nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2019‒06‒10
two papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Productivity, structural change and skills dynamics: Evidence from a half century analysis in Tunisia and Turkey By Gunes Asik; Ulas Karakoc; Mohamed Ali Marouani; Michelle Marshalian
  2. Obama's road to Cairo: The president's rhetorical journey, 2008-2009 By Lukacs, Nils E.

  1. By: Gunes Asik (Tobb Economics and Technology University, Turkey); Ulas Karakoc (Humboldt University Berlin, Germany); Mohamed Ali Marouani (UMR « Développement et Société », IEDES / Université Paris1-Panthéon-Sorbonne, PSL, Université Paris-Dauphine, LEDa, IRD UMR DIAL); Michelle Marshalian (University of Paris, Dauphine (PSL) and DIAL, France)
    Abstract: This article explores the contribution of structural change and the skill upgrading of the labor force to productivity in Tunisia and Turkey in the institutional context of the post-World War II period. Our growth decomposition shows that productivity is mainly explained by intra-industry changes for both countries during the import substitution period. Structural change played an important role in Turkey for a longer period of time than in Tunisia. Based on an instrumental variable regression setting, we find evidence that overall, the change in the share of high-educated workers had a causal impact on productivity levels in Turkey, but no such relation was found in Tunisia. Secondly, we show that this productivity increase has mainly been driven by the reallocation of higher educated labor between sectors rather than the absorption of highly educated workers within sectors. In Tunisia we do not find evidence of links between education demand and productivity. Moreover, the evidence from the instrumental variable regressions show that when we exclude the government sector in Tunisia, the overall skills upgrading is negatively associated with productivity growth, suggesting a downward return to educated labor demand over time.
    Keywords: Productivity, Skills, Structural change, Tunisia, Turkey, MENA.
    JEL: J24 L16 N15 N17
    Date: 2019–05
  2. By: Lukacs, Nils E.
    Abstract: Ten years ago, President Barack Obama's unprecedented address to the Muslim world from Cairo was hailed as a landmark in US-Middle Eastern relations and described by contemporary observers as a historical break in US foreign policy in the region. Yet it soon became clear that the president's vision for a "new beginning based on mutual interest and mutual respect" would face many practical constraints. Analysing the thematic and rhetorical development of Obama's speeches during the formative period between summer 2008 and 2009, as well as the public and academic perception of and reaction to these moments, the paper examines the underlying interests and motivations for the president's foreign policy approach in the Middle East. It argues that despite the low priority given to foreign policy issues during the economic crisis occurring at the time, the key pillars of Obama's ambitious vision for the Middle East were rooted in pronounced US interests as well as the president's personal convictions, rather than opportunistic calculations. It thus counters retrospective post-2011 criticism which argues that Obama's words were never meant to be put into practice. The study contributes to the establishment of a solid empirical and conceptual base for further research on the United States' foreign policy in the Middle East under the Obama administration.
    Keywords: US foreign policy,Barack Obama,Middle East,New Beginning,Cairo,rhetoric
    Date: 2019

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