Reel Efektif Doviz Kuru, Sektorel Kur, Turk Imalat Sanayi Rekabet Gucu
    JEL: C82 F31 L60
    Date: 2012
  13. By: Muhammad, Shahbaz; Tiwari, Aviral; Reza , Sherafatian-Jahromi
    Abstract: This deals with the investigation of the relationship between financial development and income inequality in case of Iran. In doing so, we have applied the ARDL bounds testing approach to examine the long-run relationship in the presence of structural break stemming in the series. The unit root properties have been tested by applying Zivot-Andrews (1992) and Clemente et al. (1998) structural break tests. The VECM Granger causality approach is used to detect the direction of causal relationship between financial development and income distribution. Moreover, Greenwood-Jovanovich (GJ) hypothesis has also been tested for Iranian economy. Our results confirm the long run relationship between the variables. Furthermore, financial development reduces income inequality. Economic growth worsens income inequality, but inflation and globalization improve income distribution. Finally, GJ hypothesis is found as well as U-shaped relationship between globalization and income inequality in case of Iran. This study might provide new insights for policy makers to reduce income inequality by making economic growth more fruitful for poor segment of population and directing financial sector to provide access to financial resources of poor individuals at cheaper cost.
    Keywords: Financial Development; Income Inequality; ARDL Bound Testing
    JEL: E44
    Date: 2012–08–20
  14. By: Zarbà, Alfonso Silvio; Allegra, Valeria; Bucca, Marcella; Pappalardo, Gioacchino
    Abstract: In this study we have analyzed the trade of agri-food products in Mediterranean countries, included in the Union for the Mediterranean, to identify specialization patterns of agri-food sector within Mediterranean basin. Through RCA index (Balassa) has been able to assess the growing importance that extra European Union countries are gradually gaining in traditional agri-food sector, such as fruit and vegetables, and in other higher value-added agri-food sector as processed products, for which only a decade earlier, were less competitive positions. In contrast, the main EU Mediterranean countries show a stability of their agri-food specialization model with a few exceptions mainly concerning products with a high degree of manipulation.
    Keywords: Union for the Mediterranean, agri-food, trade, RCA, Agribusiness, F10, F13, F15,
    Date: 2012
  15. By: Herrera, Santiago; Badr, Karim
    Abstract: This paper describes stylized facts about internal migration and the labor force in Egypt, and shows how internal migration in the country is low compared with international standards. Using aggregate labor force survey data, the paper shows how individuals migrate to governorates with higher wages. With a Mincerian equation, the analysis finds that migrants earn premiums with respect to non-migrants, except for those migrants with low education levels. The aggregate labor statistics reveal lower unemployment rates among migrants, a phenomenon that is verified by an employment equation. According to the econometric results, migrants are more likely to be employed, even after controlling for other observable individual characteristics. Finally, the paper estimates a Probit model for the decision to migrate, finding that more educated individuals are more likely to migrate, agricultural workers have a lower probability of migrating, and individuals from governorates in which food production for own consumption is higher are less likely to migrate. These results suggest that low educational attainment and the"food problem", which ties resources to food production to meet subsistence requirements, are at the root of low migration in Egypt.
    Keywords: Population Policies,Voluntary and Involuntary Resettlement,Human Migrations&Resettlements,Anthropology,Gender and Development
    Date: 2012–08–01
  16. By: Al-Shawarby, Sherine; Selim, Hoda
    Abstract: This paper examines whether domestic inflation spikes in Egypt during 2001-2011 were primarily the result of external food price shocks. To estimate the pass-through of international food price inflation to domestic price inflation, two different methodologies are used: a two-step regression model estimates the pass-through in the long run, and a vector autoregression model provides the short-run estimates. The empirical evidence confirms that pass-through is high in the short term, but not in the long run. More precisely, the results show that (i) long-run pass-through to domestic food inflation is relatively low, lying between 13 and 16 percent, while the long-term spill-over from domestic food inflation to core inflation is moderate, lying around 60 percent; (ii) in the short term, pass-through is relatively high, estimated around 29 percent after 6 months and around two-thirds after a year, but the spill-over effect to core inflation is limited; (iii) international food price shocks explain only a small portion of domestic inflation shocks in both the short and long terms; and (iv) international price inflation has asymmetric effects on domestic prices.
    Keywords: Food&Beverage Industry,Markets and Market Access,Currencies and Exchange Rates,Emerging Markets,Access to Markets
    Date: 2012–08–01
  17. By: S. Boragan Aruoba; Cagri Sarikaya
    Abstract: Bu calismada, Turkiye’de is cevrimlerinin tarihsel muhasebesinin yani sira gercek-zamanli analizi icin duzenli olarak guncellenebilecek aylik bir reel iktisadi faaliyet gostergesi turetilmistir. Bircok makroiktisadi degiskenin etkilesimi ve ortak hareketini yansitan is cevrimleri gozlenmeyen bir bilesen olarak tanimlanmis ve farkli frekansta gozlenen bir grup degisken ile iliskilendirilerek bir dinamik faktor modeli cercevesinde tahmin edilmistir. Faktor tahmini kullanilarak bir durgunluk gostergesi olusturulmus ve 1987-2011 arasinda yasanan calkanti/krizler derinlik itibariyla karsilastirilmistir. Orneklem sonlarinin yuksek belirsizlik icermesi durgunluk donemlerinin gercek-zamanli tespitini zorlastirirken, ileriye donuk politika uygulamasinda zamanli bilginin onemini ortaya koymustur.
    Keywords: Is cevrimi, Genisleme, Daralma, Durgunluk, Dinamik faktor modeli, Gozlenmeyen bilesen, Durum uzay modeli, Makroiktisadi tahmin, Gercek-zaman analizi
    JEL: C01 C22 E32 E37
    Date: 2012
  18. By: Glenn Jenkins (Queen's University, Canada and Eastern Mediterranean University, Cyprus); Andrey Klevchuk (Queen's University, Kingston, Canada)
    Abstract: The proposed El Kureimat Plant (module II) project is one of 19 new generation plants that the public electrical utility of Egypt plans to setup over its current planning horizon of 2005-2012. This paper reports on an integrated investment appraisal of the project. The project involves the construction of a 750 MW (2x250 MW gas turbine and 1x250 MW steam turbine) combine cycle power plant in the premises of the existing El Kureimat Power Station. The estimated total cost of the investment is 271.1 million Euros in nominal prices. The project, when completed, will provide 750 MW of additional capacity to the unified power system (UPS) in 2009. The proposed project is expected to save a substantial amount of natural gas for the state-controlled gas utility, which will be able to export the gas and earn foreign exchange for the Government.
    Keywords: thermal electricity, generation plants, combine cycle power plant, Egypt Integrated Appraisal.
    JEL: H43

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