nep-ara New Economics Papers
on Arab World
Issue of 2013‒04‒06
three papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. From authoritarianism to upheaval : the political economy of the Syrian uprising and regime persistence By Darwisheh, Housam
  2. Could informality be the solution? An instrumental variable approach on the informality of M/SE in Egypt By Nesma Magdi
  3. The Dynamics of Lobbying under Uncertainty: On Political Liberalization in Arab Countries By Raouf Boucekkine; Fabien Prieur; Klarizze Puzon

  1. By: Darwisheh, Housam
    Abstract: The ensuing bloodshed and deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Syria, the failure of the United Nations Security Council to reach a consensus on what action to take, and the involvement of contending external actors partially reflect the complexity of the current impasse. Despite the importance of regional and international factors, however, this papers attempts to argue that the domestic dynamics of the Syrian crisis have been vitally important in determining the course of the popular uprising and the regime’s response. In this, Syria’s crisis belongs with the Arab Spring the trajectories and prospects of which have been shaped by dynamics within regimes. It will be seen that the formal and informal institutional structure of the Ba‘thist regime in Syria has been critical to its resilience and ability to stay united so far while attempting to crush a peaceful popular uprising that turned into insurgency in the face of the regime’s violent crackdown.
    Keywords: Syria, Politics, Political system, Internal conflicts, Political economy, Regime cohesion
    Date: 2013–02
  2. By: Nesma Magdi (UP1 UFR02 - Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne - UFR d'Économie - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    Abstract: The expansion of the informal sector constitutes one of the major issues in Egypt. Yet, micro and small enterprises (M/SEs) proved their important role on the social and economic level, but most of them are running on an informal basis. That's why this paper tries to estimate the impact of informality on the performance of M/SEs. Relying on an instrumental variable approach, the results showed that the higher is the probability of operating in the formal sector, the higher is the productivity of the firm. This effect is subject to the realization of a specific channel, which accounts for the characteristics of the firm, the entrepreneur and all the constraints faced by the firm. These findings highlight the importance of formalization policies to reduce the expansion of the informal sector.
    Keywords: Égypte, productivité, économie souterraine, micro-entreprises
    Date: 2012–06
  3. By: Raouf Boucekkine (AMSE - Aix-Marseille School of Economics - Aix-Marseille Univ. - Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - Ecole Centrale Marseille (ECM), IRES-CORE - Université Catholique de Louvain); Fabien Prieur (LAMETA - Laboratoire Montpelliérain d'Économie Théorique et Appliquée - Université Montpellier I - CNRS : UMR5474 - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) : UR1135 - Centre international de hautes études agronomiques méditerranéennes [CIHEAM]); Klarizze Puzon (LAMETA - Laboratoire Montpelliérain d'Économie Théorique et Appliquée - Université Montpellier I - CNRS : UMR5474 - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) : UR1135 - Centre international de hautes études agronomiques méditerranéennes [CIHEAM])
    Abstract: We consider a framework à la Wirl (1994) where political liberalization is the outcome of a lobbying differential game between a conservative elite and a reformist group, the former player pushing against political liberalization in opposition to the latter. In contrast to the benchmark model, we introduce uncertainty. We consider the typical case of an Arab oil exporter country where oil rents are fiercely controlled by the conservative elite. We assume that the higher the oil rents, the more reluctant to political liberalization the elite is. Two states of nature are considered (high vs low resource rents). We then compute the Market-perfect equilibria of the corresponding piecewise deterministic differential game. It is shown that introducing uncertainty in this manner increases the set of strategies compared to Wirl's original setting. In particular, it is shown that the cost of lobbying might be significantly increased under uncertainty with respect to the benchmark. This ultimately highlights some specificities of the political liberalization at stake in Arab countries and the associated risks.
    Keywords: Rent-seeking ; lobbying ; natural resources ; Arab countries ; piecewise deterministic differential games
    Date: 2013–03

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