nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2018‒01‒22
eighteen papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Migration Aspirations among NEETs in Selected MENA Countries By Ramos, Raul
  2. Regional Inequalities in Child Malnutrition in Egypt, Jordan and Yemen: A Blinder-Oaxaca Decomposition Analysis By Mesbah Sharaf; Ahmed Rashad
  3. Linking remittances with financial development and institutions: a study from selected MENA countries By Imad Hamma
  4. Labor Demand in Tunisia: Size, Structure and Determinants By Sofiane Ghali; Habib Zitouna
  5. Public-Private Wage Disparities, Employment and Labor Market Segmentation in Tunisia By Abdel Rahmen El Lahga; Ines Bouassida
  6. Migration Patterns and Labor Market Outcomes in Tunisia By Anda David; Mohamed Ali Marouani
  7. The social and financial performance of Microfinance institutions in the MENA region: Do Islamic institutions perform better? By Imène Berguiga; Yosra Said; Philippe Adair
  8. Testing the Productivity Bias Hypothesis in Middle East Countries By HALICIOGLU, Ferda; Ketenci, Natalya
  9. Intergenerational Education Mobility and the Level of Development: Evidence from Turkey By Aydemir, Abdurrahman; Yazici, Hakki
  10. Optimal Cash Transfers with Distribution Regressions: An Application to Egypt at the Dawn of the XXIst Century By Christophe Muller
  11. Egypt’s Government Spending Multiplier: Its Size and Determinants By Sara B. Alnashar
  12. Determination of the viability threshold of the external position in Morocco By Fadlallah, Abdellali; Chakhat, Zakaria
  13. Testing Twin Deficits and Saving-Investment Nexus in Turkey By HALICIOGLU, Ferda; EREN, Kasim
  14. Child Labor and Schooling in Tunisia By Donia Smaali Bouhlila; Mouez Soussi
  15. Control of Moroccan public institutions: situation and perspectives By M'Bark Ouashil; Said Ouhadi
  16. The cost of mismanagement of gold production in Sudan By Onour, Ibrahim
  17. Determinants and Impact of Households’s Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expenditure in Sudan: Evidence From Urban and Rural Population By Ebaidalla Mahjoub Ebaidalla; Mohammed Elhaj Mustafa Ali
  18. Quel avenir du dinar tunisien face à l'euro ? Prévision avec le modèle ARIMA By GRITLI, Mohamed Ilyes

  1. By: Ramos, Raul (University of Barcelona)
    Abstract: The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region shows high levels of unemployment rates among youth and the rate of youth not in education, employment or training (NEET) is also among the highest in the world. In this context, one of the more obvious reactions of youth facing unmet aspirations in the labour market is migration. The objective of the paper is to analyse the determinants of intentions to migrate of youth NEETs during their school-to-work transitions in selected MENA countries. With this aim, I use microdata from School-to-Work Transition Surveys (SWTS) conducted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2013-2015 in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Tunisia. These surveys targeted a nationally representative sample of young people between 15 and 29 and collected data on intentions to migrate (internal and international) and different factors related to their social and educational background. Microeconometric models are used to achieve a better understanding of factors influencing youth's decision to migrate.
    Keywords: inactivity, unemployment, NEETs, youth, intentions to migrate, school-to-work transition
    JEL: F22 J61 J65 R23
    Date: 2017–11
  2. By: Mesbah Sharaf (University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada); Ahmed Rashad
    Abstract: There is substantial evidence that on average, urban children have better health outcomes than rural children. This paper investigates the underlying factors that account for the regional disparities in child malnutrition in three Arab countries, namely; Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen. We use data on a nationally representative sample from the most recent rounds of the Demographic and Health Survey. A Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition analysis is conducted to decompose the rural-urban differences in child nutrition outcomes into two components; one that is explained by regional differences in the level of the determinants (covariate effects), and another component that is explained by differences in the effect of the determinants on the child nutritional status (coefficient effects). Results show that the under-five stunting rates are 20% in Egypt, 46.5 % in Yemen, and 7.7% in Jordan. The rural- urban gap in child malnutrition was minor in the case of Egypt (2.3%) and Jordan (1.5%), while the regional gap was significant in the case of Yemen (17.7%). Results of the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition show that the covariate effect is dominant in the case of Yemen while the coefficients effect dominates in the case of Jordan. Income inequality between urban and rural households explains most of the malnutrition gap. Results were robust to the different decomposition weighting schemes. By identifying the underlying factors behind the rural- urban health disparities, the findings of this paper help in designing effective intervention measures aimed at reducing regional inequalities and improving population health outcomes.
    Date: 2017–12–14
  3. By: Imad Hamma (GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UNS - Université Nice Sophia Antipolis - UCA - Université Côte d'Azur - UCA - Université Côte d'Azur)
    Abstract: This paper seeks to examine the effect of remittances on economic growth in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries. Using unbalanced panel data covering a sample of 12 MENA countries over the period 1984-2012, we studied the hypothesis that the effect of remittances on economic growth varies depending on the level of financial development and institutional environment in recipient countries. We use GMM estimation in which we address the endogeneity of remittances. Our results reveal a complementary relationship among financial development and remittances to ensure economic growth. The estimations also show that remittances promote growth in countries with a developed financial system and a strong institutional environment.
    Date: 2016–12–02
  4. By: Sofiane Ghali (University of Tunis); Habib Zitouna
    Abstract: This paper explores the employment performance and capacities of the Tunisian private sector with a focus on the link between employment and investment and on the link between employment and exports. The analysis relies on the available INS statistics on the Tunisian industrial structure, mainly the data from the annual enterprise surveys and on the TLMPS 2014 data. The paper comprises four sections. First, the authors analyze the size and the structure of the Tunisian labor market. Second, the authors quantify the labor content of investments and exports and show that creating more jobs needs more effort by the private sector, which has to invest more, especially in new technologies, research and development, and in sectors that are intensively using skilled labor. The private sector also has to increase its share in the economy and to improve its competitiveness internationally. Third, they describe the intra- and inter- sectoral allocation of employment and variation of labor productivity. The purpose is to analyze the capacity of the economy to improve the quality of labor demand and absorb highly educated young people. Fourth, they analyze the link between firm size and labor demand and show the need for a new industrial structure allowing for a bigger share of larger and more dynamic enterprises which innovate more and can benefit from economies of scale and thereby create more and better jobs.
    Date: 2017–12–21
  5. By: Abdel Rahmen El Lahga (University of Tunis); Ines Bouassida
    Abstract: The dysfunction of the Tunisian labor market is exacerbated particularly by the segmentation between public and private sectors employment. These different segments differ in terms of returns to human capital, social protection and mobility, affecting career development and the wage structure in the economy. In this paper, we present the patterns of wage distribution in Tunisia across important socioeconomic groups and a detailed analysis of the wage gap between public and private sectors. Our results show particularly that while in the bottom of the wage distribution the positive wage gap between public and private sectors mainly attributable to the composition or characteristics of workers, the wage gap in the upper of the distribution is due to returns to characteristics effect. The public-sector wage premium explains the strong preference public positions.
    Date: 2017–12–21
  6. By: Anda David (Agence Française de Développement); Mohamed Ali Marouani
    Abstract: This paper focuses on the emigration’s effects on non-migrants and particularly on the interactions with labor market outcomes in Tunisia before and after the revolution. We conduct an in-depth analysis of the structure and dynamics of migration including the migrants’ profile and their origin households, mainly in terms of skills and spatial composition. Our analysis confirms the role of emigration as a security valve for the Tunisian labor market. It also tends to confirm the effects of remittances on non-migrants’ labor supply, which can have a negative impact on Tunisia’s unemployment rate when a crisis in destination countries lowers remittances.
    Date: 2017–12–14
  7. By: Imène Berguiga; Yosra Said; Philippe Adair (ERUDITE - Equipe de Recherche sur l’Utilisation des Données Individuelles en lien avec la Théorie Economique - UPEC UP12 - Université Paris-Est Créteil Val-de-Marne - Paris 12 - UPEM - Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between the financial performance and social performance of microfinance institutions (MFIs) from 10 countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Two models with interacting variables are applied to an unbalanced panel of 67 MFIs, including 18 Islamic ones (IMFIs), over the period 2004-2015. It distinguishes SolebusinessIMFIs granting exclusively Islamic services from Window IMFIs that diversify their services (Islamic and conventional). It tests five assumptions about the controversial superiority of IMFIs over conventional MFIs (CMFIs), with respect to their financial performance and social performance. Results show that MFIs, whether Islamic or conventional, face a financial vs. social performance trade-off. Window IMFIs experience higher financial performance than Solebusiness IMFIs and CMFIs. However, the three assumptions regarding financial performance are unverified. Outreach of the Solebusiness IMFIs differs from that of Window IMFIs and CMFIs. Nevertheless, the two assumptions concerning social performance are also unverified. Hence, there is no evidence that IMFIs exceed CMFIs.
    Keywords: Conventional Microfinance,Financial performance,Islamic Microfinance,MENA region, Panel data,Social performance
    Date: 2017–05
  8. By: HALICIOGLU, Ferda; Ketenci, Natalya
    Abstract: The divergence of the purchasing power parity from the equilibrium exchange rate is attributed to various factors. Productivity differentials between the countries are said to be one of the main sources, which lead to productivity bias hypothesis. The hypothesis suggests that a relatively more productive country should experience a real appreciation of its currency. This research aims at testing the hypothesis in Middle East countries using the time series data over the period of 1970-2015 and by employing ARDL approach to cointegration. The econometric results support for the hypothesis is only in the cases of Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. This research also provides policy recommendations on the basis of empirical results.
    Keywords: Productivity bias hypothesis, cointegration, Middle East countries
    JEL: C2 C21 C22 E31 F30
    Date: 2017
  9. By: Aydemir, Abdurrahman (Sabanci University); Yazici, Hakki (Sabanci University)
    Abstract: This paper provides two contributions to the study of intergenerational mobility. First, we render a thorough characterization of education mobility in Turkey at the national level, including a three-generation mobility analysis. We find that the education mobility is significantly lower in Turkey compared to developed economies. Second, by exploiting large regional variation in the level of economic development across Turkey, we find that intergenerational education persistence is lower for females who grow up in more developed regions. The evidence is mixed for males. Interestingly, the development level of place of residence during earlier stages of childhood has much stronger association with education mobility compared to development level of place of residence during later stages.
    Keywords: intergenerational mobility, education, economic development, three generations
    JEL: J6 I2 R0
    Date: 2017–11
  10. By: Christophe Muller (Aix-Marseille Univ. (Aix-Marseille School of Economics), CNRS, EHESS and Centrale Marseille)
    Abstract: Social programmes for poverty alleviation involve eligibility rules and transfer rules that often proxy-means tests. We propose to specify the estimator in connection with the poverty alleviation problem. Three distinct stages emerge from the optimization analysis: the identification of the poor, the ranking of their priorities and the calculus of the optimal transfer amount. These stages are implemented simultaneous by using diverse distribution regression methods to generate fitted-values of living standards plugged into the poverty minimization programme to obtain the transfer amounts. We apply these methods to Egypt in 2013. Recentered Influence Function (RIF) regressions focusing on the poor correspond to the most efficient transfer scheme. Most of the efficiency gain is obtained by making transfer amounts varying across beneficiaries rather than by varying estimation methods. Using RIF regressions instead of quantile regressions delivers only marginal poverty alleviation, although it allows for substantial reduction of the exclusion of the poor.
    Keywords: targeting, poverty, optimizing estimator
    JEL: I32 C21 C54
    Date: 2018–01
  11. By: Sara B. Alnashar (The World Bank)
    Abstract: Fiscal policy has a potentially significant role in generating real income and stimulating aggregate demand. But under what circumstances does it actually succeed in boosting economic activity? This research paper seeks to explore two questions: (1) To what extent has government spending been ‘effective’ in stimulating aggregate demand in Egypt? And (2) how did the economic policy mix contribute to the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of fiscal policy in Egypt? These questions come at an important juncture, as Egypt is embarking on a program supported by an International Monetary Fund (IMF) Extended-Fund Facility; the cornerstones of which are: Expenditure restructuring and fiscal consolidation, exchange rate liberalization, and structural reforms to boost growth and reduce unemployment. In this paper, we focus on the period (FY2005—FY2016), for which quarterly data on fiscal indicators are available. We analytically and empirically assess the relationship between government spending and real GDP growth, in light of the following factors: The state of the business cycle, the degree of accommodation of monetary policy to changes in fiscal policy, the real exchange rate, and the degree of capital and trade openness. These factors have been identified in the literature as key determinants of the size of the fiscal multiplier.
    Date: 2017–12–14
  12. By: Fadlallah, Abdellali; Chakhat, Zakaria
    Abstract: This paper discusses the sustainability of the moroccan current account and his assessment. To proceed, a descriptive analysis of the evolution of the current account allowed to to assimilate the behavior of its various components in connection with national and international economic conditions. As a result, it was necessary to examine the different determinants of the behavior of the current account deficit in order to understand economic policy decisions. An econometric analysis was done, in this way, we opte for a VECM that allowed to capture the long-term relationship, then we study the impact of the explanatory variables on the current account. The review of the sustainability threshold calculated by the Reisena method ensures a consistent results examination and shows that signs of unsustainability have emerged since 2008. However, it is only in 2011 that the current account shows deficits that exceed widely the optimal threshold exposing the national economy to extreme vulnerability.
    Keywords: Deficit of the current account ; Viability ; VECM.
    JEL: F14 F41
    Date: 2017–12–13
  13. By: HALICIOGLU, Ferda; EREN, Kasim
    Abstract: This paper provides further evidence on the validity of twin deficits and the Feldstein-Horioka hypotheses for Turkey during the period of 1987-2004 using bounds testing approach to cointegration. In order to explain the main determinants of the current account deficits in the long-run, the fiscal balance and the domestic investments are used in an econometric model.The cointegration tests indicate the presence of a long-run relationship between the current account and budget deficits as well as the domestic investments during the estimation period. As a result, it is concluded that the twin deficits hypothesis and the Feldstein-Horioka puzzle are present and Turkey appeared to be integrated into the world capital market with a low degree of capital mobility as less than 1/5 of its domestic investment is financed through external funds. The augmented Granger-causality tests suggest no causality between the current account and budget deficits, both in the short-run and the long-run. The post-sample variance decompositions suggest that the domestic investments are the main cause of current deficits in the long-run. The paper also discusses the policy implications of the empirical results.
    Keywords: Twin deficits, Feldstein-Horioka hypothesis, cointegration, Turkey
    JEL: C22 F32 F36
    Date: 2017
  14. By: Donia Smaali Bouhlila (University of Tunis El Manar); Mouez Soussi
    Abstract: This paper provides evidence on the extent of child labor in Tunisia, its determinants and its impact on schooling. It shows that 5.87% of the target population are involved in work. A rate which may increase in the future if policy-makers and stakeholders do not take adequate measure to protect children’s rights to a decent life and to a better education. In this paper, and using TLMPS data (2014), we show the “atypical” picture of Tunisia regarding this phenomenon. First, child labor is mostly an urban phenomenon: the impact of poverty on child labor is more pronounced in urban areas than in rural ones. Second, most children are involved in the service sector with 51.6% in services against only 32.2% in agriculture. And third, poverty is not the main reason to explain child labor family characteristics and the kind of father’s job are still significant. Moreover, we provide evidence that working-children are more likely to repeat school-grade and to lag behind grade levels. Likewise, working-children are more at risk to dropout, with girls more affected by dropout than boys.
    Date: 2017–12–21
  15. By: M'Bark Ouashil (GREGO/Université Cadi Ayyad Marrakech - ENCG Marrakech); Said Ouhadi (GREGO/Université Cadi Ayyad Marrakech - ENCG Marrakech)
    Abstract: This paper aims to present, through a documentary analysis, a situation of control in the context of Moroccan public institutions. It seems that the prior control, focused on the regularity and the conformity of the public institutions with the regulation, predominates until the end of 2016. This presents insufficiencies of the current control framework. However, reforms have been initiated in order to reduce the control and to pass from a logic of means to a logic of result. Also, they aim promoting controls resulting from public institutions (internal control, management control, etc.) Résumé Cet article a pour objectif de présenter, à travers une analyse documentaire, un état des lieux du contrôle dans le contexte des établissements publics marocains. Il en ressort que le contrôle a priori, axé sur la régularité et la mise en conformité des établissements publics avec la réglementation, prédomine jusqu'à fin 2016.
    Abstract: Cet article a pour objectif de présenter, à travers une analyse documentaire, un état des lieux du contrôle dans le contexte des établissements publics marocains. Il en ressort que le contrôle a priori, axé sur la régularité et la mise en conformité des établissements publics avec la réglementation, prédomine jusqu'à fin 2016. Ce constat révèle des insuffisances du cadre de contrôle en vigueur. Cependant, des réformes sont entamées en vue d’alléger le contrôle exercé et de passer d'une logique de moyen vers une logique de résultat d’une part. D’autre part, elles visent favoriser les contrôles résultants des établissements publics (contrôle interne, contrôle de gestion, etc.).
    Keywords: public institution,internal control,control,prior control
    Date: 2017–03–20
  16. By: Onour, Ibrahim
    Abstract: To assess the size of gold smuggling in Sudan we estimated scale inefficiency of operating mines in the country using primary data survey covering about 18 artisanal mines in the country during the year 2016. The output variable represent gold production of each state and the inputs represent the water mills, and the number of mines (wells) in each state. The findings in the paper indicate about 34% of the artisanal gold production in the country is smuggled. The distribution of the gold smuggling among the states reveal that the states with bigger share of smuggling are those states with internal armed conflicts (South Kordofan and Darfour states) or states bordering loosely controlled borders (Northern and Red see states). This result coincides with our view that weakness in regulatory framework of natural resource management is a major driver of gold smuggling in the country. The regulatory restriction that only gold council members and jewelry traders locating in the capital city of the country are the sole buyers of gold from all miners in the country could be the main cause of smuggling. This requires lifting or easing the exclusive right given to the gold council members and a few jewelry traders in the capital city Khartoum the monopsony power of buying gold from all artisanal miners. Also required to adopt more stringent monitoring regulations on gold exports by jewelry traders.
    Keywords: Gold; smuggling; artisanal miners.
    JEL: Q3 Q34
    Date: 2018–01–04
  17. By: Ebaidalla Mahjoub Ebaidalla (University of Khartoum); Mohammed Elhaj Mustafa Ali
    Abstract: This study examines the determinants of out of pocket (OOP) health expenditures and the factors that associated with the risk of catastrophic health expenditure in Sudan. It also investigates the effect of OOP health expenditure on poverty incidence in the country. The study uses the National Baseline Household Survey (NBHS) data, 2009, for national, urban and rural levels of population. To strengthen the insight of findings, the analysis of OOP expenditure is also executed for different income groups. The results show that factors such as household’s income, incidence of disease, education, household size, number of household’s members over 65 years and below 5 years old are the most important factors affecting health expenditures. The results also indicate that the number of elderly member and children and household belonging to the lowest income quintiles are the most significant variables that increase the risk of incurring catastrophic health expenditures. In addition, the results reveal that a household with catastrophic health expenditure tends to reduce its budget share allocated to education, food and other items. Moreover, the empirical results indicate that health expenditure pushes a considerable portion of Sudanese households into poverty, thus, increases poverty rates in the country. Finally, the paper ends with some recommendations that aim at assisting policymakers in designing an appropriate health system strategy to protect households against the risk of OOP health expenditures and to reduce impoverishment effect when become catastrophic.
    Date: 2017–12–21
  18. By: GRITLI, Mohamed Ilyes
    Abstract: Summary: The European Union absorbs nearly 75% of Tunisian exports and represents about 50% of Tunisian imports, which explains the important weight of the euro in the Tunisian dinar anchor basket. Thus, the purpose of this article is to predict short-term exchange rate fluctuations EUR/TND, using the ARIMA model (0,1,1). The results show that a unit of euro will be exchanged for 3.05126 dinars (model without break) and for 3.22409 dinars (model with rupture), by October 2018. This suggests that the degree of depreciation of the dinar will depend on the policy pursued by the Central Bank of Tunisia.
    Keywords: Mots clés : EUR, DNT, taux de change, prévision, ARIMA
    JEL: C32 C53 F31
    Date: 2018–01–15

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