nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2018‒03‒19
eight papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Return migration and socioeconomic mobility in MENA: Evidence from labour market panel surveys By Vladimir Hlasny; Shireen AlAzzawi
  2. Morocco: A Practical Approach to Monetary Policy Analysis in a Country with Capital Controls By Mokhtar Benlamine; Ales Bulir; Meryem Farouki; Ã gnes Horváth; Faical Hossaini; Hasnae El Idrissi; Zineb Iraoui; Mihály Kovács; Douglas Laxton; Anass Maaroufi; Katalin Szilágyi; Mohamed Taamouti; David Vávra
  3. The democracy and economic growth nexus: Do FDI and government spending matter? Evidence from the Arab world By Bougharriou, Nouha; Benayed, Walid; Gabsi, Foued Badr
  4. Targeting mechanisms for cash transfers using regional aggregates By Chaaban, Jad M.; Ghattas, Hala; Irani, Alexandra; Thomas, Alban
  5. Autonomous Reform vs Global Isomorphism: Explaining Iran’s Success in Reducing Fertility By Lant Pritchett; Masoomeh Khandan
  6. Political connection and bank in(efficiency) By Omneya Abdelsalam; Sabur Mollah; Emili Tortosa-Ausina
  7. Spatial Inequality of Growth between Morocco Regions By SAHIBI, Youness; HAMZAOUI, Moustapha
  8. Employment implications of trade and changes in skills demand evidence from selected countries By Tarjáni, Hajnalka.

  1. By: Vladimir Hlasny; Shireen AlAzzawi
    Abstract: This study examines the effects of cross-border return migration on intertemporal and intergenerational transmission of socio-economic status across six new harmonized surveys from three Arab countries: Egypt (1998, 2006, 2012), Jordan (2010, 2016) and Tunisia (2014). We link individuals’ current outcomes to those in prior years and to their parents’ outcomes. We first isolate the outcomes of interest – income, employment status, household wealth based on both productive and non-productive assets, and residence status. Next, we evaluate individuals’ socioeconomic mobility over time and across generations as a function of their migration histories. Return migrants, current migrants, and (yet) non-migrants are distinguished. Transitions in individuals’ outcomes across years and generations are made functions of pre-existing socioeconomic status, demographics and migration status. Migration patterns are found to differ systematically between Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia, as well as across years. Migration destination is driven by economic, geographic but also historical considerations. Migrant flow from Egypt and Tunisia is highly concentrated, but that from Jordan is much more diffused, on account of job search methods and type of work sought. Egyptian migrants predominantly come from rural areas and disadvantaged governorates, and are less educated, while in Jordan the opposite is the case. Tunisia represents an intermediate case, with migrants slightly less educated but also less likely to be rural than non-migrants. Return migrants find employment in higher earning occupations and are more socially and inter-generationally mobile than non-migrants. However, they outperform non-migrants not only currently, but also in the previous occupation, occupation before previous, and eight years prior, suggesting that individual-level effects and demographics contribute more than migration experience per se. More research is needed to isolate the causal effects of migration spells on migrants’ lifetime outcomes.
    Date: 2018
  2. By: Mokhtar Benlamine; Ales Bulir; Meryem Farouki; Ã gnes Horváth; Faical Hossaini; Hasnae El Idrissi; Zineb Iraoui; Mihály Kovács; Douglas Laxton; Anass Maaroufi; Katalin Szilágyi; Mohamed Taamouti; David Vávra
    Abstract: The Central Bank of Morocco has been working on developing a Forecasting and Policy Analysis System (FPAS) to support a gradual move toward a more flexible exchange rate regime and the eventual adoption of a full-fledged inflation-targeting (IT) regime. At the center of the FPAS is a quarterly projection model that was tailored for two different types of exchange rate regimes. Presently, the fixed exchange rate model version is to be used during the pre-IT period, while the flexible exchange rate model version is to be used to prepare alternative scenarios for monetary policy decision makers to discuss the potential policy implications of shocks under an IT regime.
    Date: 2018–02–14
  3. By: Bougharriou, Nouha; Benayed, Walid; Gabsi, Foued Badr
    Abstract: The purpose of the paper is to examine the direct and indirect links between democracy and economic growth. To do so, the authors estimate a dynamic panel simultaneous equations model on a sample of 16 Arab countries during the period 2002-2013. This study focuses on two particular channels through which democracy affects growth, namely FDI inflows and public consumption expenditure. The results show that there is no clear relationship between democracy and economic growth in the Arab countries, which confirms the skeptical approach. The ambiguity of this relationship can be explained by the fact that democracy promotes growth indirectly by stimulating FDI inflows and hinders growth by generating higher public consumption expenditure.
    Keywords: democracy,economic growth,FDI,government spending,Arab world,dynamic panel simultaneous equations model
    JEL: C3 O40 P16
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Chaaban, Jad M.; Ghattas, Hala; Irani, Alexandra; Thomas, Alban
    Abstract: We propose an empirical method for improving food assistance scoring and targeting, which minimizes under-coverage and leakage of food and cash assistance programs. The empirical strategy relies on a joint econometric estimation of food insecurity and economic vulnerability indicators at the household level, using data-driven instead of predetermined quantiles.We apply the method to recent micro data on Syrian refugees in Lebanon, to explore how regional and community-based aggregates can improve the targeting effectiveness of aid programs, notably food aid by the World Food Program in Lebanon. Our results confirm that using regional aggregates are useful for augmenting the Balanced Poverty Accuracy Criterion, and our method performs much better than the current policy in terms of targeting effectiveness and accuracy for economically vulnerable households.
    Keywords: Targeting ; Food security;;Economic vulnerability; Food aid; Refugees
    JEL: I38 Q18
    Date: 2018–02
  5. By: Lant Pritchett (Center for International Development at Harvard University); Masoomeh Khandan (Center for Global Development)
    Abstract: A long-standing literature in the sociology of organizations (e.g., DiMaggio and Powell 1983) suggests that, as change agents face uncertainty about actions and outcomes, they often seek legitimacy through isomorphism: adopting structures, policies and reforms similar (at least in appearance) to those deemed successful elsewhere. We examine history’s most rapid reduction of fertility—from 8.4 in 1985 to 2.4 in 2002, in rural Iran—as an example of successful autonomous reform. The Iranian state, which was self-consciously cut off from nearly all of the traditional vectors of global isomorphism, initiated a successful behavioral change in a domain (family planning) perhaps unexpected for an Islamic state. We describe and explain the Iranian approach, in particular the rural program, contrasting it with the global strategy of adopting universal "best practices."
    Keywords: Iran, Fertility
    Date: 2017–11
  6. By: Omneya Abdelsalam (Durham University); Sabur Mollah (School of Management, Swansea University); Emili Tortosa-Ausina (Universitat Jaume I and Ivie)
    Abstract: Does political connection affect bank efficiency during both financial and political crises? This study addresses this question by adopting a two-stage approach that uses a quantile regression analysis of a unique dataset of listed banks in the Middle East and North Africa region. Our results show that political connection is a driving force behind bank inefficiency in the region. We find that the least efficient banks have the most significant association with political connections, thus supporting the bailout theory. We also find that political connections influenced the efficiency of banks during the 2008-9 global financial crisis but not during the 2011-13 regional political crisis. Our results provide new evidence on the applicability of established political connection theories in developing countries during political regime turmoil. We therefore recommend that global banking regulators and market participants scrutinize the political connections of banks more thoroughly.
    Keywords: Banks, Efficiency, MENA countries, Political connections, Data Envelopment Analysis, Quantile regression.
    JEL: D24 G21 G28 O16
    Date: 2018–02–24
  7. By: SAHIBI, Youness; HAMZAOUI, Moustapha
    Abstract: Although significant progress had been made in Morocco, the inter-regional inequalities persist. The aim of this paper is to analyse this spatial inequality and convergence phenomenon in Morocco, using regional data between 2000 and 2007. Thus, relying on methods of spatial data analysis and taken from theoretical and empirical contributions, this paper analyses the role of the sectorial externalities and spatial spillovers in growth. Next, we tested the existence of a convergence process and the conditions for its improvement. The results showed the existence of a growth convergence process in value added and productivity but not in employment. On the other hand, the variables of human capital and infrastructure can significantly reduce regional inequality. Thus, we conclude that the conventional policies based solely on the infrastructure development or education are not sufficient. A more comprehensive approach that integrates these two axes and encourages business development and knowledge transfer is needed.
    Keywords: Spatial Inequality, Growth, Morocco, Convergence
    JEL: J18 R11 R12
    Date: 2017
  8. By: Tarjáni, Hajnalka.
    Abstract: This paper provides analysis on the implications of international trade on employment and skills demand in selected countries, including Cambodia, Ghana, Jordan, Malawi,Morocco, Myanmar, the Philippines, Tunisia and Viet Nam. It is based on a number of background studies which were prepared to support the implementation of the ILO’s Skills for Trade and Export Diversification Programme in these countries. These countries are at different stages of opening up to trade and integration to the global economy, and pursue different strategies to realise growth through trade. The paper looks at trends in exports between 2000–2015, and discusses the direct and indirect effects of exports on production and employment in interconnected sectors of the domestic economy. Subject to the limited availability of labour market data from most of these countries, the paper seeks corresponding changes in the structure of employment, and summarises information one xisting skills imbalances.
    Keywords: 1, 2, 3, 4
    Date: 2017

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