nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2017‒05‒07
fifteen papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Employment’s Role in Enabling and Constraining Marriage in the Middle East and North Africa By Caroline Krafft; Ragui Assaad
  2. The Role of Housing Markets in the Timing of Marriage in Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia By Ragui Assaad; Caroline Krafft; Dominique J. Rolando
  3. Institutions as Causes and Effects: North African Electoral Systems during the Arab Spring By Carey, John M.; Masoud, Tarek; Reynolds, Andrew S.
  4. Diaspora Networks as a Bridge between Civilizations By Jackline Wahba; Ishac Diwan; Michele Tuccio
  5. On the Decomposition and Dynamics of Inequality of Opportunities: A Special Focus on Early Childhood Health and Nutrition in Tunisia By Mohamed Amara; Hatem Jemmali
  6. Access to Healthcare, Utilization and Health Outcomes in Turkey By Burhan Can Karahasani; Firat Bilgel
  7. Maghreb Rural-Urban Migration: The Movement to Morocco’s Towns By Jamal Bouoiyour; Amal Miftah; Christophe Muller
  8. Firm Financing and Growth in the Arab Region By Soha Ismail; Juan Jose Cortina Lorente; Sergio L. Schmukler
  9. Energy Consumption and Regional Economic Growth: The Case of Iranian Manufacturing Sector By Cheratian, Iman; Goltabar, Saleh
  10. OPEC, Saudi Arabia, and the Shale Revolution: Insights from Equilibrium Modelling and Oil Politics By Ansari, Dawud
  11. Cash Transfers and Labor Supply: Evidence from A Large-Scale Program in Iran By Djavad Salehi-Isfahani; Mohammad H. Mostafavi-Dehzooei
  12. أثر تنويع الاستثمار الحكومي على النمو الاقتصادي في الجزائر دراسة اقتصادية قياسية للفترة : 1990-2016 By satour, rachid; choukri, ben zarour
  13. السياحة والنمو الاقتصادي في الجزائر : الأدلة من التكامل المشترك و تحليل السببية By Benzarour, Choukri; satour, rachid
  14. Gcc 국가들의 물류허브 구축전략과 한국의 협력방안사우디아라비아와 UAE를 중심으로 (Logistics Hub Strategy of the GCC Countries and Policy Implications: With a Focus on Saudi Arabia and the UAE) By Lee , Kwon Hyung; Son , Sung Hyun; Park , Jaeeun; Jang , Yun Hee
  15. 국제유가 하락과 한ㆍ중동 협력방안: GCC 산유국을 중심으로 (Lower Oil Prices and Economic Cooperation between Korea and the Middle East) By Lee , Kwon Hyung; Son , Sung Hyun; Jang , Yun Hee; Ryou, Kwang Ho

  1. By: Caroline Krafft; Ragui Assaad (University of Minnesota)
    Abstract: This paper makes use of a series of comparable surveys to investigate the role of employment in enabling and constraining marriage for young men and women in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia. It draws on several key strains of theoretical literature, including the global and regional life course transitions literature and the literature on the economics of marriage, both globally and in the Middle East and North Africa. Three key empirical questions about the role of employment in enabling or constraining marriage are examined: (i) How do different labor market statuses affect the timing and probability of marriage? (ii) How much of the effect of employment statuses on marriage are mediated through different qualities of the job, such as the security and prestige of jobs or earnings and ability to save? and (iii) Does searching for a longer time for a formal job pay off as a strategy for accelerating marriage? Our findings confirm previous research which shows that for men both employment and the quality of that employment matter for the timing of marriage. The effect of public sector employment on raising the hazard of marriage increases after accounting for endogeneity in Egypt and Tunisia. For women, the results suggest that employment is endogenous to the timing of the marriage decision and once endogeneity is taken into account, we find that public sector employment substantially increases the hazard of marriage in all three countries. We also found that, from a perspective of speeding up marriage, it may be worthwhile for young people to remain in the unemployment state longer if that leads to obtaining a higher quality job.
    Date: 2017–10–04
  2. By: Ragui Assaad (University of Minnesota); Caroline Krafft; Dominique J. Rolando
    Abstract: The transition to adulthood in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is increasingly characterized by young people’s desire to form independent, nuclear households. Forming such households requires either buying or building a dwelling or obtaining a rental unit. Policies governing housing markets, such as rent control, and limited financing options have historically made access to housing for young couples particularly challenging. In this paper, we examine housing markets in Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia and their impact on the timing of marriage. A particular focus of the paper is how housing policy reforms, such as the liberalization of rental markets in Egypt, have affected the timing of marriage. We find that Egypt’s rental reforms accelerated marriages and led to a reversal in the trend of rising age at marriage. Jordan’s healthy rental market has also likely facilitated marriage, while the sharply rising age at marriage in Tunisia may be due to an inadequate supply of rental housing.
    Date: 2017–10–04
  3. By: Carey, John M. (Dartmouth College); Masoud, Tarek (Harvard University); Reynolds, Andrew S. (University of NC)
    Abstract: From late 2010 through 2011, popular uprisings toppled authoritarian regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. In each country, a key component of the new regime's "founding moment" was the selection of rules for the first democratically elected assembly. This paper asks how the design of electoral systems affected the outcomes of the founding elections. We are interested in whether the rules of competition were consequential in determining winners and losers, and to the quality and trajectory of democratization. Our conclusions are based on analysis of district level results from the list proportional representation component of each election and on first person interviews with actors in who participated in the design of electoral rules.
    Date: 2015–08
  4. By: Jackline Wahba (University of Southampton); Ishac Diwan; Michele Tuccio
    Abstract: This paper explores the effect of international migration on the so-called clash of civilizations. Exploiting Gallup data on North Africa and the Middle East, we study the impact of having family members abroad on opinions about the relation between the Western and Muslim worlds. We find that households with migrants in Europe and North America have more positive attitudes towards the West than those with no migrants, or those with migrants in a Gulf country. We also show that in Tunisia having a migrant abroad has helped families go through the difficult post revolution period while keeping a positive and optimistic attitude towards the future, independently of their income level. Overall, our findings point at the important role of international migration as a bridge between civilizations, and as a catalyst for long-term peace and stability in troubled origin countries.
    Date: 2017–11–05
  5. By: Mohamed Amara; Hatem Jemmali (Faculty of Economic Sciences and Management of Sousse)
    Abstract: It is widely recognized in the public health literature that health and nutrition during the early childhood period have important long-term and sometimes irreversible consequences on health and wellbeing later in life. In this paper, we attempt to analyze deeply the patterns of inequality of opportunity in health and nutrition outcomes among under-five children in Tunisia. In order to attain such objective, we use several tools, including comparison of the distributions of considered outcomes across a number of circumstances groups; computation of the Human Opportunity Index and estimation of the relative contributions of circumstances using the Shapley decomposition. The main finding reveal reasonable and low levels of inequality in access to all basic healthcare services and nutrition except access to improved water and sanitation. The parents' education, wealth and location of residence are key factors causing such low inequalities. Without more inclusive and pro-poor policy interventions, there are few chances for children belonging in poor families and living in marginalized rural areas to spring out of the poverty lived by their parents.
    Date: 2017–11–05
  6. By: Burhan Can Karahasani; Firat Bilgel (Okan University, Turkey)
    Abstract: This paper examines the link between healthcare access/utilization and health outcomes in Turkey within a spatial framework. Our initial set of findings highlight an overall duality in health indicators which is getting stronger once spatial dimension is included. Specifically we find wider spatial dichotomy for health outcomes relative to access and utilization measures. Finally once we consider unobserved heterogeneity, spatial spillovers and spatial variability; our results pin point a non-robust link between healthcare access/utilization measures and health outcomes which works better among the already developed regions of Turkey. Overall our combined results indicate an ongoing polarization of health-based human capital development which coincides with local variations of the relationship between healthcare access/utilization and outcomes in Turkey.
    Date: 2017–04–26
  7. By: Jamal Bouoiyour (University of Pau); Amal Miftah; Christophe Muller
    Abstract: Using data from national-level households survey, this study seeks to fill a gap in the migration literature by analyzing the determinant of rural migration in the case of Morocco. In contrast to the evidence in the international migration literature, our results support the negative selection into internal migration. Specifically, the probability of being a household without migrants decreases with educational level of the household and asset holdings compared to non-migrant households. This suggests that rural migration can benefit home communities and family members left behind by increasing household income and thus easing liquidity constraints, thereby promoting investment in physical and human capital. These results are in line with that related to the propensity to remit and the amount remitted that seemingly decrease with the individual level of education of household.
    Date: 2017–10–04
  8. By: Soha Ismail (The World Bank); Juan Jose Cortina Lorente; Sergio L. Schmukler
    Abstract: This paper provides a first analysis of the extent to which firms in the Arab region use capital markets to obtain financing and grow. It addresses two questions: First, how many and which firms issue equity, bonds, and syndicated loans in the Arab region? Second, how do these firms perform relative to non-issuing firms? To tackle these questions, a uniquely matched dataset of firm-level issuances and balance sheet information of 1,462 firms in the Arab region is constructed. Two main findings emerge from the analysis. (1) Over the last two decades, the amounts raised in equity, bond, and syndicated loan markets have considerably increased and been associated with an increasing number of issuing firms. (2) The typical issuing firm is larger, grows faster, is more leveraged, and holds more long-term debt relative to the typical non-issuer. Moreover, issuers seem to be initially larger than non-issuers in terms of assets, turnover, and the number of employees, and even grow faster over time. The firm size distribution of issuers lies to the right and shifts more rightwards over time compared to the distribution of non-issuers, indicating a divergence in firm size among listed firms.
    Date: 2017–11–05
  9. By: Cheratian, Iman; Goltabar, Saleh
    Abstract: The relationship between energy consumption and economic growth has undergone extensive investigation and the empirical evidences are mixed ranging from bi- and uni-directional causality to no causality. These conflicts may be due to the fact that countries have different energy consumption patterns and various sources of energy. This paper is the first study on causal relationships between industrial energy consumption and real regional economic growth based on the panel data for 31 provinces in Iran over the period 2004–2014. We employ the GMM-SYS approach for the estimation of the panel vector autoregression (PVAR) model. Afterwards, by doing an in-depth analysis of energy consumption data, the purpose of this paper is to contribute to the debate by examining the causality in various forms of energy consumption (Diesel fuel, Natural Gas, Gasoline, Kerosene, LPG&LNG, Petroleum and Electricity). We discover: (a) totally, there is bidirectional causality between industrial energy consumption and regional growth; (b) regional growth leads to Gasoline consumption; (c) Natural gas consumption leads to regional growth; (d) there exists no causal relationship between regional growth and Diesel fuel, Kerosene, LPG&LNG and Petroleum consumption; (e) there is also bidirectional causality between industrial electricity consumption and regional economic growth. Taken together, the results of this study involve valuable information for policy makers at regional level.
    Keywords: Energy consumption, GDP PerCapita, Manufacturing sector, Causality, Panel VAR, Iran.
    JEL: C33 L60 N55 O13 Q43 R11
    Date: 2017–04–15
  10. By: Ansari, Dawud
    Abstract: Why did OPEC not cut oil production in the wake of 2014’s price fall? This study aims at aiding the mostly qualitative discussion with quantitative evidence from computing quarterly partial market equi-libria Q4 2011 – Q4 2015 under present short-term profit maximisation and different competition set-ups. Although the model performs reasonably well in explaining pre-2014 prices, all setups fail to cap-ture low prices, which fall even beyond perfect competition outcomes. This result is robust with respect to large variations in cost parameters. Rejecting present short-term profit maximisation, as well as a qualitative discussion of Saudi Arabian politics and the shale oil revolution, lead to the conclusion that the price drop of 2014-16 was most plausibly the result of an attempt to defend market shares and to test for shale oil resilience, besides being fuelled by other factors such as tightening climate policies. Although shale oil might have increased competition permanently (as supported by model results), the agreement of December 2016 should not be misunderstood as an OPEC defeat.
    Keywords: Crude oil; OPEC; Shale oil; Oil price; Equilibrium modelling; Saudi Arabia; Shale revolution
    JEL: C61 C63 L13 L71 O53 Q31 Q35
    Date: 2017–04–01
  11. By: Djavad Salehi-Isfahani (Virginia Tech); Mohammad H. Mostafavi-Dehzooei
    Abstract: We study the impact of a nation-wide unconditional cash transfer program on labor supply in Iran. In 2011, the government started monthly deposits of cash into individual family accounts amounting to 29% of the median household income. We use panel data and fixed effects to study the causal effect of the cash transfers on labor supply using the exogenous variation in the intensity of treatment, which we define as the value of cash transfers relative to household income in the year before transfers. We also use a difference-in-differences methodology that relies on exogenous variation in the time households first started receiving transfers. With the exception of youth, who have weak ties to the labor market, we find no evidence that cash transfers reduced labor supply, while service sector workers appear to have increased their hours of work, perhaps because some used transfers to expand their business.
    Date: 2017–04–05
  12. By: satour, rachid; choukri, ben zarour
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to measure the impact of government investment diversification on economic growth in Algeria during the period 1990-2016 using the descriptive, analytical and econometric tools. This research is based on the theoretical study of the investment determinants and it relationship to economic growth. The relations are drawn in the form of economic models to be estimated and trying to bring them down to the reality of the Algerian economy. The results of this study showed that the size of government investments in the industrial sector (IGIND) and in the education and training sector (IGUDF) influenced Algeria's economic growth measured by the size of GDP. It can be deduced from this research that the diversification of direct (public) investments has a central, pivotal and positive role in raising economic growth rates. These results confirm the validity of theories of self-growth in the Algerian economy.
    Keywords: investment, diversification of government investment, economic growth, impact measurement
    JEL: A10
    Date: 2017–04–25
  13. By: Benzarour, Choukri; satour, rachid
    Abstract: Tourism is increasingly being recognized as an essential component of economic growth in Algeria. This paper investigates the relationship between economic growth and tourism development in Algeria. The purpose of this research is to test empirically the long-term relationship between economic growth and tourism development for annual data collected between 1995 and 2014. The study uses a multi-variable model that includes gross domestic product and as a proxy of economic growth and a variable reflecting the tourism economy such as arrivals of international tourists, income from expatriate spending. Other relevant variables are added to estimate the econometric model.
    Keywords: Key words: Causality, Cointegration, Tourism, economic growth, Algeria.
    JEL: C22 C54 L83 L88
    Date: 2016–09–12
  14. By: Lee , Kwon Hyung (Korea Institute for International Economic Policy); Son , Sung Hyun (Korea Institute for International Economic Policy); Park , Jaeeun (Korea Institute for International Economic Policy); Jang , Yun Hee (Korea Institute for International Economic Policy)
    Abstract: Korean Abstract: 사우디아라비아, UAE 등 GCC(Gulf Cooperation Council)를 구성하는 6개국은 지난 1970년대부터 국가 인프라 건설 및 새로운 성장산업 육성을 위해 경제다각화(economic diversification) 정책을 추진해왔다. 이는 석유 및 가스 자원에 대한 과도한 의존도가 거시경제의 안정성 및 경제성장의 지속가능성을 저해한다고 판단했기 때문이다. GCC 국가들은 이러한 경제다각화 정책의 일환으로 공항, 항만, 철도 등 물류 기반시설을 확충하고 있다. 이와 함께 물류 기반시설과 연계된 자유무역지대 또는 산업단지 등과 같은 배후단지 조성이 활발해지고 있다. 배후단지에서는 물류의 기본적인 기능인 하역, 보관, 포장, 운송 등 이외에 가공, 조립 등의 공정을 거쳐 더 많은 부가가치를 창출하고 있다. 이를 기반으로 해외자본 및 다국적 기업의 유치도 늘어나고 있다. 본 연구에서는 이와 같이 물류 기반시설 및 배후단지 건설을 기반으로 관련 산업 및 기업을 육성하고 해외자본 및 기업을 유치하는 경제다각화 정책을 ‘물류허브(logistics hub) 구축전략’으로 명명하고, 이에 대응한 우리나라의 대중동 산업 및 물류협력 고도화 방안을 제시하고자 한다. 또한 사우디아라비아와 UAE를 중심으로 물류허브 구축전략의 내용과 국내외 기업의 진출 사례를 분석하고 동 지역에 진출하려는 국내 기업과 이를 지원하는 정부에 줄 수 있는 시사점을 도출하고자 한다. English Abstract: The aim of the research is to review strategic policies toward logistics hub of the GCC countries including infrastructure and hinterland development and to suggest government policies to upgrade industrial and logistics cooperation between Korea and GCC countries. In particular, logistics hub policies promoted in Saudi Arabia and UAE are analysed as case studies to draw some implications for the government policies. To summarize research outcomes produced in each chapter, chapter 2 examined government policies for economic diversification and their background and economic role of logistics hub. The oil and gas sector in the GCC countries occupied about 40% of GDP with the manufacturing sector about 10%, which shows that GCC economies relied highly on the oil and gas sector. Economic diversification policies are designed to reduce the degree of dependency on the hydrocarbon sector. In other words, they are implemented to expand production and exports of non-hydrocarbon sectors for sustainable economic growth and stable employment with high-level income. It should be noted that logistics hub with infrastructure and industrial base should be understood as a base for economic diversification. Chapters 3 and 4 examined logistics promotion policies of Saudi Arabia and UAE. Logistics competitiveness of Saudi Arabia is in the average range of GCC countries with inefficient logistics procedures and trade regulations. Chapter 5 suggested government policies to upgrade industrial and logistics cooperation between Korea and the GCC countries.
    Keywords: Economic Development; Economic Cooperation; Economic Diversification; Distribution Hub; Industrial Cooperation
    Date: 2015–12–30
  15. By: Lee , Kwon Hyung (Korea Institute for International Economic Policy); Son , Sung Hyun (Korea Institute for International Economic Policy); Jang , Yun Hee (Korea Institute for International Economic Policy); Ryou, Kwang Ho (Korea Institute for International Economic Policy)
    Abstract: Korean Abstract: 본 연구는 최근 국제유가 하락에 따라 한ㆍ중동 경제협력이 위축될 것이라는 우려가 있지만, 유가 하락이 중동 산유국에는 오히려 경제 체질을 개선할 수 있는 기회가 될 수 있고, 우리는 이러한 기회요인을 적극적으로 활용하여 향후 한ㆍ중동 동반성장을 위한 지속적인 경협관계를 만들어나가야 한다는 점을 제시한다는 데 의의가 있다. English Abstract: The aim of the research is to suggest economic cooperation framework between Korea and the Middle East in the times of lower oil prices. A rapid decline of oil prices since the second half of 2014 has negatively impacted on economy of the GCC(Gulf Cooperation Council) countries which heavily depend on oil and gas sector. GCC countries are facing economic recession with the worsening of the financial situation, lack of liquidity and decrease of investment. The sharp drop in oil revenues due to lower oil prices caused government fiscal distress and made the GCC countries use accumulated foreign exchange reserves and sovereign wealth fund. They also prioritize projects focusing on social infrastructure including education and public services, leading to decrease of number of project contracts awarded in the GCC region. In response to the economic slowdown and fiscal burden, GCC countries have strengthened policy measures for economic diversification. They have promoted various supporting policies to nurture their strategic industries - most notably the renewable energy sector - and competitive small and medium-sized enterprises in the region. In order to regain fiscal soundness, GCC countries have been trying to cut their energy subsidies and revise the tax system, expanding government loans and privatization of their state-owned companies than the past. Moreover, they are making more efforts to increase foreign direct investment inflows with improvement of business environment and PPP(Public-Private Partnership) procedures. The economic difficulties facing the GCC countries due to lower oil prices is causing a significant concern over dwindling economic cooperation between Korea and the GCC countries. In response to this, a new cooperation framework is needed to strengthen bilateral ties for shared growth. Four fields of cooperation can be identified as follows. First, industrial cooperation should be reinforced to expand economic diversification and job creation in the GCC countries. Second, energy cooperation should be broadened into the fields of renewable energy development and energy efficiency technology other than energy trade. Third, investment cooperation need to be strengthened to facilitate joint investment in the region including joint ventures. Fourth, institutional cooperation between governments is needed to share Korean institutional reforms in the fields of tax, subsidy, privatization, FDI and so on, deepening mutual understanding of economic partners for co-development.
    Date: 2016–12–30

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