nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2019‒02‒25
six papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. The Effect of Vocational Education on Short- and Long-Term Outcomes of Students: Evidence from the Arab Education System in Israel By Elad Demalach; Noam Zussman
  2. Measuring the Spatial Misallocation of Labor: The Returns to India-Gulf Guest Work in a Natural Experiment By Clemens, Michael A.
  3. A Tale of (Almost) 1001 Coefficients: Deep and Heterogeneous Effects of the EU-Turkey Customs Union By Mario Larch; Aiko F. Schmeißer; Joschka Wanner
  4. SMEs Sector: A Key Driver to the Egyptian Economic Development By Abdel bary, Amr
  5. A Structural VAR Model for Estimating the Link between Monetary Policy and Home Prices in Israel By Dana Orfaig
  6. Does Financial Regulation Unintentionally Ignore Less Privileged Populations? The Investigation of a Regulatory Fintech Advancement, Objective and Subjective Financial Literacy By Maya Haran Rosen; Orly Sade

  1. By: Elad Demalach (Bank of Israel); Noam Zussman (Bank of Israel)
    Abstract: Abstract This study examines the effect of vocational education on short- and long-term outcomes of students who were in the Arab education system in Israel in the 1990s. In order to overcome possible bias arising from the selection of students into vocational education, the study exploits a reform implemented in the Arab education system that led to the opening of new vocational tracks in localities that either had no vocational studies beforehand or had such studies but only on a small scale (treatment localities). These localities are compared to similar localities in which no new tracks were opened (comparison localities). Difference-in-differences estimates show a 3–5 percentage point decrease in the probability of dropping out of high-school following the opening of the new tracks, which is about 20–35 (10–15) percent of the girls’ (boys’) mean dropout rate. There is also a 4–7 percentage point increase in the share of girls taking matriculation exams. However, the opening of the new tracks did not increase the matriculation eligibility rate of the students, with the rate even decreasing among boys according to several estimates. The opening of the vocational tracks had no significant long-term effect on the likelihood of the students acquiring a tertiary academic education, on being employed, or on their earnings in their adulthood. There was a significant increase in the number of women entering clerical professions, which is consistent with the popularity of the new clerical tracks. There was also a significant decrease in the share of girls marrying at a young age, probably due to the increase in the probability of their completing high school.
    Date: 2017–12
  2. By: Clemens, Michael A. (Center for Global Development)
    Abstract: 'Guest workers' earn higher wages overseas on temporary low-skill employment visas. This wage effect can quantify global inefficiencies in the pure spatial allocation of labor between poorer and richer countries. But rigorous estimates are rare, complicated by migrant self-selection. This paper tests the effects of guest work on Indian applicants to a construction job in the United Arab Emirates, where a crisis exogenously influenced job placement. Guest work raised the return to labor by a factor of four, implying large spatial inefficiency. Short-term effects on households were modest. Effects on information, debt, and later migration were incompatible with systematic fraud.
    Keywords: income, human capital, migration, labor, mobility, guest work, India, gulf, construction, worker, selection, migrant, temporary, visa, wage, education, crisis, low-skill, unskilled, credit, exploited, naive, regret, slavery, trafficking, debt, coerced, cheated
    JEL: F22 J6 O12 O16 O19
    Date: 2019–01
  3. By: Mario Larch; Aiko F. Schmeißer; Joschka Wanner
    Abstract: In view of the deferred start of negotiations for the modernization of the Customs Union between the EU and Turkey (CU-EUT), we look back and analyse the ex post trade consequences of the CU-EUT. Employing up-to-date econometric best practices for regional integration agreements, we quantify both total and heterogeneous trade effects of the CU-EUT. In contrast to most previous studies, our results indicate a significantly positive, large, and robust impact of the CU-EUT, implying an additional increase in EU-Turkey manufacturing trade by 55-65% compared to the previously active Ankara Agreement. We also provide evidence that the CU-EUT significantly increased Turkey’s trade with third countries. Additionally, a substantial heterogeneity in the CUEUT effect is found across different industries as well as for each of its member countries and the direction of trade. We link the heterogeneity of our up to 911 coefficient estimates to differences in initial trade costs and show that it cannot be ascribed to reductions in bilateral tariff rates.
    Keywords: gravity model, European integration, country-specific effects
    JEL: F14 F15
    Date: 2019
  4. By: Abdel bary, Amr
    Abstract: The focus of this paper is the discussion of the competitiveness facing SMEs in the global business environment by examining the opportunities and supports from the government. The purpose of this paper is to review the experiences of some countries that have benefited greatly from SME development and have been able to achieve high economic growth rates. On the other hand, presented the problems facing the Egyptian economy in order to achieve rapid growth rates at the level of small and medium enterprises and finally propose the strategies that can contribute effectively to the development of these projects.
    Keywords: Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs),Challenges,Competitiveness,SME Development
    Date: 2019
  5. By: Dana Orfaig (Bank of Israel)
    Abstract: In recent years, the marked increase in home prices in Israel has prompted the need to understand the impact of monetary policy on home prices, including the mag- nitude and persistence of that impact. This paper finds that in response to a positive shock of 1 percentage point in the Bank of Israel's monetary interest rate, nominal home prices decline by 2.6 percent, and real home prices decline by 1.1 percent (and in a symmetrical manner to a negative shock). A broad international comparison indicates that the impact on home prices in Israel of a monetary shock is similar to the average impact worldwide. This paper adds to a wide global research base, and proposes-apparently for the first time in Israel-a structural VAR examination of the dynamic links between monetary policy and home prices. The VAR structure takes into account the main variables in the economy that affect, and are affected by, this link. The main conclusion is that monetary shocks, on their own, were not a dominant factor in explaining the changes in home prices in the research period-from the second quarter of 1995 through the first quarter of 2015.
    Date: 2017–09
  6. By: Maya Haran Rosen (Bank of Israel); Orly Sade (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
    Abstract: In 2013-2015, the Israeli insurance and long term savings regulator reached out to the Israeli population, recommending the use of a new centralized Internet portal created by the regulator to help individuals find inactive retirement plans and withdraw inactive funds. We find that the government's effort did not result in withdrawals of the majority of the accounts, and did not reach all subpopulations equally. Provident fund records indicate that those who took action and withdrew funds following the campaign live in central locations that have higher socioeconomic rankings, and they are relatively older. Using survey data, we found evidence that those with low financial literacy and confidence in their knowledge of retirement planning and the unemployed were less likely to have been aware of the financial regulatory campaigns. It seems that confidence in one's financial knowledge is more important for financial action than objective literacy. The survey further shows the importance of gender, age, education, and immigration status. We conclude that less privileged populations were less likely to have been aware of the campaign, to enter the Internet portal, and to have taken action based on the information.
    Date: 2017–08

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