nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2015‒04‒19
nineteen papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. The influence of the accession negotiations between the EU and Turkey on Turkey's employment and social policies By Kuşlu, Göksel
  2. State-business relations in the smaller gulf monarchies -- the role of business actors in the decision-making process By Valeri, Marc
  3. Does input tariff reduction impact firms'export in the presence of import tariff exemption regimes ? By Vargas Da Cruz,Marcio Jose; Bussolo,Maurizio
  4. On the removal of energy products subsidies in an importing oil country: impacts on prices in Morocco. By Bentour, El Mostafa
  5. Indicators of core inflation: Case of Tunisia By mhamdi, ghrissi
  6. Arab Republic of Egypt: 2014 Article IV Consultation-Staff Report; Press Release and Statement by the Executive Director for the Arab Republic of Egypt By International Monetary Fund
  7. The Effects of the Gallipoli Campaign on Turkish Child Survivors in Anatolia By Cahit Guven; Gizem Nur Han; Zolzaya Luvsandorj; Mehmet Ulubasoglu
  8. Morocco: First Review Under the Arrangement Under the Precautionary and Liquidity Line-Staff Report; Press Release; and Statement by the Executive Director for Morocco By International Monetary Fund
  9. Morocco: 2014 Article IV Consultation-Staff Report; Press Release; and Statement by the Executive Director for Morocco By International Monetary Fund
  10. Labor Health Shortage and Future Prospects for the Medical Workforce in Morocco By Zouag, Nada; Driouchi, Ahmed; Achehboune, Amale
  11. Imports contents, value added generation and structural change in morocco: input output analysis By Ezzahid, Elhadj; Chatri, Abdellatif
  12. Linkages between Defense Spending and Income Inequality in Iran By Shahbaz, Muhammad; Sherafatian-Jahromi, Reza; Malik, Muhammad Nasir; Shabbir, Muhammad Shahbaz; Jam, Farooq Ahmed
  13. The Middle Eastern Wealth Management Industry: Boon or Bust? By Michael, Bryane; Apostoloski, Nenad
  14. Estimating Potential Growth in the Middle East and Central Asia By Pritha Mitra; Amr Hosny; Gohar Abajyan; Mark Fischer
  15. Qatar: Selected Issues By International Monetary Fund
  16. A Stock-Flow Accounting Model of the Labor Market: An Application to Israel By Yossi Yakhin; Natalya Presman
  17. Qatar: 2015 Article IV Consultation-Staff Report; and Press Release By International Monetary Fund
  18. Modeling inflation dynamics in a conflict economy By Onour, Ibrahim
  19. Islamic Republic of Mauritania: Selected Issues Paper By International Monetary Fund

  1. By: Kuşlu, Göksel
    Abstract: This paper aims to look into the effects of the accession negotiations between the EU and Turkey on Turkey's employment and social policies and attempts to assess the level of compliance of the Turkish legislation with the EU Acquis in this field. As a candidate country, Turkey is required to transpose and implement the EU Acquis on employment and social policy, which constitutes the 19th chapter in the EUTurkey negotiation process. This sine qua non condition for the accession provided a catalyst for legislative and institutional reforms with regards to employment rights, social dialogue, health and safety at work, gender equality and non-discrimination. It was found that Turkish legislation is in compliance or mostly complies circa 70% of the EU Directives in employment and social policy field. The analysis based on indicators also revealed that Turkey lagged far behind its European counterparts exactly in those social and employment policy areas where the highest compliance deficits were observed.
    Keywords: Turkey-EU relations,accession negotiations,EU acquis,employment and social policy,employment and social indicators
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Valeri, Marc
    Abstract: The Arab monarchies of the Gulf have been undergoing striking socio-economic changes caused by the ending of the rent-based welfare state model on which they had largely relied since the 1950s. In this perspective, this paper aims at examining the comparative role of local business communities in affecting the orientations and the outcomes of the policies implemented during the period of high oil prices in the 2000s. This paper pays a special attention to the impact of the Arab Spring on the state-business relations in two of the smaller Gulf monarchies (Bahrain and Oman).
    Keywords: Gulf Countries, Bahrain, Oman, Business, Decision making, Elite, State, Monarchy, Royal family, Politics, Persian Gulf, Middle East, Political economy, Arab Spring
    JEL: D72 H32 O53
    Date: 2015–03
  3. By: Vargas Da Cruz,Marcio Jose; Bussolo,Maurizio
    Abstract: In the last decade Morocco undertook substantial, if gradual, trade liberalization by reducing tariffs, reforming trade regulations and signing free and preferential trade agreements with several regions and countries, including the United States, Turkey, the European Union and Arab countries. This paper analyzes the impact of input tariff reduction on Moroccan exporting firms through the channel of intermediate goods. Gaining access to more varied and cheaper inputs can make exporting firms more competitive, and as a result they export more. To evaluate how this policy may impact firms'export performance, the paper analyzes the impact of input tariff reduction on different margins of trade with emphasis on export markets and product diversification. The identification of the effect of input tariffs on exports relies on a difference-in-difference estimator using heterogeneous access to import tariff exemption as a measure of different levels of exposure to input tariff reduction at the firm level. Overall, the analysis finds that firms that are relatively more exposed to input tariff perform better in those sectors with the largest input tariff reduction, with better access to markets, higher probability to survive when exporting new products in those sectors and higher export value growth.
    Keywords: Economic Theory&Research,Water and Industry,Trade Policy,Markets and Market Access,Free Trade
    Date: 2015–04–06
  4. By: Bentour, El Mostafa
    Abstract: Using input-output models, we analyze the effect of removing subsidized oil products in Morocco. We set three scenarios of increasing oil products by 25%, 50% and 75%, and symmetric decreases by the same amounts. We show that the effects are high in intensive oil products sectors such as transports and electricity and water sectors. Using the weights of the sectors, we deduce the overall inflation generated by direct and indirect requirements for the total economy. For example, an increase in oil prices by 75% generates a global inflation cost between 5.5% and 8%. Symmetric scenarios indicate no strong asymmetrical effects. The generated inflation may alter the stable path of inflation recorded over the past fifteen years putting pressure on the monetary authorities. Therefore, the change of strategy from managed exchange rate regime towards a flexible regime, extensively discussed, is now an urgent necessity.
    Keywords: Energy Reform, Fiscal Policy, Inflation, Input-Output Models, Asymmetric Effects, Morocco.
    JEL: D57 E31 Q41
    Date: 2015–03–15
  5. By: mhamdi, ghrissi
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to provide a credible measure of inflation. This credibility is of great importance for successful inflation targeting regime. This paper proposes a technique to solve a conceptual disparity between inflation phenomenon and its measurement. For this, we proposed an alternative measure called core inflation, defined as the inflation component that has no real impact on long-term production. Evaluation of core inflation was obtained using a VAR system under the assumption that variations in the extent of inflation are affected by two types of shock. The first type has no impact on real output in the long term, while the second can have this effect. This approach is a reconstruction of the approach of Quah and Vahey (1995) in the case of the Tunisian economy. The study concluded that the administered prices constitute a major obstacle to measure, interpret and forecast inflation. Central Bank of Tunisia has no control over a third of the CPI basket. This feature of the Tunisian economy is simply a sign of weakness of the economic system and the need for monetary authorities to continue its efforts to liberalize prices.
    Keywords: monetary policy in Tunisia, Inflation, core inflation, VAR
    JEL: E5 E6
    Date: 2014–04–18
  6. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: KEY ISSUES The 2014 Article IV consultation takes place when the authorities have started to address longstanding economic challenges. For a number of years Egypt has suffered from low and non-inclusive growth and from high unemployment. Since 2011 these problems have been compounded by large fiscal deficits and rising public debt and by external fragility evidenced by loss of foreign exchange reserves. In 2014, Egypt adopted a new constitution and elected a new president who was candid with the electorate on the need to reform the economy. The government has developed a plan centered on structural reform and investment promotion to raise growth and create jobs, and fiscal adjustment to bring the budget deficit and public debt under control. Crucially, the authorities have already begun to implement fuel subsidy reform, raising prices by 40–80 percent in July 2014. They have also begun the reforms needed to raise tax revenue and to make Egypt a more attractive destination for investment. There was agreement that the authorities’ objectives are ambitious but are broadly within reach with steady policy implementation. The authorities aim to raise growth to 6 percent per annum, reduce annual inflation to 7 percent, bring down the fiscal deficit to 8 percent of GDP and debt to 80–85 percent of GDP, and increase foreign exchange reserves to 3½ months of imports, all within the next five years. Staff considers these objectives appropriately ambitious, although targeting a higher level of reserves would be prudent. It believes that the authorities’ policies, if followed steadfastly, are broadly consistent with these objectives, but noted that a number of policies—including the details of some fiscal measures and structural measures to improve the business environment—are still being formulated. The authorities and the staff differed somewhat on the extent of vulnerabilities and risks. The authorities are confident that they will be able to follow through on their policies and that improved confidence will lead to a surge in foreign investment, a pickup in tourism, and strong economic growth. Staff emphasized that the authorities’ policies would still leave significant vulnerabilities, namely high public debt and large financing gaps, which would need to be covered by greater adjustment or financing, or a combination of the two. Staff also pointed to the difficulty of maintaining tight fiscal and monetary policies over a long period, the risks of dilution of structural reform efforts, and the uncertain regional security environment. To contain these vulnerabilities and risks, staff recommended developing contingency measures in the budget, taking steps to build up reserves buffers, and greater exchange rate flexibility to restore competitiveness. However, staff also agreed that with steadfast commitment to reform, Egypt’s prospects could be stronger than assumed in staff’s projections. In particular, the recovery in investment could exceed expectations.
    Keywords: Article IV consultation reports;Current account deficits;Fiscal consolidation;Fiscal reforms;Oil subsidies;Energy sector;Banking sector;Economic indicators;Debt sustainability analysis;Staff Reports;Press releases;Egypt;
    Date: 2015–02–11
  7. By: Cahit Guven; Gizem Nur Han; Zolzaya Luvsandorj; Mehmet Ulubasoglu
    Abstract: The Gallipoli Campaign was one of the hardest fought wars in modern human history. A manmade disaster that occurred exactly 100 years ago on a narrow geographic strip on the Gallipoli peninsula, it claimed the lives of a total of approximately 120,000 soldiers from the belligerent powers, the Ottoman Empire on one side, and Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, British India and Newfoundland, on the other. Despite its significance in the world history, the Gallipoli Campaign has been subject to little systematic investigation for its consequences. We empirically examine the effects of this war on children who lived in Anatolia and were aged under five in 1915. Combining the Turkish census data with military records that provide information on the number of Turkish soldiers killed in the Gallipoli Campaign from each of 67 provinces in Turkey, we find significant evidence that the war severely affected the socioeconomic outcomes of many survivor children later in life. Our estimates document that, for every additional 1,000 soldiers killed from a province, indicating the severity of the war exposure, children from that province lost 0.12 to 0.17 years of schooling, or were 1.3% to 2.5% more likely to remain illiterate. These are substantive effects given that average years of schooling in our whole sample is 1.47 years and literacy rate is 34%. Our results are robust to controlling for birth-year- and birth-province-fixed effects, falsification tests, and alternative definitions of treatment.
    Keywords: Gallipoli War, children, socioeconomic outcomes in adulthood, treatment
    Date: 2015–04–13
  8. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: This paper discusses Morocco’s First Review Under the Arrangement Under the Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL). Significant progress was made in implementing the reform agenda. The program remains broadly on track, and Morocco continues to meet the qualification criteria for a PLL. The fiscal end-September indicative target was missed by 0.7 percent of GDP. Subject to the Executive Board’s positive assessment in the context of the 2014 Article IV consultation, the IMF staff recommends the completion of the first review under the PLL arrangement.
    Keywords: Precautionary and Liquidity Line;Fiscal policy;Budgetary reforms;Fiscal reforms;Monetary policy;Bank supervision;Economic indicators;Letters of Intent;Staff Reports;Press releases;Morocco;
    Date: 2015–02–23
  9. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that Morocco has made important strides in maintaining macroeconomic stability in a difficult environment, but challenges remain to reduce fiscal and external vulnerabilities, strengthen growth, create jobs, and tackle poverty. Growth slowed in 2014 as a result of a contraction in agricultural activity following an exceptional 2013 crop and weak demand from Europe. However, growth is expected to rebound in 2015 to about 4.4 percent and remain robust in the medium term as external demand and domestic confidence strengthen. Executive Directors have commended the authorities for their strong policy actions, which have reduced economic vulnerabilities.
    Keywords: Article IV consultation reports;Economic conditions;Economic growth;Unemployment;Fiscal policy;Fiscal reforms;Monetary policy;Economic indicators;Staff Reports;Press releases;Morocco;
    Date: 2015–02–23
  10. By: Zouag, Nada; Driouchi, Ahmed; Achehboune, Amale
    Abstract: Abstract This paper looks at the current situation of health deficits and shortages in Morocco with a focus on the roles of medical education and prospects for the health workforce for the period 2010-2030. The attained results from both trend description and simulations of patterns show major shortages relative to the needs. The existence of these trends appeals for further cooperation in the areas of health care through emphasis on medical education and research. These outcomes appear to be promising for the pursuit of satisfying the needs of a growing population and demand for health care.
    Keywords: Keywords: Morocco-Health Workforce-Simulations
    JEL: I1 I14 I15
    Date: 2015–04–10
  11. By: Ezzahid, Elhadj; Chatri, Abdellatif
    Abstract: Our main goal in this paper is to classify productive sectors according to the combination of two effects. The first effect lies in the change of their external dependency on imported inputs. The second effect is related to the change of their ability to generate value-added by unit of final demand. To perform this ordering of productive sectors, we use an input-output model after domesticating inter-industries tables of flows for the period 1999-2009. The domestication of the available matrix of intermediate consumption is necessary because the statistical authority in Morocco does not distinguish between imported and domestically produced inputs. Two of our results worth to be highlighted. First, the imports elasticity with respect to growth is superior to unity. This means that 1% increase of Gross Domestic Product produces an increase of imports of more than 1%. The second result is that there are no productive sectors belong to the most virtuous classes of sectors characterized by an increase of their ability to generate more value added and to reduce their reliance on imports. The higher imports dependency (leakages) is the consequence of increased openness of the Moroccan economy, but also from lower linkages between domestic productive sectors.
    Keywords: Input-output analysis, Backward linkages, Leakages, Structural change, Value added, imports Morocco.
    JEL: C67 D57
    Date: 2015–04–02
  12. By: Shahbaz, Muhammad; Sherafatian-Jahromi, Reza; Malik, Muhammad Nasir; Shabbir, Muhammad Shahbaz; Jam, Farooq Ahmed
    Abstract: This paper contributes in economic literature by investigating the impact of defense spending on income inequality in case of Iran using time series data over the period of 1971-2011. For this purpose, we have applied the ARDL bounds testing approach to cointegration for long run relationship in the presence of structural breaks arising in the series. The stationarity properties of the variables are tested using structural break unit root tests. The causal relationship between defense spending and income inequality is examined by employing the VECM Granger causality approach. Our findings validate the long run relationship between the series. The results indicate that defense spending improves income distribution in Iran. An inverted-U shaped relationship exists between defense spending and income inequality while economic growth reduces income inequality. The causality analysis reveals that defense spending Granger causes income inequality and feedback effect exists between income inequality and economic growth.
    Keywords: Defense Spending, Income Inequality
    JEL: C5
    Date: 2015–04–05
  13. By: Michael, Bryane; Apostoloski, Nenad
    Abstract: The wealth management industry has expanded greatly in the Middle East -- following the fortunes of wealth itself. How can wealth managers identify and grow their portfolios in this region? What policies can they push for in order to build wealth management and private banking services? What threats does ordinary retail business pose to the premium model?
    Keywords: wealth management,middle east
    JEL: G21 F23
    Date: 2014
  14. By: Pritha Mitra; Amr Hosny; Gohar Abajyan; Mark Fischer
    Abstract: The Middle East and Central Asia’s economic growth potential is slowing faster than in other emerging and developing regions, dampening hopes for reducing persistent unemployment and improving the region’s generally low living standards. Why? And is it possible to alter this course? This paper addresses these questions by estimating potential growth, examining its supply-side drivers, and assessing which of them could be most effective in raising potential growth. The analysis reveals that the region’s potential growth is expected to slow by ¾ of a percentage point more than the EMDC average over the next five years. The reasons behind this slowdown differ across the region. Lower productivity growth drives the slowdown in the Caucasus and Central Asia and is also weighing on growth across the Middle East (MENAP); while a lower labor contribution to potential growth is the main driver in MENAP. Moving forward, given some natural constraints on labor, total factor productivity growth is key to unlocking the region’s higher growth potential. For oil importers, raising physical capital accumulation through greater investment will also play an important role.
    Keywords: Economic growth;Middle East and Central Asia;Economic conditions;Potential output;Total factor productivity;Regional economics;potential growth, productivity, output gap, production function, Middle East and Central Asia
    Date: 2015–03–20
  15. By: International Monetary Fund
    Keywords: Fiscal policy;Revenues;Government expenditures;Nonoil sector;Economic growth;Productivity;Inflation;Selected Issues Papers;Qatar;
    Date: 2015–04–02
  16. By: Yossi Yakhin; Natalya Presman
    Abstract: The paper utilizes a theoretical stock-flow accounting model of the labor market, similar to Blanchard and Diamond (1989). Identifying restrictions are derived from the theoretical model and are imposed on a SVAR system. The estimation allows for decomposing fluctuations to their cyclical and structural components. The model is applied to the Israeli economy. The estimates suggest that non-cyclical factors account for at least half of the decline of the unemployment rate during the period between 2004-Q1, when unemployment peaked at 10.9 percent, and 2011-Q4, when it marked a trough at 5.4 percent; suggesting a shift inward of the Beveridge curve.
    Keywords: Labor markets;Israel;Unemployment;Structural vector autoregression;Econometric models;Time series;Structural unemployment, Beveridge curve, SVAR with sign restrictions
    Date: 2015–03–16
  17. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: KEY ISSUES Context. Qatar is implementing an ambitious diversification strategy through a large public investment program, while retaining its systemic role in the global natural gas market. The policy framework is being strengthened in a number of areas, including fiscal and financial policies. Growth is expected to remain strong this year, but will slow going forward. The recent large drop in oil prices will lead to a substantial deterioration of the fiscal and external balances. Focus. This year’s consultation focused on these key issues: 1. Living with cheap oil. Qatar’s public finances remain sustainable at expected oil prices, but in contrast to the recent past, projected budget balances no longer appear consistent with intergenerational equity. Measures to improve the budget balance by 5 percent of non-hydrocarbon GDP should be implemented gradually over the medium term. Policymakers should specify clear medium-term fiscal objectives, make the annual budgets binding, and further increase transparency of fiscal accounts. The prospects of persistently low oil prices and slowing medium-term growth also call for intensification of diversification efforts through further improvements in the business environment, higher education quality, and labor market reforms, which would also make growth more inclusive. 2. Risks from public investments. The ongoing investment program is essential for economic development, but entails a risk of overheating the economy in the near term, while creating overcapacity over the medium term. Recent progress in improving public investment management to tackle these risks is welcome. Consideration should be given to raising the real estate transaction fees to deter speculators and further increasing land supply. 3. Financial sector. Banks remain sound and the financial regulatory agenda is moving ahead, but emerging risks and vulnerabilities need to be carefully monitored. These include rapidly growing credit to selected sectors and across the border. Further enhancements to the early warning system, including improving availability of real estate statistics, are needed.
    Keywords: Article IV consultation reports;Economic growth;Public investment;Oil prices;Real estate prices;Bank supervision;Economic indicators;Balance of payments statistics;Staff Reports;Press releases;Qatar;
    Date: 2015–04–02
  18. By: Onour, Ibrahim
    Abstract: Research Problem: The primary purpose of the paper is to set up a macroeconomic model that depict domestic inflation dynamics in a conflict economy impeded by parallel market for foreign exchange and internal political conflict. Research methodology: To investigate domestic inflation sensitivity to macro variables time-varying coefficient estimation approach employed on monthly data from Sudan during the period from January 2008 to December2013. Results: While domestic money growth (government spending) is the main driver of domestic inflation,the increasing role of parallel market for foreign exchange and imported inflation on domestic inflation reveal increasing sensitivity of the economy to external shocks. Also indicated that our model based estimates of domestic inflation rate is about 22% above the officially announced inflation rate. Recommendations: To control domestic inflation it is essential to control growth in domestic money creation and adopt more flexible official foreign exchange rate that enables inflation trageting policy.
    Keywords: Inflation, parallel market, money growth
    JEL: E3 E30 E31 E4 E44
    Date: 2015–03–07
  19. By: International Monetary Fund
    Keywords: Fiscal policy;Economic growth;Natural resources;Public investment;Labor markets;Economic models;Selected Issues Papers;Mauritania;
    Date: 2015–02–12

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