nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2015‒02‒11
twelve papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Arab Gulf states: an assessment of nationalisation policies By Steffen Hertog
  2. Exchange volatility and trade performance in Morocco and Tunisia: what have we learned so far? By Bouoiyour, jamal; Selmi, Refk
  3. Islamic Banking in the MENA Region By SYED ALI, SALMAN
  4. Taxes and Private Consumption Expenditure: A Component Based Analysis for Turkey By Kaya, Ayşe; Şen, Hüseyin
  5. 2000 families: identifying the research potential of an origins-of-migration study By Ayşe Güveli; Harry Ganzeboom; Helen Baykara-Krumme; Lucinda Platt; Şebnem Eroğlu; Niels Spierings; Sait Bayrakdar; Bernhard Nauck; Efe K. Sozeri
  6. On the Timing of Political Regime Changes: Theory and Application to the Arab Spring By Raouf Boucekkine; Fabien Prieur; Klarizze Puzon
  7. The Effects of Compulsory Military Service Exemption on Education and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from a Natural Experiment By Torun, Huzeyfe; Tumen, Semih
  8. Direct Foreign Investment in Kurdistan Region of Middle-East: Non-Oil Sector Analysis By Angus O. Unegbu; Augustine Okanlawon
  9. Selection, Selection, Selection: the Impact of Return Migration By Jackline Wahba
  10. The Regional Impact of Bilateral Investment Treaties on Foreign Direct Investment By Arjan Lejour; Maria Salfi
  11. Urbanizing refuge: interrogating spaces of displacement By Romola Sanyal
  12. Fatality sensitivity in coalition countries: a study of British, Polish and Australian public opinion on the Iraq war By Lis, Piotr

  1. By: Steffen Hertog
    Abstract: Gaps in labour rights and labour prices between nationals and migrant workers are the main causes explaining the low participation of GCC citizens in the region’s private labour markets. Past policies of “Gulfization” have not directly addressed these structural constraints but have rather attempted to impose higher nationalization quotas by fiat, with limited success. More recently, some of the Gulf governments have started to use taxes and subsidies to try to narrow the labour price gap; at the same time, some have improved the labour mobility rights of foreigners. This paper provides a preliminary assessment of these “second generation” policies. It concludes with general observations on how the rights and price gaps could be closed more systematically and on the broader distributional reforms this might entail.
    Keywords: policy implementation; labour rights; sponsorship; work conditions; irregularity; foreign & national populations; labour market; (un)employment; national labour; foreign labour; visas & fees; nationalisation; work force; GCC; Bahrain; Kuwait; Oman; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; United Arab Emirates
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2014–06–25
  2. By: Bouoiyour, jamal; Selmi, Refk
    Abstract: This paper attempts to assess two interesting issues for two small open economies (Morocco and Tunisia). First, it analyses the historical behaviour of nominal exchange rate, differential price and real exchange rate uncertainties. Second, it investigates the stability of the interaction between exchange volatility and exports in nominal and real terms. Our main results reveal that the effect of differential price volatility on exports exceeds that of nominal exchange rate by a large margin in terms of duration of persistence, ARCH and GARCH effects and intensity of shock. The relationship appears complex. In Morocco, it is negative and significant in 75.82% (as average) of cases in nominal terms and in 77.22% in real terms. This link is stronger in Tunisia with averages, respectively, equal to 85.88% and 89.99%. We associate the apparently mixed results to the differential price uncertainty itself sensitive to ups and down oil price movements, switching regime and leverage effects.
    Keywords: exchange volatility; total exports; sectoral exports; GARCH.
    JEL: F13 F14 F4
    Date: 2014
  3. By: SYED ALI, SALMAN (The Islamic Research and Teaching Institute (IRTI))
    Abstract: Islamic finance has now become an important element in the development agenda of the Middle East and North African (MENA) countries. It is also gaining significance in the financial landscape of the region as well as of the individual countries. As a growing business it caters to the financial needs of the people without conflicting with their social and religious values. Despite this reality, little systematic and consistent analysis exists in the literature on the asset and liability structure of Islamic banks in the region and across individual countries. Even lesser is known on what drives Islamic banking growth. This paper addresses this gap and explores how the structure of the Islamic banking sector has been evolving in the MENA region in recent years, and how it is growing in terms of assets, liabilities, financing and funding structures within the region and across different countries. It also provides an exploratory analysis of relative importance of the various factors responsible for the growth of Islamic banking in the region. The financial crisis provided us with a natural experiment to evaluate the contribution of Islamic banking towards resilience and inclusiveness of financial sector by analyzing the performance of these banks during this period.
    Date: 2015–01–20
  4. By: Kaya, Ayşe; Şen, Hüseyin
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to analyze empirically the short- and long-run effects of tax shocks on private consumption expenditure on component basis in Turkey. To do so, first, we decomposed private consumption expenditure into four major sub-categories, including food, education, and transportation, among others. And then, we employed a Structural VAR (SVAR) model which was calibrated to quarterly data set for the period 2003:Q1-2013:Q3. Specifically, our empirical findings show that the effects of tax shocks on the components of private consumption expenditure differ in the short- and long-run. In the short-run, all the taxes which we considered have a significant effect on the components of private consumption expenditure, whereas in the long-run only two taxes the VAT and the personal income tax– affect it. However, it is important to highlight that the components of private consumption expenditure are much more affected by the VAT in the both short- and long-run. In brief, the findings reveal that the effects of tax shocks on private consumption expenditure shows difference, changing according to sorts of taxes, components of the expenditure, and the length of period.
    Keywords: Tax Shocks, VAT, Special Consumption Tax, Personal Income Tax, Private Consumption Expenditure, Fiscal Policy, Turkey.
    JEL: E21 E62 H20 H30
    Date: 2015–02–03
  5. By: Ayşe Güveli; Harry Ganzeboom; Helen Baykara-Krumme; Lucinda Platt; Şebnem Eroğlu; Niels Spierings; Sait Bayrakdar; Bernhard Nauck; Efe K. Sozeri
    Abstract: Despite extensive recent advances in the empirical and theoretical study of migration, certain critical areas in the analysis of European migration remain relatively underdeveloped both theoretically and empirically. Specifically, we lack studies that both incorporate an origin comparison and trace processes of intergenerational transmission across migrants over multiple generations and incorporating family migration trajectories. This paper outlines the development, data and design of such a study, the 2000 Families study, framed within a theoretical perspective of ‘dissimilation’ from origins and over generations. We term the study an origins-of-migration study, in that it captures the country of origin, the family origins and potentially the originating causes of migration processes and outcomes. The resulting data comprised nearly 2,000 migrant and non-migrant Turkish families with members across three or more generations, covering. 50,000 individuals. We reflect on the potential of this study for migration research.
    Keywords: Migration; Europe; Turkey; dissimilation; intergenerational transmission; originsof- migration study
    JEL: J12 J15 R23
    Date: 2014–02
  6. By: Raouf Boucekkine (Aix-Marseille University); Fabien Prieur (University of Montpellier I and INRA); Klarizze Puzon (University of Montpellier I)
    Abstract: We develop a continuous time dynamic game to provide with a benchmark theory of Arab Spring-type events. We consider a resource-dependent economy with two interacting groups, the elite vs. the citizens, and two political regimes, dictatorship vs. a freer regime. Transition to the freer regime can only be achieved if citizens decide to revolt given the concession/repression policy of the elite. Departing from the related literature, the revolution optimal timing is an explicit control variable in the hands of citizens. The elite is the strategic leader: she ultimately chooses her policy knowing the reaction function of citizens. In this framework, we provide with a full equilibrium analysis of the political regime switching game and notably emphasize the role of the direct switching cost of the citizens and of the elite's self-preservation options. In particular, we show how the incorporation of explicit revolution timing may change the conventional wisdom in the related institutional change literature. Finally, we emphasize how the theory may help explaining some key features of the Arab Spring.
    Keywords: Political Transitions, Revolution, Natural Resources, Optimal Timing, Regime Switching, Dynamic Game
    JEL: C61 D74 Q34
    Date: 2014–12
  7. By: Torun, Huzeyfe; Tumen, Semih
    Abstract: Based on a law enacted in November 1999, males born on or before December 31st 1972 are given the option to benefit from a paid exemption from the compulsory military service in Turkey. Exploiting this natural experiment, we devise an empirical strategy to estimate the intention-to-treat effect of this paid exemption on the education and labor market outcomes of the individuals in the target group. We find that the paid exemption reform reduces the years of schooling among males who are eligible to benefit from the reform relative to the ineligible ones. In particular, the probability of receiving a college degree or above falls among the eligible males. The result is robust to alternative estimation strategies. We find no reduction in education when we implement the same exercises with (i) data on females and (ii) placebo reform dates. The interpretation is that the reform has reduced the incentives to continue education for the purpose of deferring military service. We also find suggestive evidence that the paid exemption reform reduces the labor income for males in the target group. The reduction in earnings is likely due to the reduction in education.
    Keywords: Compulsory military service; draft avoidance; intention to treat; education; earnings.
    JEL: C21 I21 J21 J31
    Date: 2015–01–29
  8. By: Angus O. Unegbu; Augustine Okanlawon
    Abstract: Kurdistan Region is a tourist hub. This research analyzes other Non-Oil Sectors that have huge attractions of Foreign Direct Investments into the Kurdistan Region from 2005 to 2013. Comparative analysis was carried out between Iraq and the Region, and among influential Sectors of the Economy. T-test and ANOVA are statistical tools employed in testing the research hypotheses. The research identify that there exist significant Foreign Direct Investment inflows across the governorates in the region and among influential sectors of the Economy. The research also highlighted areas of high level of investment needs, sectors that have been crowded out and business opportunities in the region that requires huge Foreign Direct Investments. It is recommended that the Regional Kurdistan Government should embark on fiscal Cashless policies in order to stimulate further spill-off effects of attracting enormous Non-Oil Sectors of Foreign Direct Investments into the region.
    Date: 2015–02
  9. By: Jackline Wahba
    Abstract: The evidence on the impact of return migration on the sending country is rather sparse, though growing. The contribution of this paper is in addressing various selectivity problems whilst quantifying the impact of return migration on wages of returnees using non-experimental data. Using Egyptian household level survey data, I estimate the wages of return migrants controlling for several selectivity biases arising from emigration choice, return migration choice, labor force participation choice and occupational choice following return. The findings provide strong evidence that overseas temporary migration results in a wage premium upon return, even after controlling for the various potential selection biases. However the estimates underscore the significance of controlling for both emigration and return migration selections. Ignoring the double selectivity in migration would overestimate the impact of return migration on the wage premium of returnees, as migrants are positively selected relative to non-migrants, but returnees are negatively selected amongst migrants.
    Keywords: International return migration, Wages, Developing countries
    JEL: F22 J24 O15 O53
    Date: 2015–01
  10. By: Arjan Lejour; Maria Salfi
    Abstract: We examine the impact of bilateral investment treaties (BITs) on bilateral FDI stocks using extensive data from 1985 until 2011. We correct for endogeneity using indicators for governance and membership of international organisations. We find that ratified BITs increase on average bilateral FDI stocks by 35% compared to those of country pairs without a treaty. Upper middle income countries seem to benefit the most from ratified treaties whereas high income countries with high governance levels do not profit at all. In addition, lower middle and low income countries experience significantly larger inward FDI stocks from partner’s countries. Distinguishing by region, we find that ratified BITs increase FDI stocks mainly in East Asia and Middle & Eastern Europe.
    JEL: F21 F23 H25 H26
    Date: 2015–01
  11. By: Romola Sanyal
    Abstract: Refugee spaces are emerging as quintessential geographies of the modern, yet their intimate and everyday spatialities remain under-explored. Rendered largely through geopolitical discourses, they are seen as biopolitical spaces where the sovereign can reduce the subject to bare life. In conceptualizing refugee spaces some scholars have argued that, although many camps grow and develop over time, they evolve their own unique form of urbanism that is still un-urban. This article challenges this idea of the camp as space of pure biopolitics and explores the politics of space in the refugee camp using urban debates. Using case studies from the Middle East and South Asia, it looks at how the refugee spaces developed and became informalized, and how people recovered their agency through ‘producing spaces’ both physically and politically. In doing so, it draws connections between refugee camps and other spaces of urban marginality, and suggests that refugee spaces can be seen as important sites for articulating new politics.
    Keywords: refugee; urban; informality; exception; agency; Lebanon; Middle East; India; South Asia
    JEL: Q15
    Date: 2014–03
  12. By: Lis, Piotr
    Abstract: This paper investigates the fatality sensitivity of public opinion in coalition countries, i.e. those that participate in war efforts but are not a leading force. The analysis is based on the war-related opinion polls from the United Kingdom, Poland and Australia. Overall, the data does not provide a clear evidence of sensitivity to soldier casualties. However, the public appears sensitive to the intensity of terrorism in Iraq, which may be considered as a measure of success of the war efforts, dominating other indicators in the absence of frequent soldier fatalities. The results also show that news of success has a power to reduce war opposition, while scandals are costly in terms of public support.
    Keywords: wartime opinion, casualty sensitivity, war on terror
    JEL: D74
    Date: 2011–09

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