nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2015‒09‒05
seven papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Low Wage Returns to Schooling in a Developing Country: Evidence from a Major Policy Reform in Turkey By Aydemir, Abdurrahman; Kirdar, Murat G.
  2. The Value of Socialized Medicine: The Impact of Universal Primary Healthcare Provision on Birth and Mortality Rates in Turkey By Resul Cesur; Pınar Mine Güneş; Erdal Tekin; Aydogan Ulker
  3. ​ Intangible Investment and Technical Efficiency: The Case of Software-Intensive Manufacturing Firms in Turkey By Derya Findik; Aysit Tansel
  4. United Arab Emirates: Staff Report for the 2015 Article IV Consultation By International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
  5. Yemen National Social Protection Monitoring Survey (NSPMS): 2012-2013 – Final Report By IPC-IG; Unicef Yemen
  6. Tax Policy in MENA Countries: Looking Back and Forward By Mario Mansour
  7. Jordan: Sixth Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement, Request for Waivers of Applicability of Performance Criteria, and Rephasing of Access By International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

  1. By: Aydemir, Abdurrahman (Sabanci University); Kirdar, Murat G. (Bogazici University)
    Abstract: In this paper, we estimate the returns on schooling for young men and women in Turkey using the exogenous and substantial variation in schooling across birth-cohorts brought about by the 1997 reform of compulsory schooling. We estimate that among 18- to 26-year-olds, the return from an extra year of schooling is almost zero for men and 3.8 percent for women. The low level of these estimates contrasts starkly with those estimated for other developing countries. We identify several reasons why the returns on schooling are low and why they are higher for women in our context. In particular, the policy alters the schooling distributions of men and women differently, thus the average causal effect we estimate puts a higher weight on the causal effect of schooling at higher grade levels for women than for men.
    Keywords: returns to education, compulsory schooling laws, wages, gender
    JEL: J18 J31 I21 I28
    Date: 2015–08
  2. By: Resul Cesur; Pınar Mine Güneş; Erdal Tekin; Aydogan Ulker
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of universal, free, and easily accessible primary healthcare on population health as measured by age-specific birth and mortality rates, focusing on a nationwide socialized medicine program implemented in Turkey. The Family Medicine Program (FMP), launched in 2005, assigns each Turkish citizen to a specific state-employed family physician, who offers a wide range of primary healthcare services that are free-of-charge. Furthermore, these services are provided at family health centers, which operate on a walk-in basis and are located within the neighborhoods in close proximity to the patients. To identify the causal impact of the FMP, we exploit the variation in its introduction across provinces and over time. Our estimates indicate that the FMP caused large declines in mortality rates across all age groups with more pronounced impacts among infants and the elderly, and a moderate reduction in the birth rates, primarily among teenagers. Furthermore, the results are suggestive that the program has also contributed towards equalization in the mortality disparities across provinces. Our findings highlight the importance of a nationwide supply-side intervention on improving public health.
    JEL: I0 I1 I11 I13 I14 I18 J13 J14
    Date: 2015–08
  3. By: Derya Findik (Science and Technology Policy Studies Program, Middle East Technical University 06800 Ankara, Turkey); Aysit Tansel (Cornell University, Ithaca, USA & Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey)
    Abstract: This chapter analyzes the effect of intangible investment on firm efficiency with an emphasis on its software component. Stochastic production frontier approach is used to simultaneously estimate the production function and the determinants of technical efficiency in the software intensive manufacturing firms in Turkey for the period 2003-2007. Firms are classified based on the technology group. High technology and low technology firms are estimated separately in order to reveal differentials in their firm efficiency. The results show that the effect of software investment on firm efficiency is larger in high technology firms which operate in areas such as chemicals, electricity, and machinery as compared to that of the low technology firms which operate in areas such as textiles, food, paper, and unclassified manufacturing. Further, among the high technology firms, the effect of the software investment is smaller than the effect of research and development personnel expenditure. This result shows that the presence of R&D personnel is more important than the software investment for software intensive manufacturing firms in Turkey.
    Date: 2015
  4. By: International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
    Abstract: KEY ISSUES Context. Lower oil prices are eroding long-standing fiscal and external surpluses, but the impact on economic activity in the UAE has been limited owing to large buffers. Real estate prices have declined somewhat since mid-2014, but rents are driving up inflation. Following fiscal consolidation in 2013, the fiscal stance was expansionary in 2014. Outlook and risks. The economic outlook is expected to moderate amid lower oil prices. Nonoil growth is projected to slow in 2015, before accelerating in the medium term. Export and revenue losses from lower oil prices will be the most significant transmission channel for the UAE economy. Macroeconomic policy mix. With persistently lower oil prices, gradual fiscal consolidation is important to strengthen long-term fiscal sustainability while cushioning negative effects on growth. It will require rationalization of spending and further mobilization of nonhydrocarbon revenues. Efforts on strengthening the medium-term budget frameworks need to continue. Liquidity management should remain supportive of credit growth. Financial stability. The banking sector is well capitalized, liquid, profitable, and with low NPLs. Timely implementation of the CBU’s plans to phase in Basel III capital and liquidity standards over 2015–19 will be important. Further developing the macroprudential framework and strengthening safety nets and the resolution framework for banks as well as the AML/CFT framework will also be important. Compliance with the loan concentration limits for GREs and local governments should be monitored and no exemption should be granted. Strengthening GRE balance sheets and proactive management of upcoming GRE debt repayments should continue. Economic diversification. Implementation of structural reforms should be pursued to strengthen competitiveness and accelerate private sector-led job creation for nationals. These could focus on further opening up foreign direct investment, improving selected areas of the business environment, and easing access to finance for startups and SMEs.
    Keywords: United Arab Emirates;United Arab Emirates;Staff Reports;Oil prices;Press releases;Liquidity management;Monetary policy;Islamic banking;Fiscal consolidation;Fiscal policy;Article IV consultation reports;Banking sector;Debt sustainability analysis;Economic indicators;monetary fund, government finances, finances, debt
    Date: 2015–08–04
  5. By: IPC-IG (IPC-IG); Unicef Yemen (IPC-IG)
    Abstract: "In Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, one half of the population lives below the poverty line. The Transitional Programme for Stabilization and Development, 2012-2014 and the Mutual Accountability Framework have identified the expansion of social protection mechanisms as a key priority for improving the living conditions of the poorest people in Yemen. Moreover, the National Dialogue Conference outcomes clearly state that every citizen has the right to social protection if unable to support his/her household. The National Social Protection Monitoring Survey (NSPMS) provides the data necessary for the Government to formulate comprehensive and adequate social protection mechanisms to meet the needs and guarantee the rights of Yemens poorest citizens, especially children, youth and women."(...)
    Keywords: Yemen, Social Protection, Monitoring Survey
    Date: 2015–08
  6. By: Mario Mansour
    Abstract: This paper reviews trends in taxation and revenue in MENA countries over 1990-2012, with a focus on non-resource taxes. On average, non-resource revenues declined slightly, while resource revenues soared. Country experiences vary: rates of main taxes and their revenues tend to be higher in the Magreb than in the Mashreq, except for the value-added tax, where lower rates are associated with equal or higher revenue; most oil producers raise little tax revenues—generally less than 5 percent of GDP—and most have reduced them since the late 1990s. But there are similarities: unlike common experience around the world, income taxes (not indirect taxes) have partially compensated for lost revenue from trade liberalization; revenues from indirect taxes have remained stable; personal income taxes have played an unimportant role as a revenue tool; and fees and stamp duties are significant revenue sources. Looking forward, tax reform challenges will also vary across countries: the Maghreb needs to focus on efficiency-enhancing reforms, especially in capital income and consumption taxes; the Mashreq have some room to increase revenue; and, there are ample opportunities to improve equity and reduce complexity of tax systems in all countries. Finally, the recent decline in oil prices and revenues is a reminder that even resource-rich GCC countries need to lay the basis of a tax system for the future.
    Keywords: Corporate income taxes;Consumption taxes;Cross country analysis;Algeria;Egypt;Saudi Arabia;Oman;Personal income taxes;Jordan;Kuwait;Libyan Arab Jamahiriya;Lebanon;Iraq;Iran, Islamic Republic of;Morocco;North Africa;Middle East;Mauritania;Yemen, Republic of;Syrian Arab Republic;Tax policy;Stamp duties;Taxation;Tax revenues;United Arab Emirates;Tunisia;resource revenues, tax reform, MENA, tax, revenues, revenue, taxes, General, Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies, Business Taxes and Subsidies, Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenues: Other Sources of Revenue, Other,
    Date: 2015–05–05
  7. By: International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
    Abstract: This paper discusses Jordan’s Sixth Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement, Request for Waivers of Applicability of Performance Criteria (PC), and Rephasing of Access. PC Program performance remains broadly on course. All end-March 2015 PCs are expected to be met. Structural performance saw improvement, including the pre-approval of a credit bureau and the establishment of a new public investment framework. There is an urgent need for broad-based policy actions in the labor market to put the unemployed into jobs, increase female labor force participation, and reform public-sector compensation and hiring practices. The IMF staff supports the completion of the sixth review and the related purchase.
    Keywords: Debt sustainability analysis;Economic indicators;Financial management;Staff Reports;Press releases;Letters of Intent;Jordan;Labor market reforms;Monetary policy;Fiscal reforms;Fiscal policy;Stand-by arrangement reviews;market, inflation, monetary fund, deficit, current account deficit
    Date: 2015–05–07

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