nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2018‒03‒12
thirteen papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Two and a half million Syrian refugees, skill mix and capital intensity By Akgündüz, Yusuf Emre; Torun, Huzeyfe
  2. Arab Republic of Egypt; 2017 Article IV Consultation, Second Review Under the Extended Arrangement Under the Extended Fund Facility, and Request for Modification of Performance Criteria-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for the Arab Republic of Egypt By International Monetary Fund
  3. Women’s education, employment status and the choice of birth control method: An investigation for the case of Turkey By Deniz Karaoğlan; Dürdane Sirin Saracoglu
  4. Arab Republic of Egypt; Selected Issues By International Monetary Fund
  5. Prevalence and Patterns of Health Risk Behaviors of Palestinian Youth Findings from a Representative Survey By Peter Glick; Umaiyeh Kammash; Mohammed Shaheen; Ryan Andrew Brown; Prodyumna Goutam; Rita Karam; Sebastian Linnemayr; Salwa Massad
  6. Signaling Dissent: Political Behavior in the Arab World By Desai, Raj M.; Olofsgård, Anders; Yousef, Tarik
  7. Kuwait; 2017 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Kuwait By International Monetary Fund
  8. Kuwait; Selected Issues By International Monetary Fund
  9. Estimating risk efficiency in MiddleEast banks before and after the crisis.A Metafrontier framework. By Colesnic, Olga; Kounetas, Kostas; Polemis, Michael
  10. Sudan; Selected Issues By International Monetary Fund
  11. Sudan; 2017 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Sudan By International Monetary Fund
  12. Sanctions against Iran: An assessment of their global impact through the lens of international methanol prices By Hache, E.; Massol, O.
  13. Emirati women do not shy away from competition: Evidence from a patriarchal society in transition By Aurelie Dariel; Curtis Kephart; Nikos Nikiforakis; Christina Zenker

  1. By: Akgündüz, Yusuf Emre; Torun, Huzeyfe
    Abstract: We investigate how the rapid increase in the low-skilled labor supply induced by the inflow of 2.5 million Syrian refugees changed the tasks performed by native workers and the amount of capital used by firms in Turkey. Despite the unexpected nature of the refugee inflow, location choice of the refugees may be endogenous to the labor market opportunities of hosting regions. To handle this endogeneity issue, we use an instrument for the refugee intensity based on the distance of Turkish regions to the Syrian ones. The results based on Labor Force Survey suggest that the inflow of refugees increased natives’ task complexity, reducing the intensity of manual tasks, and raising the intensity of abstract, routine and ICT tasks. This effect is particularly strong for natives with medium level of education. Exploiting the administrative firm data that contains the entirety of firms in the country, we find that the firms reduced their fixed assets. The fixed asset reduction is largest in machinery and equipment, which can be interpreted as a decline in the capital intensity of production. We conclude that tasks provided by Syrian refugees are substitutes for natives’ manual tasks and firms’ capital, and complementary to natives’ more complex tasks.
    Keywords: Migration,refugees,labor-capital substitution,skills,tasks
    JEL: F22 J24 J21 D24
    Date: 2018
  2. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: Following a build-up of macroeconomic imbalances that had resulted in declining growth, rising debt, and a widening current account deficit, the Egyptian authorities undertook decisive policy actions since the launch of the reform program in November 2016. These efforts are increasingly yielding results in terms of restored market confidence, strengthening growth momentum, a narrowing of budget and current account deficits, and adequate foreign exchange reserves. Sustaining the reform effort will help secure macroeconomic stabilization and unlock Egypt’s potential for higher growth and much needed job creation.
    Date: 2018–01–22
  3. By: Deniz Karaoğlan (Department of Economics, Bahçeşehir University, Istanbul, Turkey); Dürdane Sirin Saracoglu (Department of Economics, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey)
    Abstract: In this study we investigate whether women’s education, labor market status and their status within the household have any impact on their choice of a birth control method in Turkey. We use the 2013 round of Demographic Health Survey (DHS) dataset which includes information about women’s education levels and occupation types as well as other socioeconomic status indicators. The DHS also reports whether women use relatively more effective modern (i.e. IUD, pill, etc.) or traditional (i.e. withdrawal) methods. In the empirical analysis, we apply multivariate logistic estimation techniques and control for women’s other indicators of socioeconomic status such as age, ethnicity, and wealth. We find that woman’s education level and urban residence are the leading determinants that explain the choice of modern contraceptive methods. We also observe that women who are unemployed, inactive or unpaid family workers are less likely to use modern contraceptive methods compared to wage-earner women.
    Keywords: Human capital theory; fertility; contraceptive choice; women’s socioeconomic status; logit estimation; Turkey
    JEL: J13 J21 J24
    Date: 2018–02
  4. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: Selected Issues
    Date: 2018–01–22
  5. By: Peter Glick; Umaiyeh Kammash; Mohammed Shaheen; Ryan Andrew Brown; Prodyumna Goutam; Rita Karam; Sebastian Linnemayr; Salwa Massad
    Abstract: Very little is known about youth health risk behaviors such as drug and alcohol use and sexual activity in the Middle East and North Africa, and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories specifically. This lack of information, together with a lack of open discussion of these topics, leaves public health authorities in the region unprepared to deal with emerging public health threats at a time when major social and economic changes are increasing the risks that young men and women face. The Palestinian Youth Health Risk Study was designed to address these gaps in knowledge. It is the first in the region to collect large scale, representative survey data from youth on key risk behaviors (smoking, alcohol and drug use, and sexual activity as well as interpersonal violence). The study investigates the prevalence and patterns of these risk behaviors as well as of mental health, perceptions of the risks of such behaviors, and the factors increasing vulnerability to as well as protection from engagement in them.
    Date: 2016–07
  6. By: Desai, Raj M. (Georgetown University); Olofsgård, Anders (Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics); Yousef, Tarik (Brookings Institution)
    Abstract: What explains the variety of political behavior observed across the Arab world in recent years? We model political participation as a continuum from non-violent to violent activities where the chief purpose of political action is to signal discontent. The credibility of those signals, however, depends on the personal cost of political engagement, with the result being that individuals from both extreme high-cost and low-cost groups may self-exclude even when highly discontent. We show, further, that political violence constitutes a credible alternative for those for whom peaceful protest carries little signaling value. Using data from three nationally representative surveys of the Middle East and North Africa conducted over the past decade we find that socioeconomic status is generally, positively associated with non-violent political behavior of all types. Semi-parametric analysis reveals that political action, in keeping with our signaling framework, exhibits strong non-linear properties: the likelihood of participation in peaceful protests and strikes is highest among the upper-middle class, while support for violence is concentrated among the lower-middle class.
    Keywords: political behavior; Arab world; signaling models
    JEL: D74 N45 N47
    Date: 2018–01–30
  7. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: Kuwait is facing “lower-for-longer” oil prices from a position of strength, owing to large financial buffers, low debt, and a sound financial sector. Nonetheless, lower oil prices have weakened fiscal and external positions and generated large fiscal financing needs. The key challenge for the authorities is to accelerate reforms that underpin fiscal consolidation, while creating incentives for private initiative and investment and fostering job creation for nationals.
    Keywords: Kuwait;Middle East;
    Date: 2018–01–26
  8. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: Selected Issues
    Date: 2018–01–26
  9. By: Colesnic, Olga; Kounetas, Kostas; Polemis, Michael
    Abstract: The aim of this study is two-fold. Firstly, it attempts to analyse the effect of risk on Middle East bank's efficiency levels before and after the recent financial crisis. Secondly, it seeks to determine the influence of bank size taking into consideration the possible inefficiency originated to risk abatement cost. To examine the aforementioned issues we introduce a risk efficiency index based on an output orientated directional distance function with weak and strong disposability assumptions. The methodology has been applied on a panel data of Middle East banks spanning the period 1998-2014.The empirical findings suggest that on average small banks are more efficient and their size have less negative impact on their technical efficiency and risk management. On the other hand, large banks' risk management is found to be more flexible during financial crisis. Finally, banks with higher fixed assets are associated with more costly dispose of non performing loans justifying the rejection of a positive relation between bank size and technical efficiency.
    Keywords: Risk efficiency, Middle East banks, Directional distance function, Metatechnology
    JEL: D20 D24 G1 G2 G21
    Date: 2018–02–09
  10. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: Selected Issues
    Keywords: Middle East;Sudan;
    Date: 2017–12–11
  11. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: After 20 years, longstanding U.S. sanctions on trade and financial flows were revoked in October 2017, considering Sudan’s progress in cessation of hostilities in internal conflicts, improved cooperation on regional stability and counterterrorism, and improved humanitarian access. However, Sudan remains on the U.S. list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (SSTL), blocking progress towards badly needed debt relief. Arrears to the Fund are large (SDR 966.3 million). Economic conditions have been challenging since the secession of South Sudan in 2011, and the associated loss of the bulk of oil exports. Loose fiscal and monetary policies are fueling high inflation and could increase external imbalances over the medium term. Reserves remain very low and external financing relies on support from Gulf states.
    Keywords: Sudan;Middle East;
    Date: 2017–12–11
  12. By: Hache, E.; Massol, O.
    Abstract: Iran’s energy and petrochemical exports have recently been restricted by a series of international sanctions. This paper focuses on one of the country’s exports, namely methanol - a petrochemical increasingly used for fuel blending and traded at various locations worldwide – and empirically explores the relationships among the North American, European, and Asian markets to investigate the incidence of these sanctions. The analyses are conducted under a parity bounds framework based on Negassa and Myers (2007). The model was applied to the main methanol importing markets to estimate the effects of the sanctions on the degree of spatial integration. The findings document the occurrence of a complete reconfiguration of the spatial extent of the methanol markets. Under the sanctions, an increased degree of market integration was observed across the Atlantic, while fragmentation rose between Europe, South East Asia, and the two giant economies of China and India which both experienced lower prices.
    Keywords: Iran; sanctions; law of one price; market integration; methanol
    Date: 2016–04–06
  13. By: Aurelie Dariel; Curtis Kephart; Nikos Nikiforakis; Christina Zenker (Division of Social Science)
    Abstract: We explore gender attitudes towards competition in the United Arab Emirates – a traditionally patriarchal society which in recent times has adopted numerous policies to empower women and promote their role in the labor force. The experimental treatments vary whether individuals compete in single-sex or mixed-sex groups. In contrast to previous studies, women in our sample are not less willing to compete than men. In fact, once we control for individual performance, Emirati women are more likely to select into competition. Our analysis shows that neither women nor men shy away from competition, and both compete more than what would be optimal in monetary terms as the fraction of men in their group increases. We offer a detailed survey of the literature and discuss possible reasons for the lack of gender differences in our experiment.
    Date: 2017–11

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