nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2017‒07‒16
seven papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Do Refugees Impact Voting Behavior in the Host Country? Evidence from Syrian Refugee Inflows in Turkey By Altindag, Onur; Kaushal, Neeraj
  2. Gender, Islam, and law By John R. Bowen
  3. Determinants of technology catch-up in MENA and SSA countries: a panel data analysis By Francisco Serranito
  4. How large are fiscal multipliers in Turkey? By Şen, Hüseyin; Kaya, Ayşe
  5. The Global Outlook and Morocco By Uri Dadush
  6. Social capital and conflict: impact and implications By Aghajanian, Alia Jane
  7. The Impact of Domestic Investment on Economic Growth: New Policy Analysis from Algeria By Bakari, Sayef

  1. By: Altindag, Onur (National Bureau of Economic Research); Kaushal, Neeraj (Columbia University)
    Abstract: We study the effect of an influx of approximately three million Syrian refugees on voting behavior in Turkey. The analysis is based on data from three recent general elections, 54 waves of a monthly survey on voter preferences as well as a unique field survey that directly measures voter attitude towards refugees. We exploit the substantial variation in the inflow of refugees, both over time and across provinces, and use a difference-in-differences approach, comparing the political outcomes in geographic areas with high and low intensity of refugee presence before and after the beginning of Syrian civil war. To address the endogeneity in refugees' location choices, we adopt an instrumental variables approach that relies on the historic dispersion of Arabic speakers across Turkish provinces, taking advantage of the fact that Syrians are more likely to settle in locations where the host population speaks Arabic. Empirical analyses of survey data documents strong polarization in attitudes towards refugees between the supporters and opponents of the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP). Regression analyses of political preferences, however, suggest that the massive inflow of refugees induced a modest and statistically significant drop in support for the ruling AKP. Leavers did not swing to the other major political parties but were more likely to become indecisive or absentee. We show similarly small, but statistically insignificant impact on actual election outcomes during the study period. Based on other questions in the survey data, we interpret our findings as suggestive that while partisanship is highly correlated with public opinion towards refugees, exposure to refugee has little impact on electoral outcomes.
    Keywords: Syrian refugees, voting behavior in Turkey, attitudes towards refugees
    JEL: F22
    Date: 2017–06
  2. By: John R. Bowen
    Abstract: This paper considers arguments about Islam and women’s welfare, and, at greater length, how legal systems with Islamic elements treat women, with a focus on how women fare in Islamic family courts. Key methodological issues include how to focus on real-world views and practices rather than only texts, disentangle the effects of patriarchal regional cultures from the effects of Islamic law, and compare the gendered effects of Islamic court practices with the most probable local alternatives. We look in greater detail at three countries—Tunisia, Indonesia, and Iran—to detect probable mechanisms shaping women’s access to divorce and to property.
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Francisco Serranito (CEPN - Centre d'Economie de l'Université Paris Nord - Université Paris 13 - USPC - Université Sorbonne Paris Cité - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: This paper aims at testing the determinants of TFP in the case of a panel of African and Middle-East countries for the period 1970-2010. We get two main results. Firstly, the degree of openness of a country is the only variables that have a positive and robust effect on the TFP growth. Secondly, convergence is not an automatic phenomenon for all countries. The possibility of a convergence effect depends on the ability of countries to adopt foreign technology. The absorptive capacity depends on the stock of human capital and the degree of financial market development.
    Keywords: Technology gap, Catching-up, Dynamic Panel Data, GMM estimation, Middle-East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan African countries
    Date: 2017–06
  4. By: Şen, Hüseyin; Kaya, Ayşe
    Abstract: Using the augmented version of the Blanchard - Perotti’s SVAR technique, this paper seeks to empirically estimate the size of fiscal multipliers in Turkey over the period 2002:q3-2016:q2. In contrast to many previous papers that concentrate on fiscal policy instruments -taxes and government spending- at the aggregate level, in the paper we consider these instruments at the sub-component level. We examine output responses to discretionary changes in five fiscal variables (value-added tax, special consumption tax, personal income tax, real government spending, and transfer payments), and then we estimate the size of fiscal multipliers for taxes and government spending. Overall, our empirical findings indicate that the size of multipliers for taxes is different from that of government spending. Depending on the sub-components, the size of the multiplier ranges from -0.83 to -0.27 for taxes, and from 0.02 to 0.98 for government spending respectively. Overall, these findings corroborate the idea that a shock to government spending creates a (weak) Keynesian effect on GDP in the short run, while a shock to taxes brings about a non-Keynesian effect.
    Keywords: Fiscal Multipliers,Fiscal Policy,SVAR,Turkey
    JEL: E6 E62 H2 H30
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Uri Dadush
    Abstract: Despite fraught politics, the global outlook is strengthening. The next twelve months are likely to be characterized by moderate but steady growth across the world. However, the outlook becomes murkier as we move into the second half of 2018 and 2019. Significant upside in world economic growth is possible on account of building momentum against a background of low capacity utilization, but even greater downside is possible on account of inconsistent economic policy in the Unites States, Chinese imbalances, and the threat of protectionism. Accordingly, while Morocco’s short term prospects look solid, adjustments are needed to make growth sustainable in the face of likely external turbulence.
    Date: 2017–05
  6. By: Aghajanian, Alia Jane
    Abstract: This thesis explores the relationship between social capital and conflict in two different contexts, by answering the following two questions: How does exposure to violence affect social capital in urban Maharashtra, India? How does returning home affect social capital amongst internally displaced persons and returnees from Nahr el Bared camp in North Lebanon? This thesis then goes on to look at the labour market implications of returning home to Nahr el Bared camp, exploring the role of social capital (amongst other mechanisms) in this relationship. The following paragraphs are abstracts from the three empirical chapters that address these questions. The first empirical chapter explores the relationship between exposure to riots and social capital in urban Maharashtra. We exploit a panel dataset collected by the authors and apply a random effects model with lagged covariates to estimate an exogenous relationship between neighbourhood exposure to riots and four forms of social capital: membership in a group or organisation, trust in neighbours, participation in community discussions and participation in community festival preparations. Consistent with Bellows and Miguel's study of conflict and social capital (2009), we find that households living in neighbourhoods that experienced a riot are more likely to be members of groups and organisations. On the other hand, we find that these households are less likely to join community discussions, which lends more to the hypothesis of fragmented post-conflict societies with a damaged social fabric (Colletta and Cullen, 2000). We explore various mechanisms behind these results and find that the increased membership in organisations is greatest in diverse neighbourhoods that have not experienced recent changes in composition. However, riots reduce trust and the likelihood of participation in fragmented and polarised riot-affected neighbourhoods. Riots also decrease participation in festival preparations in neighbourhoods where out-migration has been low. Our analysis suggests that individuals and households instrumentally use social capital to their advantage, a type of insurance to protect against potential communal violence in the future. However, riots can have adverse affects on different forms of social capital that go beyond the surface level of social networking to feelings of trust and sense of community. The second empirical chapter studies the effect of returning home after conflict induced displacement on social capital, compared to remaining displaced. I have collected a household survey of displaced Palestinians from a refugee camp in Lebanon, and this chapter assesses the impact of return on the different dimensions of social capital based on a diverse and rich set of questions. An instrumental variable is used to model the return decision in one part of the camp, and the exogenous nature of return is exploited in another section of the camp. Results show that return can improve social capital if households return within one year of the war ending and with their friends and family. If households have been displaced for too long, then social capital is decreased upon returning home. This indicates that social capital is not simply carried over from displacement to return, but is rebuilt in a process that takes time and effort. The third and final empirical chapter studies the effect of returning home on labour market outcomes. Theoretically the effect of return is ambiguous, depending on changes in both the demand and supply of labour. I empirically study the effect of return on four labour market outcomes: participation in the labour force, working, wages and number of days worked. I analyse a dataset of individuals originally from Nahr el-Bared camp in North Lebanon, displaced within Lebanon after a war in 2007 between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam. I use an instrumental variable and exploit the exogenous nature of the return process in order to estimate a causal effect of return. The results show that return increases the likelihood of working by 117 percentage points. This effect is greatest for those who have returned within two years, reaping the benefits of greater aggregate demand as the market increases. Women returnees are more likely to be working compared to the displaced, but there is no difference in employment between men who have been displaced and those who have returned. This could be because women possess skills that are adaptable in labour markets, working in cottage type industries from home, as opposed to the more specialised skills that men tend to possess.
    Date: 2016–12
  7. By: Bakari, Sayef
    Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between domestic investment and economic growth in Algeria, by using co integration analysis of Vector Error Correction Model. The equation of the long run relationship shows that domestic investment has a negative effect on economic growth. However, in the short run term, domestic investment causes economic growth. These results prove that domestic investment is a source of economic growth for Algeria, but unfortunately it suffers from several obstacles and problems that are directly related to the poor management and the weak strategy for development and investment.
    Keywords: Domestic Investment, VECM, Causality, Economic Growth, Algeria.
    JEL: E2 E22 F1 F14 O40 O47
    Date: 2017–06

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