nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2014‒06‒28
six papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
University of Ottawa

  1. Health Behaviors and Education in Turkey By Aysit Tansel; Deniz Karaoglan
  2. Open skies over the Middle East By Cristea, Anca; Hillberry, Russell; Mattoo, Aaditya
  3. Globalization, Technology and Skills: Evidence from Turkish Longitudinal Microdata By Ilina Srour; Erol Taymaz; Marco Vivarelli
  4. Economic development and female labor participation in the Middle East and North Africa : a test of the u-shape hypothesis By Verme, Paolo
  5. Identifying and characterizing the business cycle: the case of Morocco By ELALAOUI, AICHA
  6. Economics of transiting to renewable energy in Morocco : a general equilibrium analysis By Timilsina, Govinda R.; Landis, Florian

  1. By: Aysit Tansel (Department of Economics, METU; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) Bonn, Germany; Economic Research Forum (ERF) Cairo, Egypt); Deniz Karaoglan (Department of Economics, METU)
    Abstract: This is the first study which provides empirical analysis of the variation in health behaviors for adult men and women in Turkey which is a developing country. The health behaviors considered are smoking, drinking, fruit and vegetable consumption, exercise and body mass index (BMI). We find that in Turkey education is the most important factor that affects the health behaviors. The results indicate that smoking is positively associated with education at all levels with a decreasing effect with the level of education unlike in the developed countries. This result indicates that smoking is a serious public health problem in Turkey at all levels of education. Further, alcohol consumption and schooling are positively related and it increases by the level of education. Higher educated individuals clearly eat more fruits, vegetables and exercise more and their BMI levels are in the normal range compared to less educated and illiterate. We also highlight the importance of demographic factors, labor market status and household income. We use Health Survey of Turkish Statistical Institute (TURKSTAT) for years 2008, 2010 and 2012. This study will provide a baseline for further studies on the various aspects of health behaviors in Turkey.
    Keywords: Health Behaviors, Education, Demographic Factors, Turkey.
    JEL: I10 I12 I19
    Date: 2014–06
  2. By: Cristea, Anca; Hillberry, Russell; Mattoo, Aaditya
    Abstract: The dynamism of air traffic markets in the Middle East obscures the persistence of restrictions on international competition. But how important are such restrictions for passenger traffic? This paper uses detailed data on worldwide passenger aviation to estimate the effect of air transport policy on international air traffic. The policy variable is a quantitative measure of the commitments under international agreements. The paper analyzes, for the first time, not only bilateral agreements, but also plurilateral agreements such as the one between Arab states. The analysis finds that more liberal policy is associated with greater passenger traffic between countries. Higher traffic levels appear to be driven primarily by larger numbers of city pairs being served, rather than by more passengers traveling along given routes. To demonstrate the quantitative implication of the estimates, two liberalization scenarios in the Middle East are evaluated. Deepening the plurilateral agreement among Arab states would lead to a 30 percent increase in intraregional passenger traffic. Widening the agreement to include Turkey would generate significantly larger gains because current policy vis-à-vis Turkey is much more restrictive.
    Keywords: Transport Economics Policy&Planning,Airports and Air Services,Roads&Highways,Public Sector Corruption&Anticorruption Measures,Air Quality&Clean Air
    Date: 2014–06–01
  3. By: Ilina Srour (Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano); Erol Taymaz (Department of Economics, METU); Marco Vivarelli (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano and Piacenza; SPRU, University of Sussex; Institute for the Study of Labour (IZA), Bonn)
    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 an absolute skill bias emerges: both domestic and imported technologies increase the demand for skilled workers only, not significantly affecting the demand for the unskilled labor. Finally, “learning by exporting” also appears to have a (relative) skill biased impact, increasing the demand for skilled workers to a much larger extent than that for the unskilled.
    Keywords: Skill-biased technological change, technology transfer, panel data, GMM-SYS.
    JEL: F16 O33
    Date: 2014–06
  4. By: Verme, Paolo
    Abstract: The Middle East and North Africa region is known for having low female labor market participation rates as compared with its level of economic development. A possible explanation is that these countries find themselves at the turning point of the U-shape hypothesis when countries transition from declining to rising female participation rates. This paper tests the U-shape hypothesis in countries in the Middle East and North Africa. It finds that the region has outperformed other world regions in terms of the main drivers of the U-shape hypothesis, including gross domestic product per capita, economic transformation away from the agricultural sector, female education, and fertility rates. These facts are consistent with nonparametric evidence that shows countries in the region are distributed over a U-shaped curve. However, parametric tests of the hypothesis point in a different direction. The region shows an inverted U-shape overall and great heterogeneity across countries and age cohorts that defies any law on the relation between gross domestic product and female participation rate. The explanation behind these findings may be economic and cultural. Jobless growth and the lack of growth in employment sectors such as manufacturing and services, which proved critical for female employment in other countries, weaken labor demand and strengthen the role of institutions that may discourage female participation, such as marriage, legislation, and gender norms.
    Keywords: Population Policies,Regional Economic Development,Economic Theory&Research,Labor Policies,Labor Markets
    Date: 2014–06–01
    Abstract: This paper describes the key features of the Moroccan business cycles during the period 1980:q1-2012:q1. In particular, this paper identifies the chronologies in classical and growth cycles (expansion and contraction phases and full cycles in real gross domestic product). Using the modified BB algorithm, I have found eight business cycles and the ninth is not yet achieved. Then, I have would to analysis of the main features in these cycles by applying the method of Harding and Pagan (2001) which has shown that the Moroccan economy characterized by the average cumulative gain is more important than the cumulative loss and by the domination of expansion phases.
    Keywords: Classical cycle, Growth cycle, HP filter, Morocco
    JEL: E2 E23 E3 E30 E32
    Date: 2014–03
  6. By: Timilsina, Govinda R.; Landis, Florian
    Abstract: Morocco has set an ambitious target of supplying 42 percent of electricity through renewable sources, 14 percent each through hydro, wind, and solar, by 2020. To analyze the economic and environmental implications of implementing this target, this study uses a dynamic computable general equilibrium model with foresight that includes explicit representation of various electricity generation technologies. Two types of policy instruments, a production subsidy financed through fossil fuel taxation and a renewable energy mandate financed through increased electricity prices, have been considered to attract investment in renewable energy. The study shows that meeting the renewable target would achieve up to 15 percent reduction of national greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 compared with a situation in the absence of the target, or the baseline. However, meeting the target would decrease household consumption of goods and services, thereby worsening household welfare. The study also shows that the renewable production subsidy financed through fossil fuel taxation is superior to the mandate policy to meet the renewable energy target in Morocco, as the former would cause a lower loss in economic welfare and a larger reduction of greenhouse gas emissions than the latter.
    Keywords: Energy Production and Transportation,Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases,Energy Demand,Environment and Energy Efficiency,Energy and Environment
    Date: 2014–06–01

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