nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2018‒08‒20
ten papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. How Public Investment Could Help Strengthen Iran’s Growth Potential: Issues and Options By Amir Sadeghi
  2. Media and Political Participation in North Africa By Mathilde Maurel; Charlemagne Nikiema
  3. Misperceived Social Norms: Female Labor Force Participation in Saudi Arabia By Leonardo Bursztyn; Alessandra L. González; David Yanagizawa-Drott
  4. Genetic Investment in Dairy Buffalo: A Case Study from Egypt By Ibrahim Soliman
  5. Iran Economic Monitor, Fall 2017 By World Bank Group
  6. Fiscal Adjustment in the Gulf Countries: Less Costly than Previously Thought By Armand Fouejieu; Sergio Rodriguez; Sohaib Shahid
  7. Egypt’s Youth Outside Work and Education By Tabea Dietrich; Amr Elshawarby; Tobias Lechtenfeld
  8. Economic Growth, Productivity and Convergence of the Middle East and North African Countries By Mushtaq Malik, Mushtaq Ahmad Malik; Tariq Masood, Dr. Tariq Masood
  9. Selling hope? A review of current youth unemployment initiatives in Cairo By Pettit, Harry
  10. Transferts de fonds des migrants vers les pays du Maghreb : quel impact sur le taux de change effectif réel ? By Nader Nefzi; Joël Oudinet; Mouez Soussi

  1. By: Amir Sadeghi
    Abstract: Public investment is key to growth in developing oil-exporting countries and oil revenue is an important source of finance for public investment. Assessing the growth impact of public investment in Iran under various investment scaling-up (gradual, aggressive, and conservative) and oil price (baseline and adverse) scenarios, this paper shows that because of absorptive capacity constraint and investment inefficiency the growth outcome of an aggressive investment scaling-up is not significantly different from a conservative or a gradual scenario while its costs, in terms of fiscal adjustment, are significantly higher, especially during low oil price periods. An improvement in investment efficiency has a significant positive impact on growth outcome and leads to higher private consumption and investment. Using an oil fund, on the other hand, can help contain the size of fiscal adjustments, although it would result in a larger appreciation of real exchange rate and deterioration in the current account balance.
    Keywords: Middle East;Iran, Islamic Republic of;Public Investment; Growth; Oil Revenue; Investment Efficiency; Iran, Public Investment, Growth, Oil Revenue, Investment Efficiency, Iran, General, Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    Date: 2018–06–08
  2. By: Mathilde Maurel (FERDI - Fondation pour les Etudes et Recherches sur le Développement International, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Charlemagne Nikiema (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: We examine the role of new decentralized media (the internet) vs old media (television) on individuals' political engagement in North Africa. Drawing our data from the Afrobarometer round 5 survey, we tackle issues of endogeneity by resorting first to a propensity score matching method to identify the effect of media on political participation. We then address endogeneity by relying to a bivariate probit model while using lightening activity as an instrument for media. The analysis evidences the political power of the internet and TV. Getting news from internet reduces voting but increases protests, while TV watching induces more vote and less protest. This effect is channeled through the impact of media on the perception about political institutions, which differs across the different media.
    Keywords: Media, Political Participation, North Africa
    Date: 2016–11–13
  3. By: Leonardo Bursztyn; Alessandra L. González; David Yanagizawa-Drott
    Abstract: Through the custom of guardianship, husbands typically have the final word on their wives’ labor supply decisions in Saudi Arabia, a country with very low female labor force participation (FLFP). We provide incentivized evidence (both from an experimental sample in Riyadh and from a national sample) that the vast majority of young married men in Saudi Arabia privately support FLFP outside of home from a normative perspective, while they substantially underestimate the level of support for FLFP by other similar men – even men from their same social setting, such as their neighbors. We then show that randomly correcting these beliefs about others increases married men’s willingness to let their wives join the labor force (as measured by their costly sign-up for a job-matching service for their wives). Finally, we find that this decision maps onto real outcomes: four months after the main intervention, the wives of men in our original sample whose beliefs about acceptability of FLFP were corrected are more likely to have applied and interviewed for a job outside of home. Together, our evidence indicates a potentially important source of labor market frictions, where job search is underprovided due to misperceived social norms.
    JEL: C90 D83 D91 J22 Z10
    Date: 2018–06
  4. By: Ibrahim Soliman
    Abstract: The limited resources of water and agricultural land and deficit in feed supply for horizontal expansion in Egyptian livestock population, imposed the vertical expansion as the only feasible approach for development. There are evidences that Egypt has comparative advantage in milk production from the Egyptian river buffalo strain. Therefrom, the approach towards increasing the domestic supply of milk is to raise the buffalo milk yield via genetic investment. The study used a field sample survey data to apply a designed dynamic mathematical investment model to evaluate the feasibility of such biological technology for development. The model results in estimating the internal rate of return (IRR) to genetic investment using the semen of selected buffalo sires via artificial insemination. The study estimated the Predicted milk difference of such semen of about 0.425 kg of milk per milking day. The most probable level of IRR was feasible, i.e. 19.71%, as it was above the interest rate for dairy cattle loans (16.0%) and the inflation rate in milk price (10.5%). larger number of services for conception, older age at first calving and longer service period by 10%, would decrease the IRR by 7.51%. Therefore, the reproduction physiology research program should be focused on improvement the dairy buffalo’s reproductive performance. A decrease in feed efficiency by 10% would decrease the IRR by 9%. Therefore, nutrition research program should focus on better and least cost ration plans. Any probable worse economic conditions such as 10% increase in feed costs and price per an inseminating service, with 10% decrease in milk price would decrease IRR by 7%.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Livestock Production/Industries, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies
    Date: 2017–05–01
  5. By: World Bank Group
    Keywords: International Economics and Trade - Export Competitiveness Macroeconomics and Economic Growth - Economic Forecasting Macroeconomics and Economic Growth - Economic Growth Macroeconomics and Economic Growth - Economic Policy, Institutions and Governance Macroeconomics and Economic Growth - Fiscal & Monetary Policy Poverty Reduction - Employment and Shared Growth Social Protections and Labor - Labor Markets Social Protections and Labor - Social Protections & Assistance
    Date: 2017–11
  6. By: Armand Fouejieu; Sergio Rodriguez; Sohaib Shahid
    Abstract: This paper estimates fiscal multipliers for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Using OLS panel fixed effects on a sample of six countries from 1990-2016, results indicate that GCC fiscal multipliers have declined in recent years which would make the on-going fiscal consolidation less costly than previously thought. Though both capital and current multipliers have declined in recent years, capital multipliers are larger than current multipliers, which implies that reducing (less productive) current spending will help limit the adverse impact of such measures on growth.
    Keywords: Economic growth;Government expenditures;Fiscal policy;Fiscal policy;Fiscal stimulus and multipliers;Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC);Fiscal Multiplier, GCC, General, Asia including Middle East
    Date: 2018–06–13
  7. By: Tabea Dietrich; Amr Elshawarby; Tobias Lechtenfeld
    Keywords: Social Protections and Labor - Labor Markets Social Protections and Labor - Skills Development and Labor Force Training Social Protections and Labor - Vocational & Technical Education Social Protections and Labor - Labor Policies Social Protections and Labor - Employment and Unemployment
    Date: 2016–12
  8. By: Mushtaq Malik, Mushtaq Ahmad Malik; Tariq Masood, Dr. Tariq Masood
    Abstract: The present study tried to understand spatial and temporal variation in economic growth and productivity of the Middle East and North African Region for the period 1971-2014. Further, we also tested the hypothesis of regional convergence in the neo-classical framework. The study is based on the Penn World Table data of a sample of the Middle East and North African countries. Our findings suggest that oil-dependent economies have shown large variations in growth which can be linked with the fluctuations of oil price. Due to rapid population and labour force growth (both nationals and immigrants) in most of the oil-based economies, growth rates of per capita GDP and per worker GDP are quite meagre. Total factor productivity does not play a significant role and growth in the region is due to the capital accumulation. Both beta and sigma measures of convergence suggest that there is convergence in per worker GDP (labour productivity) and per capita GDP.
    Keywords: economic growth; growth accounting; productivity convergence; MENA
    JEL: O47
    Date: 2018–03–01
  9. By: Pettit, Harry
    Abstract: Young university educated Egyptians continue to face difficulties in securing employment, particularly employment that matches their skill-level and provides a solid foundation for marriage. This has direct implications for the country’s social stability, and for maximisation of its labour resources. Existing initiatives – including soft-skills and entrepreneurship training, as well as a promotion of call centre work – which are designed to tackle the problem are not making a positive difference. Using eleven months of grounded qualitative research, this paper argues that they rather promote a false sense of hope to youth who become stuck in cycles of precarious work, by extending the meritocratic idea that individual hard work alone leads to success. The paper finishes by suggesting that policy-makers must focus more attention on addressing shortages in secure white-collar work, as well as inequalities in access to capital, education and social connections, instead of placing blame on ‘lazy’ youth, in order to maximize the potential of Egypt’s youth and deliver inclusive economic prosperity.
    Keywords: youth,unemployment,training,entrepreneurship,meritocracy,hope
    Date: 2018
  10. By: Nader Nefzi (CEPN - Centre d'Economie de l'Université Paris Nord - UP13 - Université Paris 13 - USPC - Université Sorbonne Paris Cité - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Joël Oudinet (CEPN - Centre d'Economie de l'Université Paris Nord - UP13 - Université Paris 13 - USPC - Université Sorbonne Paris Cité - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Mouez Soussi (IHEC - Institut des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Carthage)
    Abstract: L'impact des transferts de fonds sur le taux de change effectif réel est analysé pour un panel de trois pays du Maghreb, la Tunisie, le Maroc et l'Algérie entre 1980 et 2015, à l'aide d'un modèle en panel dynamique autorégressif à retards échelonnés (ARDL) qui permet d'analyser aussi bien la relation de court et de long terme. Les résultats montrent, contrairement à ce qui est trouvé pour les pays d'Amérique latine, que l'afflux de capitaux sous forme de transferts de fonds par les migrants entraîne, non pas une appréciation, mais une très légère dépréciation du taux de change effectif réel. En conséquence, les envois de fonds par leur impact sur le taux de change n'ont pas d'incidence négative sur la compétitivité prix des trois pays du Maghreb. Cet effet est légèrement plus marqué en Algérie qu'en Tunisie ou au Maroc. L'usage des transferts par les familles récipiendaires, les caractéristiques contra cycliques des entrées de devise, via les transferts des migrants et la politique de change menée réduisent ce risque d'appréciation du change, nommé « syndrome hollandais ».
    Keywords: Migration, Envois d'argent, taux de change effectif réel, Dutch Disease, syndrome hollandais, Algérie, Maroc, Tunisie.
    Date: 2017–03

This nep-ara issue is ©2018 by Paul Makdissi. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.