nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2017‒05‒14
twelve papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. The Impact of Early Marriage on Women’s Employment in the Middle East and North Africa By Assaad, Ragui; Krafft, Caroline; Selwaness, Irene
  2. The Khaldun-Laffer Curve Revisited: A Personal Income Tax-Based Analysis for Turkey By Şen, Hüseyin; Bulut-Çevik, Zeynep Burcu; Kaya, Ayşe
  3. The Arab Spring and the Employability of Youth: Early Evidence From Egypt By Irene Selwaness; Rania Roushdy
  4. Determinants of bank deposits in Morocco By FERROUHI, El Mehdi
  5. Forced migration and attitudes towards domestic violence: Evidence from Turkey By Selim Gulesci
  6. Do Migrants Transfer Political and Cultural Norms to Their Origin Country? Some Evidence From Some Arab Countries By Jamal Bouoiyour; Amal Miftah
  8. On the Decomposition of Economic Inequality: A Methodology and an Application to Tunisia By Hatem Jemmali; Mohamed Amara
  9. Is Internal Migration A Way to Cope With Climate Change? Evidence From Egypt By Adel Ben Youssef; Mohamed Arouri; Cuong Viet Nguyen
  10. Evaluation of the Fruit Tree Productivity Project in Morocco: Design Report By Evan Borkum; Anitha Sivasankaran; Jane Fortson; Kristen Velyvis; Christopher Ksoll; Elena Moroz; Matt Sloan
  11. Capital Raising in the Arab World By Soha Ismail; Juan Jose Cortina Lorente; Sergio L. Schmukler
  12. Infrastructure Provision, Politics and Religion: Insights from Tunisia's New Democracy By Antonio Estache; Maleke Fourati

  1. By: Assaad, Ragui; Krafft, Caroline; Selwaness, Irene
    Abstract: Marriage is a central stage in the transition to adulthood in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This paper builds on the existing literature on the effect of marriage on women’s employment in MENA. Besides examining how different types of work are affected by early marriage (defined as marriage by the median age of marriage) in a multivariate setting, the contribution of this paper is to endogenize the marriage decision using an instrumental variable approach. We find that marriage by the median age reduces the probability of working for women by 47 percent in Jordan, 33 percent in Tunisia and 16 percent in Egypt. Much of the effect is due to a reduction in the probability of private wage work, which is reduced by 76 percent in Jordan, 57 percent in Tunisia and 40 percent in Egypt. Differences emerge across the three countries in the extent to which self-employment after marriage is available to women to compensate for the reduction in wage employment opportunities.
    Keywords: Economics of marriage,labor markets,employment,age at marriage,gender,Middle East and North Africa
    JEL: J12 J16 J21 J45 J46 N35
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Şen, Hüseyin; Bulut-Çevik, Zeynep Burcu; Kaya, Ayşe
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to revisit as well as empirically examine an old but still discussed postulate, the Khaldun-Laffer curve, on the basis of personal income tax by making use annual time-series data for Turkey for the period 1970-2015. The findings of the paper confirm the validity of the Khaldun-Laffer curve hypothesis. In addition, we infer that the optimal tax rate that maximizes the tax revenue generated from personal income taxation in Turkey is 15.03 percent. This rate is well-below than the current rate which we estimate as 15.37 percent, implying that Turkey’s current tax rate for personal income tax takes place in the prohibitive range of the Khaldun-Laffer curve. These findings suggest that the current tax rate should be lowered and to its optimal level to collect more tax revenue. Getting down the current rate to its revenue-maximizing rate not only would it enable the Turkish authorities to collect more revenues with a relatively lower rate, but also would allow them to minimize the substitution effects of personal income tax while maximizing the income revenues from it.
    Keywords: Tax Policy, Khaldun-Laffer Curve, Laffer Curve, Optimal Tax Rate, Personal Income Tax, Turkey
    JEL: E62 H2 H20
    Date: 2017–04–10
  3. By: Irene Selwaness (Cairo University); Rania Roushdy
    Abstract: This paper investigates the school-to-work transition of young people from subsequent graduation cohorts between 2005 and 2012 in Egypt. The analysis compares the early employment outcomes of those who left school after the January 25th, 2011 revolution to that of those who graduated before 2011. Using recent data from the 2014 Survey of Young People in Egypt (SYPE), we estimate the probability of transition to any first job within 18-month of finishing education and that of transitioning to a good quality job, controlling for the year of end of schooling. Preliminary findings show that while transitioning to a first job seemed not to be affected by the event of the 2011 revolution, young people experienced significantly lower chances to transition to good quality jobs.
    Date: 2017–05–18
  4. By: FERROUHI, El Mehdi
    Abstract: This paper aims to define the determinants of bank deposits in Morocco for the period 2003-2014 using panel data regression. Thus, we used deposits in Moroccan banks as dependent variables and twelve explanatory variables (banks’ size, logarithm of banks’ total assets ; bank’s capital to total assets ratio; external funding to total liabilities ratio; equity to total assets ratio; unemployment rate; inflation rate; growth rate of gross domestic product; foreign direct investment and financial crisis. Results obtained show that deposits are positively correlated with banks size, with both internal and external funding, with interest rate on deposits and with unemployment rate.
    Keywords: Deposits, Morocco, banks, panel data, bank-specific determinants, macroeconomic determinants
    JEL: G17 G21 G32
    Date: 2017–04
  5. By: Selim Gulesci
    Abstract: I explore the long-term effects of internal displacement caused by the Kurdish-Turkish conflict on women’s attitudes towards domestic violence. Using the Turkish Demographic and Health Survey, I show that forced migrants are more likely to view domestic violence as acceptable. As suggestive evidence, I use data from applicants to a women’s shelter and show that forced migrant women endure violence for longer and of greater intensity before deciding to seek assistance. I discuss possible mechanisms through which forced migration may affect migrants’ attitudes towards domestic violence.
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Jamal Bouoiyour (University of Pau); Amal Miftah
    Abstract: This paper explores some political and social consequences of international migration experience and remittance receipt in the case of Arab countries using Arab Barometer survey dataset. The main idea is to address whether persons who receive international remittances or have lived in the past in democratic host countries, namely U.S (or Canada) and Europe, can act as agents of changes. Three forms of political participation are considered comprising interest in politics, electoral participation and protest demonstration. Other indicators are taken into account including the perception of economic inequality and cultural constructions of gender in Muslim societies. We find that migration and remittance receipt have a positive influence on the political participation and interest of migrants and families who remain in the country of origin and receive remittances. Moreover, our estimates show that migration experience of male migrants strengthens their likelihood to vote, to be more interested in politics, to perceive the economic inequality as well as to encourage the veiling in their home countries. However, they seem less engaged in a protest demonstration.
    Date: 2017–05–18
  7. By: Ahmet F. Aysan; Mustafa Disli; Meryem Duygun; Huseyin Ozturk (-)
    Abstract: Although it has been intensively claimed that Islam ic banks are more subject to market discipline, the empirical literature is surprisingly mute on th is topic. To fill this gap and to verify the conjec ture that Islamic bank depositors are indeed able to mon itor and discipline their banks, we use Turkey as a test setting. The theory of market discipline predicts that when excessive risk taking occurs, depositors will ask higher returns on their deposit s or withdraw their funds. We look at the effect of the deposit insurance reform in which the dual d eposit insurance was revised and all banks were put under the same deposit insurance company in Dec ember 2005. This gives us a natural experiment in which the effect of the reform can be compared for the treatment group (i.e., Islamic banks) and control group (i.e., conventional banks) . We find that the deposit insurance reform has increased market discipline in the Turkish Islamic banking sector. This reform may have upset the sensitivities of the religiously inspired depositor s, and perhaps more importantly it might have terminated the existing mutual supervision and supp ort among Islamic banks.
    Keywords: Depositor discipline, Islamic banks
    JEL: G23 G28 O52
    Date: 2017–01
  8. By: Hatem Jemmali (University of Tunis El-Manar); Mohamed Amara
    Abstract: The paper provides a detailed examination of the structure and dynamics of economic inequality in Tunisia by using harmonized micro-data from national household budget surveys for 2005 and 2010. It assesses the levels and drivers of urban-rural and littoral-inland disparities employing the Firpo et al. (2009) method. The main findings reveal that, in contrast to the decrease in within-region inequality, the between-region inequality has increased slightly over the considered period. Disparities in households’ endowments such as human capital, demographic composition, and regional location appear as the main sources of the urban–rural welfare gap, while the coastal-inland is driven mainly by the differences in returns to human capital. Giving these results, any policy intervention aiming at mitigating the impact of economic inequality among regions must consider these key factors to give more chances to next generations to spring out of the poverty and inequality lived by their parents.
    Date: 2017–05–18
  9. By: Adel Ben Youssef (University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis); Mohamed Arouri; Cuong Viet Nguyen
    Abstract: In this study, we examine the effect of extreme weather events on migration among governorates in Egypt using migration gravity models and data from the 1996 and 2006 Population and Housing Census. We find that low or high temperature and precipitation does not affect the migration of people. Instead, people are considering the weather in destination areas to decide where they should migrate. The number of months with temperature below the five percentiles the distribution of monthly temperature of destination governorates strongly increases in-migration. An additional month with low temperature increases the number of in-migrants by 9.98 percent. For the elderly, they also avoid a governorate with more months of high temperatures. One additional month with temperature above the 95 percentile reduces in the destination governorates the number of old migrants by 8.15 percent.
    Date: 2017–05–25
  10. By: Evan Borkum; Anitha Sivasankaran; Jane Fortson; Kristen Velyvis; Christopher Ksoll; Elena Moroz; Matt Sloan
    Abstract: In this report we describe the designs for two evaluations of the MCC-funded Fruit Tree Productivity Project in Morocco: (1) an evaluation of the modern olive oil processing units funded by the project, and (2) an evaluation of the project’s investments in irrigated olive and date areas.
    Keywords: Morocco, agriculture, trees
    JEL: F Z
  11. By: Soha Ismail (The World Bank); Juan Jose Cortina Lorente; Sergio L. Schmukler
    Abstract: This paper provides a first documentation of how firms in Arab countries use equity, corporate bond, and syndicated loan markets to obtain finance. We compile a large dataset at the transaction-level of issuance in domestic and international markets over the 1991-2014 period. The analysis focuses on 12 Arab nations, but covers 719,242 transactions from 96 different countries. We find that while the total amounts raised, relative to GDP, in equity and syndicated loan markets stand relatively well with respect to other regions in the world, corporate bond issuance activity lags behind. Yet, corporate bond financing as a share of total debt has gained relative importance over time. Arab debt displays very long maturities at issuance, which is driven by larger shares of bonds and loans issued for infrastructure and long-term investment purposes than other regions in the world. Corporate bonds in Arab countries also involve large deal sizes and hold low levels of credit risk. Whereas equity issuances primarily take place in domestic markets, Arab bonds and loans are mostly issued internationally.
    Date: 2017–05–18
  12. By: Antonio Estache; Maleke Fourati
    Abstract: A recent democratic experience in Tunisia in which a religious political party, Ennahdha, took over government for 3 years, provides an opportunity to learn from the interactions between the support to religious parties and improvements in infrastructure access rates. The correlation is not simple. Ennahdha did get, initially, political credit for improvements in regions with low initial networked water connections and it did deliver to the regions where they enjoyed political support. But the support faded as access improved, reducing the political attractiveness of the sector or at least reducing it importance as compared to other concerns voters may have. For sanitation, a correlation is also noted but it is much less robust. Tunisia’s experience suggests that the reputation of religious parties to care for the unmet needs of population is, at least, partially justified. However, water seems to be a much more effective and reliable voters’ grabber than sanitation and this may penalize investment in sanitation, a matter of concern since it has significant health and environmental effects. Moreover, once voters enjoy enough access and once they have seen the overall performance of the party, they treat the party like any other
    Date: 2017–05

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