nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2018‒12‒10
seven papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Maintaining the Order: Contemporary Kuwaitisation Dynamics and their Historical Perspectives By Manal R. SHEHABI
  2. Labor Market and Institutional Drivers of Youth Irregular Migration: Evidence from the MENA Region By Dibeh, Ghassan; Fakih, Ali; Marrouch, Walid
  3. The Relationship among Turkish EFL Learners? Perceived Communication Competence, Willingness to Communicate and Speaking Proficiency By Leyla Karakurt
  4. Examination of the international market power for Iranian pistachios By Farajzadeh, Z.; Amiraslany, A.
  5. Assessing Kuwaiti Energy Pricing Reforms By Manal R. SHEHABI
  6. Estimating Household Expenditure Economies of Scale in Iran By Karbasi, A.; Mohammadzadeh, S.H.
  7. Comment Israël a évité l’hyperinflation ? Le succès du plan de stabilisation (1985) à la lumière de la théorie post-keynésienne By Jonathan Marie; Sébastien Charles

  1. By: Manal R. SHEHABI (Business School, The University of Western Australia and Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, The University of Oxford)
    Abstract: Increasing influences of Gulf countries in the wider Middle East suggest a possible ‘Gulfisation’ of the region transmitted through economic, political, and military means. Less visible, however, are underlying struggles within Gulf Cooperation Council members to protect their respective local ‘Gulf’ entities from influences of the high concentration of expatriates in their labour forces and populations. This protection is mostly visible in localisation policies of the labour force. This paper examines this process in Kuwait known as ‘Kuwaitisation’, tracing its historical events and identifying its features through parallels between past and contemporary events. It is posited that while Kuwaitisation is presented as an economic labour policy to increase indigenous employment in the private sector and reduce reliance on public welfare, it is an instrument reflecting the political economy of the welfare state to achieve demographic, cultural, and political objectives, and that its failure has been partly deliberate and partly systematic. Although Kuwaitisation is as old as the country’s independence, its importance was instigated by demographic and political shifts surrounding the 1990 Iraqi invasion. The Gulf crisis set the stage for a deliberate shift in temporary migration policies and the ensuing forced exodus of Palestinians from Kuwait. It also set a precedence for the contemporary use of Kuwaitisation as a seeming labour policy motivated by minimizing transmission of external and internal shocks to Kuwait and maintaining its identity. Given Kuwait’s economic structure and implications of public sector employment policies coupled with conflict in the wider Middle East and expectations of a persistently low petroleum price environment, contemporary Kuwaitisation dynamics have not been successful in achieving its stated objectives, including reducing welfare and public sector expenditures. Instead, these dynamics cement welfare, the role of the state, and the ‘Kuwaiti’ identity as unequivocal elements of the Kuwaiti political economy.
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Dibeh, Ghassan (American University of Beirut); Fakih, Ali (Lebanese American University); Marrouch, Walid (Lebanese American University)
    Abstract: Irregular migration became an alarming issue over the last decade for both developed and developing countries. A prevailing assumption in migration policy is that labor market and institutional characteristics play a crucial role in pushing people to leave their home countries in search for better life prospects. This paper examines this hypothesis using a unique dataset covering young people aged 15 to 29 from five major MENA countries from the year 2016. Using a probit model, the paper finds that labor market drivers (unemployment, job sector, social security, contract type) are of great importance for the decision to migrate irregularly amongst the youth in the MENA region and that the quality of institutions matters. In addition, the lack of wealth and economic opportunities enhance their willingness to engage in irregular migration.
    Keywords: irregular migration, youth, labor markets, institutions, Arab Spring
    JEL: J61 O17
    Date: 2018–10
  3. By: Leyla Karakurt (Baskent University)
    Abstract: This study aims to explore the relationship among Turkish EFL Learners? communicative competence, willingness to communicate (WTC), and their speaking proficiency in a Turkish EFL context. 213 students who are majoring in the School of Foreign Languages, English Language Department at a foundation university in Ankara during the academic year of 2015-2016 Spring Semester participated in the study. The students are monolingual and their ages range from 17 to 24. The participants completed 5-point likert-type questionnaires on Turkish-language version of the Perceived Communication Competence Test by Yashima (2002), MacIntyre & Charos (1996) and WTC Test by McCroskey (1992). These tests were used for measuring students? perceived communication competence and willingness to communicate in Turkish EFL context, which will later be compared with their speaking proficiency. The data obtained from the study will be analyzed and interpreted and relying on these findings some recommendations will be made for foreign language teachers.
    Keywords: Willingness to communicate, perceived communication competence, speaking proficiency, Turkish EFL context.
    JEL: D83 D84 C89
    Date: 2018–10
  4. By: Farajzadeh, Z.; Amiraslany, A.
    Abstract: Abstract Iran accounts for more than 50 percent of the world pistachios market and thus has a leading role in price formation of pistachios. The objective of this study is to determine the price transmission pattern between domestic and world markets of pistachio and to investigate the link between market power and asymmetric adjustment. An innovative specification of asymmetric autoregressive model of Pricing to Market (PTM) employed to study the export-domestic price relationship by incorporating the exchange rate in increasing and decreasing components of the PTM model. Results indicate that PTM analysis-based specification is preferable to a simple model that does not cover the exchange rate effect. Also, the empirical findings suggest that export prices are more responding to the exchange rate increases than decrease in the exchange rates. The asymmetric transmission effect of the exchange rate also indicates a possible source of market power exerted by Iranian exporters Acknowledgement :
    Keywords: Marketing
    Date: 2018–07
  5. By: Manal R. SHEHABI (Business School, The University of Western Australia and Oxford Institute for Energy Studies)
    Abstract: From mid-2014 Kuwait has experienced a substantial drop in its petroleum export price and,consequently, government revenue, causing a severe fiscal deficit and impaired economic performance. Cutting energy subsidies has become a policy priority. In the face of widespread opposition, the government raised gasoline prices in August 2016, proclaiming such reform the key to solving economic problems; yet recent policy discussions have not addressed the mechanism of pricing reforms. The paper offers a quantification and assessment of energy pricing reform in the current low petroleum price environment via a general equilibrium model of the Kuwaiti economy that embodies the structure of its economy and its labor market, its oligopolistic industries, and external flows associated with its sovereign wealth fund. Simulations clarify the required adjustments, including the seldom discussed expatriate labor exit and the decline in oligopoly rents. While necessary, subsidy reform implies trade-offs, notably between fiscal stabilization and cost of living sustainability. The results confirm that successful implementation must be accompanied by carefully designed mitigation measures and associated microeconomic reforms.
    Keywords: petroleum; price volatility; general equilibrium; subsidy, oligopoly; sovereign wealth fund; expatriate labor; Kuwait, CGE
    JEL: C68 D43 D58 E24 E62 F41 H50 L13 L43 O53 Q43
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Karbasi, A.; Mohammadzadeh, S.H.
    Abstract: Households differ from each other concerning size, age, gender and other properties, and it is expected that households with different properties have different consumption patterns. In this study, economies of scale of Iranian households (Mashhad City) were estimated using Engel approach of food consumption and Barten approach for 8 different commodity groups. In Engel approach, economies of scale was equal for all the commodities, so the estimated economies of scale indicator was over estimated. In Berten approach, the indicator estimated more accurately, and it was different for commodity groups. The results showed that food, housing, clothing, transportation and communication have economies of scale. The smallest and the largest of economies of scale were related to food as a private and housing as a public commodities, respectively. Economies of scale for exclusive commodities and miscellaneous commodities were greater than one, and there was diseconomies of scale. Overall economies of scale indicator was equal to 0.79; it showed that 21% of absolute expenditure in larger households could be reduced without changing their standard of living. Acknowledgement : Thank you
    Keywords: Consumer/Household Economics
    Date: 2018–07
  7. By: Jonathan Marie (Centre d'Economie de l'Université de Paris Nord (CEPN)); Sébastien Charles (LEDA)
    Abstract: Adoptant un cadre post-keynésien, l’article analyse le processus inflationniste à l’œuvre de 1948 jusqu’aux années 1980 pour, d’une part, comprendre les origines de la quasi hyperinflation du 1er semestre 1985 et, d’autre part, saisir la réussite du plan de stabilisation intervenu lors de l’été de cette même année. En 1985 le shekel semble devoir être complètement rejeté par ses utilisateurs au profit du dollar, ce qui, dans le contexte fortement inflationniste d’alors, aurait dû engendrer une hyperinflation. Ce résultat est provoqué par la conjonction de plusieurs facteurs : la virulence historique du conflit de répartition, la présence de mécanismes d’indexation et la fragilité des comptes extérieurs marqués par un déficit courant structurel. Le plan de stabilisation, soutenu par l’aide financière importante des États-Unis, permet d’atténuer immédiatement la contrainte de financement externe et parvient à affaiblir durablement la virulence du conflit de répartition, écartant ainsi les risques hyperinflationnistes. L’analyse de cette trajectoire historique confirme la cohérence théorique de l’analyse post-keynésienne de l’hyperinflation.
    Keywords: Israël, Hyperinflation, analyse post-keynésienne
    JEL: E12 E31 N15
    Date: 2018–11

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