nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2016‒02‒17
four papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. The Impact of Syrian Refugees on the Labor Market in Neighboring Countries: Empirical Evidence from Jordan By Fakih, Ali; Ibrahim, May
  2. Intergenerational Educational Mobility in Turkey By Tansel, Aysit
  3. Immigration and Prices: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Syrian Refugees in Turkey By Balkan, Binnur; Tumen, Semih
  4. Islamism and Gender Relations in the Muslim World as Reflected in Recent World Values Survey Data By Tausch, Arno; Heshmati, Almas

  1. By: Fakih, Ali (Lebanese American University); Ibrahim, May (World Bank)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes time-sensitive data on a humanitarian crisis in the Middle East. It aims to assess the impact of the steep influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan on the country's labor market since the onset of the conflict in Syria (March 2011). As of August 2014, nearly 3 million registered Syrians have sought refuge in neighboring countries (Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey), according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Jordan and Lebanon are hosting the majority of them. This paper utilizes data regarding unemployment rates, employment rates, labor force participation, the number of refugees, and economic activity at the level of governorates. The Vector Autoregressive (VAR) methodology is used to examine time series data from the most affected governorates in Jordan. The empirical results of Granger causality tests and impulse response functions show that there is no relationship between the influx of Syrian refugees and the Jordanian labor market. Our results are verified through a set of robustness checks.
    Keywords: forced refugees, host country, labor market, VAR model
    JEL: J61 H56 N45
    Date: 2016–01
  2. By: Tansel, Aysit (Middle East Technical University)
    Abstract: This paper aims to provide information on intergenerational educational mobility in Turkey over the last century (at least over the last 65 years). This is the first study explicitly on providing the association between parents' and children's education in Turkey over time unlike the previous studies of one point in time. Given the absence of longitudinal data, we make use of a unique data set on educational outcomes based on children recall of parental education. The data used is the result of Adult Education Survey of 2007. Several findings emerge from the analysis. First of all, children's and parents' educational outcomes are correlated. The intergenerational educational coefficient of the mothers is somewhat larger than that of the fathers. The intergenerational educational coefficients of both the mothers and the fathers decrease over the cohorts implying that intergenerational educational mobility increased significantly for the younger generations of children in Turkey. The chances of attaining a university degree for the children increases as fathers' completed schooling level increases. Men's chances of attaining high school or university education are substantially higher than that of women's. The association between parent and child education is stronger when parent educational background is poor. The results imply that the policy makes should focus on children with poor parental educational background and on women.
    Keywords: intergenerational mobility, educational transmission, Turkey
    JEL: I21 I28 J11 J62
    Date: 2015–12
  3. By: Balkan, Binnur (Central Bank of Turkey); Tumen, Semih (Central Bank of Turkey)
    Abstract: We exploit the regional variation in the unexpected (or forced) inflow of Syrian refugees as a natural experiment to estimate the impact of immigration on consumer prices in Turkey. Using a difference-in- differences strategy and a comprehensive data set on the regional prices of CPI items, we find that general level of consumer prices has declined by approximately 2.5 percent due to immigration. Prices of goods and services have declined in similar magnitudes. We highlight that the channel through which the price declines take place is the informal labor market. Syrian refugees supply inexpensive informal labor and, thus, substitute the informal native workers especially in informal labor intensive sectors. We document that prices in these sectors have fallen by around 4 percent, while the prices in the formal labor intensive sectors have almost remained unchanged. Increase in the supply of informal immigrant workers generates labor cost advantages and keeps prices lower in the informal labor intensive sectors.
    Keywords: immigration, consumer prices, Syrian refugees, natural experiment, informal employment
    JEL: C21 E31 J61
    Date: 2016–01
  4. By: Tausch, Arno (University of Innsbruck); Heshmati, Almas (Jönköping University, Sogang University)
    Abstract: Ever since Goldin (1995) proposed the idea that there is a U-shaped female labor force participation rate function in economic development, empirical research is stunned by the question why the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are characterized by such low rates of female labor force participation. This gap in labor economics research is all the more perplexing since gender equality, particularly in education and employment, significantly contributes to economic growth. The research strategy of the present paper is within a relatively new tradition in labor market research, initiated by the recent article by Besamusca, Tijdens, Keune and Steinmetz (2015), which does not exclude anymore the "religious factor" and what these authors call "gender ideology". Our analysis of the "gender ideology" of Islamism and gender values is based on an empirical analysis of World Values Survey data. In recent economic theory, Carvalho (2013) maintained that Muslim veiling is a strategy for integration, enabling women to take up outside economic opportunities while preserving their reputation within the community. The empirical data clearly support a pessimistic view. We show that Muslim Feminism, which implies according to our data analysis the rejection of the twin brothers - Islamism and the veil - and the democracy movement in the Muslim world are closely interrelated. Thus, it is imperative that Western Feminism develops solidarity with Muslim Feminism, and that labor economics does not exclude anymore "the religious factor" from the analytical frameworks explaining low female labor force participation rates.
    Keywords: economics of gender, sociology of economics, comparative study, political economy, female labor participation, religion, social values, index numbers, factor analysis, World Values Survey
    JEL: A13 C43 J15 J16 J21 J42 N30 Z12
    Date: 2016–01

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