nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2014‒06‒14
eleven papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
University of Ottawa

  1. Migration of international students and mobilizing skills in the MENA Region By Nour S.
  2. Challenges and opportunities for transition to knowledge-based economy in Arab Gulf countries By Nour S.
  3. The Relationship between Inflation Targeting and Exchange Rate Pass-Through in Turkey with a Model Averaging Approach By Ferhat Arslaner; Dogan Karaman; Nuran Arslaner; Suleyman Hilmi Kal
  4. Public and private regulation of sanitary risks in fresh produce marketing chains: the case of Morocco and Turkey By Jean Marie Codron; Hakan Hadanacioglu; Magali Aubert; Zouhair Bouhsina; Abdelkader Ait El Mekki; Sylvain Rousset; Selma Tozanli; Murat Yercan
  5. Transition to knowledge-based economy in Saudi Arabia By Nour S.
  6. Dependence patterns across Gulf Arab stock markets: a copula approach By Syed Abul, Basher; Salem, Nechi; Hui, Zhu
  7. How is environmental awareness expressed in our eating habits? By Sophie-Anne Sauvegrain; Fatiha Fort
  8. Food security and storage in the Middle East and North Africa By Donald F. Larson; Julian Lampietti; Christophe Gouel; Carlo Cafiero; John Roberts
  9. Infrastructure and the international export performance of Turkish regions By Celbis M.G.; Nijkamp P.; Poot J.
  10. Cross Sectional Facts on Bank Balance Sheets over the Business Cycle By Osman Furkan Abbasoglu; Serife Genc; Yasin Mimir
  11. Pression sur les ressources naturelles agricoles et enjeux de développement durable en Méditerranée : l’impératif d’une stratégie régionale intégrée By Foued Cheriet

  1. By: Nour S. (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: This paper uses both the descriptive and comparative approaches to provide an overview of migration of international students from the Middle East and North Africa MENA region and mobilizing skills in the MENA Region. We fill the gap in the MENA literature and present a more comprehensive and updated analysis of migration of international students from the MENA region. Our findings support the first hypothesis that the number of international students from the MENA region increased substantially over the past years. Our results corroborate the second hypothesis that international students from the MENA region are concentrated in few countries. Our findings support the third hypothesis that skills of international students can be better mobilized in their countries of origin by addressing the push-pull factors that determine migration of skills from the MENA region. Keywords migration, international students mobility, mobilizing skills, MENA region
    Keywords: Education and Economic Development; Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies: General; Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers;
    JEL: J60 J61 I25
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Nour S. (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: This paper uses the descriptive and comparative approaches and uses the OECD 1996 definition of knowledge-based economy, the World Bank Knowledge Index and Knowledge Economy Index and other indicators to examine progress and challenges in transition to knowledge-based economies in Arab Gulf countries. We fill the gap in the Gulf literature and present more comprehensive analysis of progress and challenges impedes transition to knowledge-based economies in Arab Gulf countries. Our findings support the first hypothesis concerning relative progress in transition to knowledge-based economies in Arab Gulf countries. Our results corroborate the second hypothesis that transition to knowledge-based economies faces several challenges in Arab Gulf countries. Our findings support the third hypothesis concerning variation in transition to knowledge based economies across Arab Gulf countries. Therefore, it is essential for Arab Gulf countries to implement sound and coherent policies to enhance transition to knowledge based economy in Arab Gulf countries. Keywords Knowledge, knowledge index, knowledge-based economy, Arab Gulf countries
    Keywords: Economic Development: General; Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development; Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights: General;
    JEL: O10 O11 O30
    Date: 2014
  3. By: Ferhat Arslaner; Dogan Karaman; Nuran Arslaner; Suleyman Hilmi Kal
    Abstract: Turkey, as an emerging economy, has a unique experience regarding to the relationship between the rate of inflation and the exchange rate. As opposed to developed countries, the effects of exchange rate fluctuations are felt significantly on inflation dynamics and these fluctuations also influence many other macroeconomic variables via different channels with different magnitudes in developing countries. Therefore, the main concern of the paper, which is to evaluate the exchange rate pass-through (ERPT), has an important role in the success of inflation targeting regime. Using correlation coefficients between exchange rates and inflation differentials, single equation regressions, vector auto-regressions (VAR) and Markov switching regression methods; the determinants of ERPT to producer and consumer prices are quantitatively analyzed between January 1986 and August 2013. Error correction models are used to estimate the exchange rate pass-through. According to the estimation results, it is found that, similar to other developing countries, there is a substantial degree of ERPT for Turkey the greater part of which is realized almost instantaneously. Comparing to the studies on industrial countries, it is found that ERPT is higher but there are additional transmission channels just like the other emerging economies. The higher degree of ERPT in Turkey is found in those studies conducted for industrialized countries implies that there are additional transmission channels for Turkey. ERPT for producer price-index-based inflation is found to be higher than for consumer-price-index-based inflation. We also found that the degree of ERPT increases as the data frequency falls. We also determined an asymmetry in pricing behavior : while exchange rates increase, this increase is passed on to prices, yet decreases in exchange rates. Estimation results also indicate that the main factors contributing to high pass-through are past currency crises and the high degree of openness of the economy. These factors are the basis for the indexation behavior of agents. Although, the aforementioned factors are the main determinants of the degree of exchange rate pass-through, the persistency and the volatility of exchange rates can significantly affect the short run dynamics of the pass-through. The results also imply that, even if the pass-through slows down due to changing pattern of exchange rates, in order to achieve a low and stable inflation in the long run, fundamental factors that exacerbate the link between exchange rates and prices should change. Another crucial point is that according to Markov switching regression results of ERPT coefficients of domestic prices, the exchange rate pass-through coefficients vary significantly between different states.
    Keywords: Monetary Policy, Inflation Targeting, Exchange Rate Pass-Through, Vector Autogression, Markov Switching Regression
    JEL: C22 C87 E30 E31 E59
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Jean Marie Codron (Marchés, Organisations, Institutions et Stratégies d'Acteurs, INRA); Hakan Hadanacioglu (Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Economics, Ege university); Magali Aubert (Marchés, Organisations, Institutions et Stratégies d'Acteurs, INRA); Zouhair Bouhsina (Marchés, Organisations, Institutions et Stratégies d'Acteurs, INRA); Abdelkader Ait El Mekki (National School of Agiculture); Sylvain Rousset (UR ADBX, Institut National de Recherche en Sciences et Technologies pour l'Environnement et l'Agriculture); Selma Tozanli (Marchés, Organisations, Institutions et Stratégies d'Acteurs, INRA; Centre International de Hautes Etudes Agronomiques Méditerranéennes); Murat Yercan (Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Economics, Ege university)
    Abstract: Chemical contamination of fresh produce through pesticide spraying is considered a minor risk for consumer health. As a result, a high proportion of safety controls may be delegated to the private sector by public agencies. Private control is even greater when fresh produce is sold to safety-conscious consumers, given the high exposure of retailers' commercial reputations. Performed within the framework of the European project Sustainmed, our paper is a case study of public and private management and control of safety risks and the determinants thereof in the fresh produce industry of two contrasting Mediterranean countries: Morocco and Turkey. Based on expert surveys and face-to-face interviews with a high number of tomato growers, it provides an insight into the factors influencing the role of the different players in managing and controlling safety risks. A clear distinction is made between the individual parameters at growing and shipping levels and country-wide parameters at the market and institutional level. Both categories of parameters significantly influence the level of safety management at production level (IPM schemes and GAP certificates) and help understand the respective contributions of public and private operators in the safety risk management of the whole system.
    Keywords: food safety, pesticide, integrated pest management, IPM, good agricultural practices, GAP, private regulation, vertical organization, fresh vegetables, turquie, marocpesticide, sécurité des alimentsgestion de risques, intégration verticale, fruit, légume, produit fraissécurité sanitaire, pratique agricolerégulation
    Date: 2013
  5. By: Nour S. (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: This paper discusses the progress in transition to knowledge-based economy in Saudi Arabia. As for the methodology, this paper uses updated secondary data obtained from different sources. It uses both descriptive and comparative approaches and uses the OECD definition of knowledge-based economy and the World Bank Knowledge Index KI and Knowledge Economy Index KEI and other indicators often used in the international literature to examine progress in transition to a knowledge-based economy in Saudi Arabia. This paper is valuable because it adds to the existing studies in the regional and international literature and it fills the gap in Saudi Arabia literature by presenting a more comprehensive analysis and investigating recent progress in transition to knowledge-based economy in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, the results confirm the importance of supporting the efforts aimed at enhancing knowledge- based economy in Saudi Arabia. Our findings imply that over the period 2000-2012 Saudi Arabia has achieved significant improvement, rapid and fastest progress not only by regional standard but also by international standard, in the international rank Saudi Arabia has climbed 26 places compared to 2000, obtaining 50th place in 2012 ranking, compared to 76th place in 2000 ranking. Our findings support the hypothesis concerning some progress in transition towards knowledge-based economy in Saudi Arabia. The progress appears from improvement in terms of KI, KEI, ICT pillar, education pillar, economic incentive and institutional regime pillar, innovation efficiency index, knowledge creation index, knowledge impact index, knowledge diffusion index and technological infrastructure, despite deterioration in both innovation pillar and knowledge absorption index. Based on the findings the paper recommends that to improve transition to knowledge economy and achieve sustainable economic development, it is essential for Saudi Arabia to strengthen and improve knowledge by investing heavily in education, training, boosting knowledge absorption index and innovation through intensive spending on RD. Keywords Knowledge, Knowledge-based economy, Knowledge Index, Saudi Arabia.
    Keywords: Economic Development: General; Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development; Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights: General;
    JEL: O10 O11 O30
    Date: 2014
  6. By: Syed Abul, Basher; Salem, Nechi; Hui, Zhu
    Abstract: Underpinned by rising hydrocarbon revenues, the stock markets of the six GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries have demonstrated significant integration over the past decade. This paper studies the dependence patterns of the bivariate distribution of returns across seven GCC stock markets over the period 2004-2013 using copula models. The results of the marginal models indicate strong volatility persistence in all the seven equity markets. The results from the copula models indicate that the conditional dependence across all 21 pairs of equity markets’ returns is not strictly symmetric in that the lower tail dependence is significantly greater that the upper tail dependence. The stock markets of Abu Dhabi and Dubai appear as the primary source of asymmetric dependence across the different equity market pairs.
    Keywords: Copula, tail dependence, GCC stock markets.
    JEL: G15
    Date: 2014–06–10
  7. By: Sophie-Anne Sauvegrain (Marchés, Organisations, Institutions et Stratégies d'Acteurs, INRA; Montpellier SupAgro - Centre International d'Etudes Supérieures en Sciences Agronomiques); Fatiha Fort (Marchés, Organisations, Institutions et Stratégies d'Acteurs, INRA; Montpellier SupAgro-Institut des Régions Chaudes)
    Abstract: Objectives: The concept of food sustainability is still new and quite ambiguous. The aim of this paper is to explore the perceptions of consumers concerning sustainability criteria and to describe some of their practices and daily habits regarding food. Method: A sample of thirty people, living in the South of France, originally from Turkey, Morocco and France, participated in our qualitative anthropological study concerning their relationship to the environment, their perception of sustainable food and their food habits. Results: From a consumer point of view, sustainability of food products includes three main aspects: the origin of the product, the respect of the production season and the organic production label. These three dimensions are gradually integrated into people’s mentality. The majority of respondents have a positive attitude towards “sustainable†products and are aware of the environmental impact of the dominant agro-food system production. Concerning consumption, the adoption of more environmentally friendly practices requires better communication and transparency of information about the challenges of the sustainable food.
    Keywords: food habits, perception of sustainability, respect of environment, habitude alimentaire, anthropologieconsommation durableprotection de l'environnement
    Date: 2013
  8. By: Donald F. Larson (Development Research Group, The World Bank - Banque mondiale); Julian Lampietti (Sustainable Development Department for Latin America, The World Bank - Banque mondiale); Christophe Gouel (Economie Publique, INRA; CEPII ; CIREM); Carlo Cafiero (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations); John Roberts (Agricultural and Resource Economics Department, University of Maryland)
    Abstract: In times of highly volatile commodity markets, governments often try to protect their populations from rapidly-rising food prices, which can be particularly harsh for the poor. A potential solution for food-deficit countries is to hold strategic reserves, which can be called on when international prices spike. But how large should strategic stockpiles be? This paper develops a dynamic storage model for wheat in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where imported wheat dominates the average diet. The paper uses the model to analyze a strategy that sets aside wheat stockpiles, which can be used when needed to keep domestic prices below a targeted price. This paper shows that if the target is set high and reserves are adequate, the strategy can be effective and robust. Contrary to most interventions, strategic storage policies are counter-cyclical and, when the importing region is sufficiently large, a regional policy can smooth global prices. This paper shows that this is the case for the MENA region. Nevertheless, the policy is more costly than the pro-cyclical policy of a targeted intervention that directly offsets high prices with a subsidy similar to food stamps.
    Abstract: Lorsque les prix des matières premières sont très volatiles, les gouvernements essayent généralement de protéger leur population d'une augmentation rapide des prix agricoles. Une solution potentielle pour des pays importateurs nets de produits agricoles est de maintenir des stocks de réserve, qui peuvent être utilisés lorsque les prix mondiaux augmentent fortement. Mais quelle doit être la taille de telles réserves? Cet article développe un modèle dynamique de stockage pour le marché du blé dans la région Moyen Orient et Afrique du Nord, où le blé importé représente une part prépondérante de l'alimentation. Ce modèle est utilisé pour analyser une stratégie dans laquelle des stocks servent à maintenir les prix domestiques en dessous d'une cible. Nous montrons que si la cible est choisie suffisamment haute et les réserves sont adéquates, la stratégie peut être effective et robuste. Contrairement à la plupart des interventions, une politique de stockage stratégique est contra-cyclique et, lorsque la région importatrice est suffisamment large, une telle politique régionale peut lisser les variations du prix mondial. C'est le cas, dans ce travail, pour la région Moyen Orient et Afrique du Nord. Néanmoins, cette politique est plus coûteuse qu'une politique d'intervention ciblée qui limitent directement les hausses de prix par une subvention.
    Keywords: Food security, Middle East and North Africa, Price volatility, Strategic reserve, Wheat, Blé, securité alimentaire, volatilité des prix, prix agricolestockage, modèlemoyen orient, afrique du nord
    JEL: F1 O13 Q11 Q18
    Date: 2014
  9. By: Celbis M.G.; Nijkamp P.; Poot J. (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: We estimate the Anderson and van Wincoop model of trade by using the data on the bilateral export flows from 26 Turkish regions to 180 countries for the years 2002 through to 2010. Regional transportation and communication infrastructure capacity, the positioning of point infrastructure in a region, and geography are explicitly accounted for. Our results highlight that land infrastructure, air transport capacity, and private maritime infrastructure presence, together with the distance of regional economies to exit nodes such as ports and airports, are important determinants of export performance. Based on our preferred regression where multilateral resistance terms are accounted for, we estimate that increases in the current land infrastructure, air transport capacity, and number of private ports of 1 per cent increases exports approximately by 0.38 per cent, 0.14 per cent, and 0.045 per cent respectively. Keywords Infrastructure; trade; regions; transportation costs
    Keywords: Empirical Studies of Trade; Economic Development: Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure; Development Planning and Policy: Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy; General Regional Economics (includes Regional Data); Transportation Systems: General; Regional Development Planning and Policy;
    JEL: F14 O18 O24 R10 R40 R58
    Date: 2014
  10. By: Osman Furkan Abbasoglu; Serife Genc; Yasin Mimir
    Abstract: We investigate the cyclical behavior of banks' balance sheet variables for different size groups using bank-level Turkish data. We first rank banks based on the size of their assets, and then systematically document business cycle facts of various balance sheet items and profitability measures of different bank groups. We find that the cyclical behavior of these variables is quite heterogeneous at the cross-sectional level : (i) Bottom 25 percent banks finance 73 percent of their asset growth with equity while larger banks fund 55 percent of it with deposits, (ii) bank assets and bank credit are highly procyclical and the level of procyclicality is lower for larger banks, (iii) total deposits are procyclical except for top 25 percent and equity issuance is acyclical to countercyclical at best, (iv) loan spread is strongly countercyclical except for small banks while return on assets and equity are acyclical, and (v) switching between debt and equity financing is more pronounced for the top 25 percent and the aggregate banking sector compared to the bottom 25 percent and top 5 percent. The rich set of cross-sectional empirical facts about the cyclicality of bank balance sheets presented in this paper should be helpful for researchers to build and evaluate theoretical heterogeneous models about financing sources of banks.
    Keywords: Debt finance, Equity finance, Banking sector, Business cycle
    JEL: E44 E51 G21 G28
    Date: 2014
  11. By: Foued Cheriet (Marchés, Organisations, Institutions et Stratégies d'Acteurs, INRA; Montpellier SupAgro - Centre International d'Etudes Supérieures en Sciences Agronomiques)
    Abstract: Les diagnostics actuels et les analyses prospectives montrent que les pressions sur les ressources naturelles déjà fortes, vont s’accentuer si des efforts importants ne sont pas consentis à travers l’intégration de nouveaux facteurs technologiques, organisationnels et sociaux dans les agricultures des pays du Sud et de l’Est de la Méditerranée (PSEM). Il ressort aussi que les PSEM accusent des retards, à divers degrés, quant à l’intégration des critères du développement durable dans leurs politiques agricoles publiques. L’enjeu crucial des ressources naturelles se cristallisera autour de la gestion optimale et l’utilisation raisonnée des ressources hydriques et foncières. À moyen terme, cette question pourrait aboutir à l’émergence de tensions locales, voire régionales, sur le contrôle et l’utilisation de l’eau agricole, notamment dans la région de l’Est de la Méditerranée. Pour les pays méditerranéens, les questions de la terre, de l’eau et de la modernisation agricole se posent avec une forte acuité. Dans ce contexte difficile pour les PSEM, notre contribution conclut à la nécessité d’une coopération euro-méditerranéenne renforcée, pour relever le double défi de la sécurité alimentaire et d’un développement régional durable intégré.
    Abstract: Current diagnosis and foresights analyzes show that the pressure on natural resources will increase if significant efforts are not made through the integration of technological, organizational and social modernization factors in agricultural public policies in Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries (SEMC). It also appears that the SEMC are lagging behind on the integration of sustainable development criteria in their public agricultural policies. The crucial issue of natural resources will crystallize around the optimal management and rational use of water and land resources. This question could lead to the emergence of local or regional tensions on control and use of water for agriculture, especially in the region of the eastern Mediterranean. For the Mediterranean countries, the issues of land, water and agricultural modernization arise with high acuity. In this difficult context for the SEMC, our contribution concludes to the need for strengthened Euro-Mediterranean cooperation to meet both challenges of food security and sustainable development.
    Keywords: agricultural natural resource, sustainable development, mediterranean, public policy, ressource agricoledéveloppement durableméditerranéepolitique publique
    Date: 2013

This nep-ara issue is ©2014 by Paul Makdissi. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.