nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2013‒11‒14
six papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
University of Ottawa

  1. Inflation and Inflation Uncertainty: Evidence from Turkey, 1923–2012 By dogru, bulent
  2. Returns to Foreign Language Skills in a Developing Country: The Case of Turkey By Di Paolo, Antonio; Tansel, Aysit
  3. "Financial crisis, monetary policy reform and the monetary transmission mechanism in Turkey" By James L. Butkiewicz; Zeliha Ozdogan
  4. SME contributions to employment, job creation, and growth in the Arab world By Nasr, Sahar; Rostom, Ahmed
  5. Women’s Education: Harbinger of Another Spring? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Turkey By Mehmet Alper Dinçer; Neeraj Kaushal; Michael Grossman
  6. Ration Cards in Egypt: Targeting, Leakage, and Costs By Hebatallah Ghoneim

  1. By: dogru, bulent
    Abstract: In this study, relationship between inflation and inflation uncertainty is analyzed using Granger causality tests with annual inflation series covering the time period 1923 to 2012 for Turkish Economy. Inflation uncertainty is measured by Exponential Generalized Autoregressive Conditional Heteroskedastic model. Econometric findings suggest that although in long run the Friedman's hypothesis that high inflation increases inflation uncertainty is strongly supported, in short run the Holland hypothesis proposing that the increase in the inflation uncertainty decreases inflation is also supported for Turkish Economy. We also make analysis for subsample periods selected due to the major policy changes in Turkish economic history. The causality between inflation and inflation uncertainty in these subsample periods is mixed and depends on time period analyzed.
    Keywords: Inflation Uncertainty, Conditional Variance, Granger Causality, Exponential Generalized Autoregressive Conditional Heteroskedastic Model
    JEL: C32 E31
    Date: 2013–06–14
  2. By: Di Paolo, Antonio; Tansel, Aysit
    Abstract: Foreign language skills represent a form of human capital that can be rewarded in the labor market. Drawing on data from the Adult Education Survey of 2007, this is the first study estimating returns to foreign language skills in Turkey. We contribute to the literature on the economic value of language knowledge, with a special focus on a country characterized by fast economic and social development. Although English is the most widely spoken foreign language in Turkey, we initially consider the economic value of different foreign languages among the employed males aged 25 to 65. We find positive and significant returns to proficiency in English and Russian, which increase with the level of competence. Knowledge of French and German also appears to be positively rewarded in the Turkish labor market, although their economic value seems mostly linked to an increased likelihood to hold specific occupations rather than increased earnings within occupations. Focusing on English, we also explore the heterogeneity in returns to different levels of proficiency by frequency of English use at work, birth-cohort, education, occupation and rural/urban location. The results are also robust to the endogenous specification of English language skills.
    Keywords: : Foreign Languages, Returns to Skills, Heterogeneity, Turkey
    JEL: I2 I21 J3 J31
    Date: 2013–11–03
  3. By: James L. Butkiewicz (Department of Economics,University of Delaware); Zeliha Ozdogan (Research and Statistics,SBT ANALYSIS)
    Abstract: Turkey experienced a financial crisis in 2000-2001 that led to significant financial reforms. The reforms resulted in a switch to a floating exchange rate, granted greater central bank independence and pursuit of a more credible monetary policy. Investigation of the channels of monetary policy in both periods finds that monetary policy's output effects have been strengthened considerable by the reforms. In the pre-crisis period monetary policy was highly inflationary, while in the post-crisis period, monetary policy targets low inflation and has become a tool for output stabilization. These results support the importance of central bank independence and a credible policy.
    Keywords: Financial Crisis, monetary policy, monetary transmission, Turkey
    JEL: J16 J30 J31 J70 J71
    Date: 2013
  4. By: Nasr, Sahar; Rostom, Ahmed
    Abstract: Recent economic and political developments have highlighted a challenge shared across the Arab region of generating employment, promoting inclusive growth, and improving competitiveness. In the short run, weakened macroeconomic fundamentals in the developing economies of the Middle East and North Africa are a key challenge. The region's main challenge is to achieve sustainable growth that delivers the quantity and quality of jobs needed. An inclusive and competitive private sector has proven to be one of the most effective and long-term solutions for this challenge. This paper provides an analytical framework to diagnose and identify key challenges to the growth of small and medium enterprises that is supported by a quantitative model based on the World Bank's Enterprise Surveys database. The findings reconfirm that the route to a sustained role for small and medium enterprises in job creation requires improving the credibility of reforms, the effectiveness of policies, and equitable enforcement. Although one size fits all is infeasible for Arab countries, it is important to design policies across sectors to create productive employment and promote economic growth. Supporting innovation and enhancing access to finance are central to the development agenda for small and medium enterprises. And creating an enabling environment and setting up accountable institutions are key to ensure equal opportunity and inclusive growth.
    Keywords: Access to Finance,Environmental Economics&Policies,Labor Markets,Microfinance,Labor Policies
    Date: 2013–10–01
  5. By: Mehmet Alper Dinçer; Neeraj Kaushal; Michael Grossman
    Abstract: We use the 1997 Education Law in Turkey that increased compulsory formal schooling from five to eight years to study the effect of women’s education on a range of outcomes relating to women’s fertility, their children’s health and measures of empowerment. We apply an instrumental variables methodology and find that a 10 percentage point increase in the proportion of ever married women with eight years of schooling lowered number of pregnancies per woman by 0.13 and number of children per women by 0.11. There is also some evidence of a decline in child mortality, caused by mother’s education, but effects turn statistically insignificant in our preferred models. We also find that a 10 percentage point increase in the proportion with eight years of schooling raised the proportion of women using modern family planning methods by eight to nine percent and the proportion of women with knowledge of their ovulation cycle by five to seven percent. However, we find little evidence that schooling changed women’s attitudes towards gender equality.
    JEL: I1 I24 I25 J12 J13 J16
    Date: 2013–10
  6. By: Hebatallah Ghoneim (Faculty of Management Technology, The German University in Cairo)
    Abstract: Huge public deficits set a restructuring of the subsidy system at the forefront of Egyptian public policy reforms. This generates a great tension to the government specially that a quarter of the population is living in poverty and relies on food subsidies. As a compromise, the government has introduced a number of reforms in order to stop a further increase of the subsidy costs and to reduce the inefficiency of the system. One of the core elements of the reforms was the introduction of the smart ration card in 2010. Three years after the introduction, this economic policy paper assesses the success of this reform by assessing the targeting effect, the leakage situation, and the cost effectiveness of the smart ration card. The analysis is based on a number of interviews and on a questionnaire, which was distributed in the Cairo region.
    Keywords: Food subsidy, social safety net, ration card, poverty, Egypt
    JEL: I38 H71 O23
    Date: 2013–10

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