nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2018‒02‒26
six papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Political Change and Informality: Evidence from the Arab Spring By Elsayed, Ahmed; Wahba, Jackline
  2. Empowering Women under Social Constraints: Evidence from a Field Intervention in Rural Egypt By Elsayed, Ahmed; Roushdy, Rania
  3. Birth and Employment Transitions of Women in Turkey: Conflicting or Compatible Roles? By Özgören, Ayşe Abbasoğlu; Ergöçmen, Banu; Tansel, Aysit
  4. Oil Price Cycles, Fiscal Dominance and Counter-cyclical Monetary Policy in Iran By Jalali Naini, Ahmad Reza; Naderian, Mohammad Amin
  5. Israel's Immigration Story: Winners and Losers By Razin, Assaf
  6. Kompleksite ve Urun Uzayi Metodolojisiyle Turkiye By Muhammed A. Yildirim

  1. By: Elsayed, Ahmed (IZA); Wahba, Jackline (University of Southampton)
    Abstract: This paper examines informality during the political and economic turmoil that accompanied the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt. The paper focuses on unprotected employment and the extent to which it changed by educational level right after the January Uprising of 2011. We find that over time and particularly after the revolution, informal employment has increased for both high- and low-educated workers however, through different paths: high educated were more likely to be stuck in informality, whilst low-educated formal workers were more likely to lose their contracts. The results suggest a high level of rigidity in the Egyptian labor market even in the wake of the Arab Spring.
    Keywords: informal employment, job contracts, Arab Spring
    JEL: J21 J23 J24 J31 O17
    Date: 2017–12
  2. By: Elsayed, Ahmed (IZA); Roushdy, Rania (American University of Cairo)
    Abstract: Women in the MENA region are economically and socially disempowered. High youth unemployment rates together with discriminatory social norms drive them to limit their investment in human capital. We evaluate a large-scale intervention attempting to relax human capital constraints for women by offering vocational, business and life skills training in 30 villages in rural Egypt. Relative to women in the control villages, the intervention increased the likelihood of treated women engaging in income-generating activities, driven by an increase in self-employment. Treated women also became more likely to have future business aspirations. However, their intra-household decision-making and gender equality attitudes were not affected by the intervention. We show that these results mask heterogeneous effects in terms of background characteristics and initial levels of social empowerment. We find no evidence of positive spillover effects for the program within treated villages and, more importantly, no evidence of different pre-trends in employment between the treated and control groups prior to the intervention.
    Keywords: empowerment of women, field intervention, Egypt
    JEL: I25 J24 O12
    Date: 2017–12
  3. By: Özgören, Ayşe Abbasoğlu (Hacettepe University); Ergöçmen, Banu (Hacettepe University); Tansel, Aysit (Middle East Technical University)
    Abstract: The relationship between fertility and employment among women is a challenging topic that requires further exploration, especially for developing countries where the micro and macro evidence fails to paint a clear picture. This study analyzes the two-way relationship between women's employment and fertility in Turkey using a hazard approach with piece-wise constant exponential modelling, using data from the 2008 Turkey Demographic and Health Survey. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first study that makes use of an event history analysis to analyze this relationship within a developing country context. Specifically, a separate analysis is made of the association between the employment statuses of women in their first, second, third, and fourth and higher order conceptions, and the association of fertility and its various dimensions with entry and exit from employment. The findings suggest that a two-way negative association exists between fertility and employment among women in Turkey, with increasing intensities identified among some groups of women. Our findings also cast light on how contextual changes related to the incompatibility of the roles of worker and mother have transformed the fertility-employment relationship in Turkey, in line with propositions of the role incompatibility hypothesis.
    Keywords: fertility, employment, women, event history analysis, Turkey
    JEL: C41 J13 J16
    Date: 2017–12
  4. By: Jalali Naini, Ahmad Reza; Naderian, Mohammad Amin
    Abstract: Impulse for business cycles in Iran are largely generated from oil price (terms of trade) shocks and propagated through fiscal policies. The classic mission of monetary policy is to conduct countercyclical policy, however, this is not a universal norm. Pro-cyclical fiscal and monetary policies during boom periods has been observed in a number of developing countries. Such policies tend to amplify the impact of positive oil price (terms of trade) shocks through aggregated demand expansion. The consequence has been strengthening of domestic inflationary pressures and appreciation of the real exchange rate. This paper attempts to examine if monetary policy in Iran is countercyclical and what is the impact of fiscal policy in this regard. It will be argued that the stance of fiscal policy and how government expenditures are financed can have a significant effect on how monetary policy is conducted. Our empirical observations regarding the experience of the Iranian economy indicates that, in a fiscally dominated structure, fiscal and monetary policies are generally expansionary, particularly during economic booms. This entails subsequent very large managed depreciation of the exchange rate, higher inflation rates, and an economic downturn. Under fiscal dominance monetary policy will be ineffective and both targets and instruments of monetary policy making will not be under the control of monetary authority. The policy package of a structural balanced fiscal rule combined with smoothing of quasi-fiscal operations is the appropriate policy measure that enhances the ability of central bank to conduct more effective countercyclical monetary policies.
    Keywords: Pro-cyclicality, Fiscal Dominance, Monetary policy, Ricardian
    JEL: E5
    Date: 2017–08–01
  5. By: Razin, Assaf
    Abstract: The exodus of Soviet Jews to Israel in the 1990s was a unique event. The extraordinary experience of Israel, which has received three quarter million migrants from the Former Soviet Union within a short time, is also relevant for the current debate about globalization. The immigration wave was distinctive for its large high skilled cohort, and its quick integration into the domestic labor market. Immigration also changed the entire economic landscape: it raised productivity, underpinned by the information technological surge, and had significant impact on income inequality. This paper provides an explanation for a possible link between immigration and the level of redistribution in Israel's welfare state.
    Date: 2018–01
  6. By: Muhammed A. Yildirim (Koc University)
    Abstract: Bazi ulkelerin neden zengin, bazilarinin da neden yoksul oldugu ve aradaki farki kapatma adina neler yapilabilecegi ekonomi biliminin temel sorularindandir. Bu soruyu cevaplamaya calisirken ekonomik modeller yaninda diger disiplinlerde gelistirilen teknikleri kullanmak da faydali olabilir. Ozellikle, bir ulkenin ekonomisinin yapi taslarinin bircok farkli endustriyel sektorlerden olustugunu dusundugumuzde fizik ve bilgisayar alanlarinda gelistirilen veri analiz teknikleri yeni ve taze bir bakis acisi sunabilir. Bu baglamda, ekonomik kalkinma ve buyumeyi anlamak icin Harvard Universitesi ve Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) bunyesindeki bir grup arastirmaci ile birlikte fizik ve bilgisayar disiplinlerinden ilham alarak ekonomik kompleksite adini verdigimiz bir teknik gelistirdik. Kompleksite metodolojisi ulkelerin uretimlerini detayli sektor bazinda degerlendirip ulkelerin buyume ve Urun Uzayi uzerinden yeni endustrilere acilma potansiyellerini olcme imkani veriyor. Bu metodolojiyi Turkiye icin uyguladigimizda Turkiye’nin uzun yillardir sofistike urunlere yakin oldugunu ama bir sonraki adimi atip bu urunleri goreceli ustunluk kuracak sekilde uretmeye baslamadigini goruyoruz. Ozellikle makine, elektrikli makine ve kimya sektorlerinin Turkiye’nin nispeten daha kolay gecebilecegi sektorler oldugu ortaya cikiyor.
    Keywords: Economic Complexity, Turkey, Product Space, Industrial Policy, International Trade.
    JEL: F10 F11 F14 O41 O47 O50
    Date: 2018–02

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