nep-ara New Economics Papers
on Arab World
Issue of 2012‒10‒06
six papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. The Political Economy of Regional Power: Turkey under the AKP By André Bank; Roy Karadag
  2. Political Change in the Middle East: An Attempt to Analyze the “Arab Spring” By Martin Beck; Simone Hüser
  3. Tackling Turkey's External and Domestic Macroeconomic Imbalances By Oliver Röhn; Rauf Gönenç; Vincent Koen; Ramazan Karaşahin
  4. Factor Accumulation and the Determinants of TFP in the GCC By Raphael Espinoza
  5. Government Spending, Subsidies and Economic Efficiency in the GCC By Raphael Espinoza
  6. Detecting Islamic Calendar Effects on U.S. Meat Consumption: Is the Muslim Population Larger than Widely Assumed? By Moayedi, Vafa

  1. By: André Bank (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies); Roy Karadag (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies)
    Abstract: In 2006/2007 Turkey became a regional power in the Middle East, a status it has continued to maintain in the context of the Arab Spring. To understand why Turkey only became a regional power under the Muslim AKP government and why this happened at the specific point in time that it did, the paper highlights the self-reinforcing dynamics between Turkey’s domestic political-economic transformation in the first decade of this century and the advantageous regional developments in the Middle East at the same time. It concludes that this specific linkage – the “Ankara Moment” – and its regional resonance in the neighboring Middle East carries more transformative potential than the “Washington Consensus” or the “Beijing Consensus” so prominently discussed in current Global South politics.
    Keywords: regional power, political economy, Turkey, AKP, Middle East
    Date: 2012–09
  2. By: Martin Beck (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies); Simone Hüser (Konrad Adenauer Stiftung)
    Abstract: This article deals with the Arab Spring as a process of deep political change in the Arab world, previously the only major world area where authoritarianism persisted unchallenged for decades. While in various countries of the Arab world mass protests in 2011 forced rulers to resign, other authoritarian regimes have – despite political and economic pressure – so far been able to remain in power, or have even been only insignificantly affected. This paper applies central social science approaches in order to analyze recent developments in the region – a major task of theoretically oriented social sciences in the coming years. In addition to providing an overview of the existing literature on the Arab Spring, the article examines the empirical results of political diversification in the Arab world. A two-by-two matrix of political rule that differentiates according to the type of rule and the degree of stability is presented and discussed. Although the analysis draws heavily on rent theory, it also applies findings from transition theory and revolution theory to illuminate the current political dynamics in the Middle East.
    Keywords: Arab Spring, Middle East, rent theory, revolution theory, transition theory, democratization, authoritarianism, political and economic liberalization
    Date: 2012–08
  3. By: Oliver Röhn; Rauf Gönenç; Vincent Koen; Ramazan Karaşahin
    Abstract: Effective macroeconomic and structural policies helped Turkey bounce back quickly and strongly from the global crisis, with annual growth averaging close to 9% over 2010-11. However, the current account deficit widened to around 10% of GDP in 2011 and consumer price inflation rose to over 10%. The external deficit, which is far too large for comfort, is a source of vulnerability. So is high inflation, even if it partly reflects transient factors. These imbalances signal competitiveness problems and a dearth of domestic saving. They need to be addressed using both macroeconomic and structural policy levers. Monetary policy has recently tried to reduce the volatility of capital flows but inflation has been high and volatile. The inflation target needs to be given greater prominence. The fiscal stance remains broadly appropriate but could be tighter, if warranted, to complement monetary restraint and help keep the real exchange rate on a sustainable path. More balanced growth through strengthened competitiveness and greater private saving calls inter alia for increased labour force participation, accelerated formalisation, stronger productivity growth, improvements in financial literacy and a more attractive menu of saving instruments. Improvements in the business environment would spur foreign direct investment, making for healthier funding of the external gap. This Working Paper relates to the 2012 OECD Economic Survey of Turkey (<P>Corriger les déséquilibres macroéconomiques externes et internes en Turquie<BR>Des politiques macroéconomiques et structurelles efficaces ont permis à l’économie turque de sortir rapidement de la crise mondiale, avec une croissance annuelle moyenne proche de 9 % en 2010-11. Néanmoins, le déficit de la balance des opérations courantes s'est creusé pour atteindre près de 10 % du PIB en 2011, alors que la hausse des prix à la consommation a dépassé les 10 %. Le déficit extérieur constitue une source de vulnérabilité. Cela vaut également pour le taux d'inflation, même s'il est en partie imputable à des facteurs transitoires. Ces déséquilibres sont révélateurs de problèmes de compétitivité et d'une pénurie d'épargne intérieure. Il faut y remédier en s'appuyant à la fois sur les politiques macroéconomiques et structurelles. Les autorités monétaires se sont efforcées de réduire l’instabilité des flux de capitaux, mais l'inflation est restée élevée et fluctuante. Une plus grande importance doit être attachée à l'objectif d'inflation. L’orientation budgétaire reste à peu près satisfaisante, mais pourrait devoir être resserrée, au besoin, pour compléter la politique de restriction monétaire et contribuer au maintien du taux de change réel sur une trajectoire viable. Une croissance plus équilibrée reposant sur une compétitivité renforcée et une augmentation de l'épargne passe, entre autres, par une hausse du taux d'activité, la réduction de l'économie informelle, la croissance de la productivité, l'éducation financière et la mise en place d'une palette plus attrayante d'instruments d'épargne. Une amélioration de l'environnement des entreprises stimulerait l'investissement direct étranger, ce qui permettrait une couverture plus saine des besoins de financement extérieur. Ce Document de travail se rapporte à l’Étude économique de l’OCDE de la Turquie, 2012 (
    Keywords: fiscal policy, monetary policy, competitiveness, Turkey, current account, saving, financial market policy, politique budgétaire, politique monétaire, compétitivité, Turquie, épargne, politique des marchés financiers
    JEL: E2 E3 E44 E52 E62 F32 F41 G18 O11 O52
    Date: 2012–09–13
  4. By: Raphael Espinoza
    Abstract: GDP growth in the GCC has been considerably higher than in advanced economies or other oil exporters since 1986. The paper shows that the GCC countries have swiftly accumulated large stocks of physical capital but the population increase and the shift away from oil meant that capital intensity actually decreased or remained roughtly constant. On teh other hand, the efforts that have been made to improve human capital would have had positive effects on growth though educational attainment remains below what is achieved by countries with similar levels of income. A growth accounting exercise suggests as a result that the development of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia was hampered by declining TFP, while TFP growth in Qatar and the UAE would have been low. One potential explanation is that the kind of capital that has been accumulated in the region (aircraft, computer equipment, electrical equipment) is not fully productive because the labor force is not educated enough. The paper also discusses the lessons from the impirical growth literature for the GCC. The poor quality of institutions and the large size of government consumption, both of which ar possile symptoms of a resource curse, could explain the disappointing TFP growth.
    Keywords: Gult Cooperation Council, Growth Accounting, Middle East and North Africa, Resource Curse
    JEL: O43 O53
    Date: 2012
  5. By: Raphael Espinoza
    Abstract: Public investment and subsidies are typically inefficient but in the GCC these are crucial engines of growth. Subsidies are also used to redistribute oil windfalls in the region, and the problem of a government that wants to 'distribute' oil money is a problem fully symmetric to the one analyzed by Ramsey (1927) of optimal taxation. The second-best policy (when lump-sum transfers are not available) is to use subsidies across a wide range of goos (as opposed to the focus on energy chosen by the GCC). In addtion, the 'inverse' Ramsey model implies that commodities for which demand is least elastic to prices should be subsidized at higher rates. This suggests subsidizing basic needs at higher rates, in particular food, healthcare and education. In addition, when subsidies are very large, they create additional distortions because households prefer to queue for subsidies (e.g. public service jobs, subsidized mortgages in Saudi Arabia) rather than participate in private markets. As an example, we draw a model where recruitment of public servants can induce a large diincentive to take private sector positions and compute the conditions under which the disincentive is so strong that overall employment is actually decreased as public servants are being hired.
    Keywords: Gulf Cooperation Council, Middle East and North Africa, Resource Curse
    JEL: Q32 Q38 O53
    Date: 2012
  6. By: Moayedi, Vafa
    Abstract: By employing a parsimonious econometric approach, based on an ARIMA model, this study detects significant Islamic calendar effects on U.S. meat consumption. This surprising finding strengthens the assumption that the size of the Muslim community is considerably larger than assumed by U.S. authorities and NGOs. This study fills a gap in the existing literature which has not addressed this issue with such an approach before. Furthermore, this study suggests considering Islamic festivities for the seasonal adjustment of U.S. time series data.
    Keywords: ARIMA; Calendar Effects; Islamic Festivities; Muslims; Seasonal Adjustment
    JEL: E27 C22
    Date: 2012–03–03

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