nep-ara New Economics Papers
on Arab World
Issue of 2013‒04‒20
seven papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. Empirical Analysis of The EKC Hypothesis for Sulfur Dioxide Emissions in Selected Middle East and North African Countries By AROURI, Mohamed El Hedi; BEN YOUSSEF, Adel; M'HENNI, Hatem; Rault, Christophe
  2. Skill-Biased Technological Change and Skill-Enhancing Trade in Turkey: Evidence from Longitudinal Microdata By Srour, Ilina; Taymaz, Erol; Vivarelli, Marco
  3. The Economics of the Arab Spring By Adeel Malik; Bassem Awadallah
  4. Are Technoparks High Tech Fantasies? Lessons from the Tunisian Experience By Mhenni, Hatem; Ben Youssef, Adel; Elaheebocus, N; Ragni, Ludovic
  5. Financial Markets Integration of Iran Within the Middle East and with the Rest of the World By Parinaz Ezzati
  6. Le retour des migrants marocains dans leur pays d’origine, quand ? Dans quelles circonstances ? By Bouoiyour, Jamal
  7. Firm size distribution and exporting behaviour: an empirical analysis of power-law behaviour of turkish firms By Cansin Pek

  1. By: AROURI, Mohamed El Hedi; BEN YOUSSEF, Adel; M'HENNI, Hatem; Rault, Christophe
    Abstract: Studying the impact of economic growth on the environment in the context of developing countries has become of increasing economic importance in recent years. Alarming international reports showed that pollutants emissions are growing at their highest level ever, particularly in the South. This study implements recent bootstrap panel unit root tests and cointegration techniques to investigate the relationship between Sulfur dioxide emissions and real GDP for 12 MENA countries over the period 1981–2005. Our investigations lead to the result that no evidence is found for the EKC for 10 country of the region. However EKC is valid for the case of Egypt and Tunisia which are the most industrialised and diversified economies in our sample. At the same time our finding showed that EKC is not valid for the region when token as a whole.
    Keywords: Environmental Kuznets Curve, Sulfur Dioxide emissions, Economic Growth, panel data, MENA countries
    JEL: O11 Q0 Q28
    Date: 2012
  2. By: Srour, Ilina (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Taymaz, Erol (Middle East Technical University); Vivarelli, Marco (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)
    Abstract: This paper explores the causes of skill-based employment differentials within the Turkish manufacturing sector over the period 1980-2001. Turkey is taken as an example of a developing economy that, in that period, had been technologically advancing and becoming increasingly integrated with the world market. The empirical analysis is performed at firm level within a dynamic framework using a two-equation model that depicts the employment trends for skilled and unskilled workers separately. In particular, the System Generalized Method of Moments (GMM-SYS) procedure is applied to a panel dataset comprised of 17,462 firms. Our results confirm the theoretical expectation that developing countries face the phenomena of skill-biased technological change and skill-enhancing technology import, both leading to increasing the employment gap between skilled and unskilled workers. In particular, strong evidence of a relative skill bias emerges: both domestic and imported technologies increase the demand for skilled labor 5 to 6 times more than the corresponding demand for the unskilled labor. Finally, "learning by export" also appears to have a skill biased impact, but to a lesser extent.
    Keywords: skill-biased technological change, technology transfer, panel data, GMM-SYS
    JEL: F16 O33
    Date: 2013–03
  3. By: Adeel Malik; Bassem Awadallah
    Abstract: This article explores the economic underpinnings of the Arab spring. We locate the roots of the region’s long-term economic failure in a statist model of development that is financed through external windfalls and rests on inefficient forms of intervention and redistribution. We argue that the rising cost of repression and redistribution is calling into question the long-term sustainability of this development model. A singular failure of the Arab world is that it has been unable to develop a private sector that is independent, competitive and integrated with global markets. We argue that developing such a private sector is both a political as well as a regional challenge. In so far as the private sector generates incomes that are independent of the rent streams controlled by the state and can pose a direct political challenge, it is viewed as a threat. And, the Arab world’s economic fragmentation into isolated geographic units further undermines the prospects for private sector development. We explain this economic fragmentation as a manifestation of centralized and segmented administrative structures. Revisiting the politics and geo-politics of regional trade, we argue that overcoming regional economic barriers constitutes the single most important collective action problem that the region has faced since the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
    Keywords: Arab spring, fragmentation, regional trade, protectionism
    JEL: D74 O15 Q34
    Date: 2012
  4. By: Mhenni, Hatem; Ben Youssef, Adel; Elaheebocus, N; Ragni, Ludovic
    Abstract: The objective of this article is to contribute to the debate on the effectiveness of Technoparks (TP) in developing and emerging economies using the example of Tunisia. This article is based on a thorough desk review and informal interviews with TP entrepreneurs and managers in Tunisia. Setting up “ex-nihilo” ten TPs in Tunisia in the mid-1990s was a political decision. Having signed the Treaty of Marrakesh to enter in a Free Trade Zone with Arab Countries in 1989, and being the first Mediterranean country to enter in a free trade area with the EU in 1995, Tunisia needed to boost its productivity and competitiveness both within the EU and with other Arab states. As a response Technoparks started burgeoning in an attempt to address new economic challenges such as demand for highly skilled labour, jobs for youth, economic diversification, capturing the dividend of new technologies, and boosting regional development. In 1997, Tunisia set up El Ghazela -a competitive Technopark in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Six other TPs followed suit in various priority areas like biotechnology, energy, and agri-business which are still in progress. Tunisia’s eleventh development plan programmed for an additional three TPs in the south and in the west of the country. Of the ten TPs only El-Ghazala is effective. A key success factor was the interaction between government, higher education institutions and multinationals as well as the diaspora which played a crucial role in attracting multinationals. They also effectively linked Tunisian start-up companies to the international value chain of production. El-Ghazala had access to a critical mass of highly skilled researchers and a local labour market. The other TPs failed to put in place some of these necessary prerequisites. This article shows that setting up ten TPs in a small developing country like Tunisia was quite unrealistic. A better strategy would have been to concentrate on three or four specific centres of excellence such as performing universities or industrial zones and leverage the diaspora more effectively.
    Keywords: Technoparks, Centers of Excellence, Science, Technology and Innovation, Research and Development spillovers, Industrial Policy, Tunisia
    JEL: O30 O31
    Date: 2013–01
  5. By: Parinaz Ezzati (Business School, University of Western Australia)
    Abstract: It is widely argued that Iran’s financial markets are effectively isolated from the rest of the world. To see whether this argument is true and to better understand Iran’s financial development, financial interdependencies of Iran within the Middle East and with the rest of the world are estimated. Monthly financial data from equity, money and foreign exchange markets is applied over 12 years; and integration of each of these markets is analysed in turn. To begin with, testing for stationarity using tests for a unit root in presence of breaks is undertaken. The series are found to contain different orders of integration, a situation that leads to the use an ARDL to test for cointegration. It is found that Iran is not fully integrated nor completely segregated from the rest of the world, thus the question as to whether Iran should be considered as a good choice for international portfolio diversification is controversial.
    Date: 2012
  6. By: Bouoiyour, Jamal
    Abstract: The aim of this study was to identify the causes of the return of Moroccan migrants to their home country. We will use for it a very original database of migrants from Morocco. The data were collected via a survey from the main post offices of Ile-de-France (metropolitan area) and Province. Using a probit model, our results show that some migrants have a higher propensity to return back to their home country if they are single (or divorced), young men, have modest incomes (between 1500 and 2000 €) and level of educational attainment (less than the baccalaureate level), send money regularly to their family living in Morocco and having accumulated money in the host country from previous investment in the home country; or student.
    Keywords: Moroccan migration, return migration, remittances
    JEL: F22 F24
    Date: 2013–01
  7. By: Cansin Pek (UP1 UFR02 - Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne - UFR d'Économie - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    Abstract: A general equilibrium model of international trade with heterogeneous firms, under the assumption that the distribution of productivity across firms is Pareto, delivers systematically diff erent power law exponents for exporting and non-exporting firms. In this setup, the presence of international trade systematically a ffects the firm size distribution to make it more heavy-tailed. This model predicts that the power law exponent for exporters should be strictly lower in absolute value than the power law exponent for non-exporters. Following the propositions made in the literature, we estimate the power law exponent for a large sample of Turkish firms. We also question the applicability of the OLS regression in the context of power law estimation and provide maximum likelihood estimates, which have been proven to be consistent and effi cient in this context. Along with the maximum likelihood estimates, we also provide the CDF and ln(Rank-1/2)-ln(size) estimates. Our results provide supporting evidence for the theoretical predictions, according to which the distribution of firm size has heavier tails due to exporting behaviour.
    Keywords: commerce extérieur, entreprises, Turquie
    Date: 2012–06

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