nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2017‒03‒05
eight papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. The Impact of Syrian Refugees on Natives' Labor Market Outcomes in Turkey: Evidence from a Quasi-Experimental Design By Evren Ceritoglu; Hatice Burcu Gurcihan Yunculer; Huzeyfe Torun; Semih Tumen
  2. "Gendered Patterns of Time Use over the Life Cycle: Evidence from Turkey" By Ebru Kongar; Emel Memis
  3. The Framework of Tunisian Textile and Clothing Industry By Kahia, Montassar
  4. Fiscal Incidence and Poverty Reduction: Evidence from Tunisia By Abebe Shimeles; Ahmed Moummi; Nizar Jouini; Nora Lustig
  5. Does public health insurance increase maternal health care utilization in Egypt? By Rashad, Ahmed Shoukry; Sharaf, Mesbah Fathy; Mansour, Elhussien I.
  6. Analyzing and Reforming Tunisia's Tax System By James Alm
  7. Algerian national media: freedom at a cost By Fatima El-Issawi
  8. Fiscal Policy, Inequality and Poverty in Iran: Assessing the Impact and Effectiveness of Taxes and Transfer By Ali Enami; Nora Lustig; Alireza Taqdiri

  1. By: Evren Ceritoglu; Hatice Burcu Gurcihan Yunculer; Huzeyfe Torun; Semih Tumen
    Abstract: Civil conflict in Syria, started in March 2011, led to a massive wave of forced immigration from the Northern Syria to the Southeastern regions of Turkey, which later had serious economic/political repercussions on the MENA region and most of the Europe. This paper exploits this natural experiment to estimate the impact of Syrian refugees on the labor market outcomes of natives in Turkey. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, we find that immigration has somewhat affected the employment outcomes of natives, while its impact on wage outcomes has been negligible. We document some employment losses among informal workers as a consequence of refugee inflows. Formal employment increased slightly potentially due to increased social services in the region. The majority of those who lost their informal jobs have either left the labor force or remained unemployed. Formal employment and unemployment rates have increased, while labor force participation, informal employment, and job finding rates have declined among natives. Disadvantaged groups – i.e., women, younger workers, and less-educated workers – have been affected the most. The prevalence of informal employment in the Turkish labor markets has amplified the negative impact of Syrian refugee inflows on natives’ labor market outcomes. Overall, the impact of Syrian refugee inflows on the Turkish labor markets has been limited, which suggests that the potential costs on the European and other affected labor markets might also be limited.
    Keywords: Syrian civil conflict, Immigration, Turkey, Labor market, Informality, Difference in differences
    JEL: J15 J21 J46 J61 C21
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Ebru Kongar; Emel Memis
    Abstract: Using data from the 2006 Turkish Time-Use Survey, we examine gender differences in time allocation among married heterosexual couples over the life cycle. While we find large discrepancies in the gender division of both paid and unpaid work at each life stage, the gender gap in paid and unpaid work is largest among parents of infants compared to parents of older children and couples without children. The gender gap narrows as children grow up and parents age. Married women's housework time remains relatively unchanged across their life cycle, while older men spend more time doing housework than their younger counterparts. Over the course of the life cycle, women's total work burden increases relative to men's. Placing our findings within the gendered institutional context in Turkey, we argue that gender-inequitable work-family reconciliation policies that are based on gendered assumptions of women's role as caregivers exacerbate gender disparities in time use.
    Keywords: Economics of Gender; Time Use; Life Cycle; Turkey
    JEL: D13 J16 J22
    Date: 2017–02
  3. By: Kahia, Montassar
    Abstract: In this paper, we will first present the textile and the clothing sector in the Tunisian economy. It is therefore very important to situate this sector in our economy, evaluating its various features and outline its strengths and weaknesses. We also focus on the historical evolution of Tunisian textile and clothing sector. We will establish then a comparison between Tunisia and China as part of the textile and clothing industry.
    Keywords: Tunisian economy, the textile and clothing industry, Chinese economy
    JEL: D4 D49 O5 P5
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Abebe Shimeles (African Development Bank); Ahmed Moummi (African Development Bank); Nizar Jouini (African Development Bank); Nora Lustig (Stone Center for Latin American Studies, Department of Economics, Tulane University. Commitment to Equity Institute (CEQI).)
    Abstract: Using the National Survey of Consumption and Household Living Standards for 2010,this paper estimates the incidence of the government’s taxation and spending in Tunisia. Taking into account the impact of direct taxes and transfers, indirect taxes and subsidies and the monetized value of in- kind transfers in education and health services, the Gini coefficient falls from 0.43 (before taxes and transfers) to 0.35 (after taxes and transfers), mainly due to taxes (30% of the decrease) and in-kind services (30% of the decrease). Most of the equalization is produced by personal income taxes and contributions to social security. Direct taxes are progressive and the VAT is regressive. Cash transfers contribute little to redistribution. While direct transfers are strongly progressive and equalizing, their share in the budget remains very limited (only 0.2%). Subsidies are equalizing, though much less so than cash transfers as benefits to the non-poor are higher than their population share (i.e., subsidies are progressive but only in relative terms). Primary and secondary education are strongly redistributive and equalizing while tertiary education is progressive only in relative terms since the poor still have limited access. Health spending is progressive.
    Keywords: fiscal policy, fiscal incidence, social spending, inequality, poverty, taxes, Tunisia
    JEL: H22 I38 D31
    Date: 2016–03
  5. By: Rashad, Ahmed Shoukry; Sharaf, Mesbah Fathy; Mansour, Elhussien I.
    Abstract: We assess the impact of health insurance on the utilization of maternal health care services in Egypt. A propensity score matching is used to control for baseline differences in the characteristics of the insured and uninsured women, to determine the difference in health care utilization between the two groups that is attributed solely to the health insurance coverage. The results yield that the national health insurance has a strong positive impact on most of the maternal healthcare indicators. Public health insurance coverage increases the likelihood of receiving antenatal care by about 7%, delivering in a public health facility by 8%, and the likelihood that a newborn receive vitamin A dose after delivery by 8.2%. However, women who are less educated, from a poor household, and rural regions, are less likely to be covered by a health insurance. The findings of this study would guide intervention measures that aim at improving health care utilization especially among the poor and other vulnerable groups.
    Keywords: maternal care utilization,health insurance,propensity score matching,Egypt
    JEL: I14 I15
    Date: 2016
  6. By: James Alm (Department of Economics, Tulane University)
    Abstract: Tunisia’s tax system has undergone significant structural reforms over the last several decades. Even so, its structure exhibits some major flaws, shortcomings that spill over to and affect the performance of the overall Tunisian economy. Further, the tax system continues to underperform in some fundamental ways, ways that also affect the rest of the economy. Finally, the structure of the Tunisian tax system has some notable shortcomings. This paper discusses these issues. It presents details of the main taxes, it analyzes several main features of this tax system, and it suggests various specific tax reforms that can be introduced both in the short term and in the longer term.
    Keywords: Tunisia, tax reform
    JEL: H20 H24 H25 H87
    Date: 2015–05
  7. By: Fatima El-Issawi
    Abstract: This report on Algerian national media and political change is part of the ‘Arab National Media and Politics: Democracy Revisited’ project, examining the relationship between Arab traditional mass media and the political sphere within the broad subject area of political change in the Arab world. Based on a series of around 30 in-depth qualitative interviews conducted with journalists and media stakeholders in Algeria, as well as analysis of media regulation and individual case studies, this report looks at the role played by national media – radio, television and print – in widening, or restricting, public debate under a competitive authoritarian system.
    JEL: L91 L96
    Date: 2017–02
  8. By: Ali Enami (Stone Center for Latin American Studies, Department of Economics, Tulane University. Commitment to Equity Institute (CEQI).); Nora Lustig (Stone Center for Latin American Studies, Department of Economics, Tulane University. Commitment to Equity Institute (CEQI).); Alireza Taqdiri (University of Akron, OH, USA)
    Abstract: Using the Iranian Household Expenditure and Income Survey (HEIS) for 2011/12, we apply the marginal contribution approach to determine the impact and effectiveness of each fiscal intervention, and the fiscal system as a whole, on inequality and poverty. Net direct and indirect taxes combined reduce the Gini coefficient by 0.0644 points and the headcount ratio by 61 percent. When the monetized value of in-kind benefits in education and health are included, the reduction in inequality is 0.0919 Gini points. Based on the magnitudes of the marginal contributions, we find that the main driver of these reduction is the Targeted Subsidy Program, a universal cash transfer program implemented in 2010 to compensate individuals for the elimination of energy subsidies. The main reduction in poverty occurs in rural areas, where the headcount ratio declines from 44 to 23 percent. In urban areas, fiscally-induced poverty reduction is more modest: the headcount ratio declines from 13 to 5 percent. Taxes and transfers are similar in their effectiveness in achieving their inequality-reducing potential. By achieving 40 percent of its inequality-reducing potential, the income tax is the most effective intervention on the revenue side. On the spending side, Social Assistance transfers are the most effective and they achieve 45 percent of their potential. Taxes are especially effective in raising revenue without causing poverty to rise, indicating that the poor are largely spared from being taxed. In contrast, since the bulk of transfers are not targeted to the poor, they are not very effective: the most effective ones achieve 20 percent of their poverty reduction potential. The effectiveness of the Targeted Subsidy Program could be improved by eliminating the transfer to top deciles and re-allocating the freed funds to the poor.
    Keywords: Inequality, poverty, marginal contribution, CEQ framework, policy simulation
    JEL: D31 H22 I38
    Date: 2016–07

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