nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2019‒09‒09
seventeen papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Turkish University Students’ Self-Perceptions of Aging: An Analysis Over Socio-Economic Dimensions By Yumurtaci, Aynur; Bagis, Bilal
  2. Measuring attitudes on gender equality and domestic violence in the Arab context : The role of framing, priming and interviewer effects By Reitmann, Ann-Kristin; Goedhuys, Micheline; Grimm, Michael; Nillesen, Eleonora E.M.
  3. Ideas, Networks and Jobs: Rebasing Growth In The Middle East And North Africa By Paul Collier
  4. Education and Prosocial Behavior: Evidence from Time Use Survey By Akar, Betul; Akyol, Pelin; Okten, Cagla
  5. Macroeconomic Uncertainty and Investment Relationship for Turkey By Pelin Öge Güney
  6. Can we Saudize the labor market without damaging the private sector? By Hertog, Steffen
  7. Analysis of the Strategy of Microfinance for Financial Inclusion of Refugees By Amna Malik; Halil Orhan; Halil Fatih Akgül; Altay Elçin
  8. Regulation and ownership effect on banks performance: New Evidence from the MENA region By Miroslav Mateev
  9. The Impact of Mass Media On Voting Behavior: The Cross-Country Evidence By Walid Merouani
  11. Innovation technology and environmental sustainability in the case of Tunisia By Fethi Amri
  12. True Development or Just Some Nugatory Digits? A Social-Epistemological Study of Iran’s Global Rank in Scientific Output By Roohola Ramezani
  13. Barter and the Origin of Money and Some Insights from the Ancient Palatial Economies of Mesopotamia and Egypt By Serge Svizzero; Clement Tisdell
  14. The Environmental Effects of FDI: Evidence from MENA Countries By Imad Moosa
  15. Predicting financial distress of companies: Comparison between multivariate discriminant analysis and multilayer perceptron for Tunisian case By Fayçal Mraihi; Inane Kanzari
  16. What would the Saudi economy have to look like to be 'post rentier'? By Hertog, Steffen
  17. An optimal early warning system for currency crises under model uncertainty By Mamdouh Abdelmoula M. Abdelsalama; Hany Abdel-Latif

  1. By: Yumurtaci, Aynur; Bagis, Bilal
    Abstract: University students represent nearly more than half of the youth population (age group of 15-24) in Turkey. Meanwhile, the latest demographic data shows that they will constitute a majority of the elder generation in the context of the recent rapid aging trend in the near future. That said, and although the number of studies related to the students’ perceptions of old ages are increasing in recent years, there is still room to extend our understanding of the influence of demographics, social and economic patterns on students’ self perceptions of old age. To investigate the Turkish students’ views towards their own 65+ ages, a questionary is applied to 450 students from two different universities located in different regions in Turkey. Survey analysis shows that, almost 85 percent of “engineering” and “economics and administrative science” faculty students describe health and elderly care as the two major concerns in their old ages. On the contrary, answers of the two faculties differentiated clearly in terms of happiness, ability to save more and living with someone else in their old ages. Also, students accept retirement period as a reflection of aging and most of the students claim they had never thought about the aging process before. Yet, female and male students describe the meaning of retirement as the most comfortable period and a period that makes no sense, respectively.
    Keywords: University Students,Turkey,Aging,Perceptions
    JEL: J0 J1 I3 Z19
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Reitmann, Ann-Kristin (University of Passau); Goedhuys, Micheline (UNU-MERIT); Grimm, Michael (University of Passau, IZA and RWI); Nillesen, Eleonora E.M. (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Eliciting attitudes on sensitive topics such as women empowerment is subject to a wide range of measurement challenges such as social desirability bias and refusals. Even subtle changes in wording or context can profoundly affect how respondents answer to a question. Using data from two randomised experiments built into a nationwide representative household survey in Tunisia, we analyse the effects of (i) framing and (ii) priming on attitudes towards gender equality and domestic violence in the Arab context. Moreover, we look at impact heterogeneity with respect to the interviewers' gender and perceived religiosity. Our first experiment shows that questions on attitudes towards decision-making power invite stronger responses towards gender inequality when framed in an inequality frame. In our second experiment we find that attitudes towards domestic violence are susceptible to an audio primer. Oral statistical information about the incidence of domestic violence in Tunisia leads to lower support for domestic violence among the male subsample but has no effect on women. Lastly, impacts co-vary with interviewer characteristics. While female interviewers seem to trigger less justification for domestic violence on average, we find the opposite effect for female interviewers wearing a hijab, arguably signalling stronger perceived religiosity and social norms aligned with (more) tolerance of domestic violence. We discuss the implications of our findings for development research on gender attitudes and behaviour in gender-sensitive contexts.
    Keywords: gender equality, domestic violence, framing, priming, interviewer effects, survey experiment, MENA region
    JEL: C83 C99 D91 O12
    Date: 2019–08–28
  3. By: Paul Collier (Department of Economics and Public Policy Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford)
    Abstract: Oil rents are set to wane. In the MENA Region, the legacy of four decades of dependence on oil is an economy that is not generating enough opportunities for productive employment. This paper set out a policy agenda for gradual change that is cumulatively transformative. Directly, productivity can be increased by encouraging clusters of firms capable of innovation, linked to vocational training that equips a workforce with the skills that firms need. But the socio-political transformation from a rent-seeking economy to a skill-based economy is more complex, requiring both cultural and institutional change. This cannot be planned in detail: a transformation is a unique event subject to radical uncertainty. It calls for a process of rapid social learning based on experimentation. As the society adapts, new opportunities open, and the next steps clarify. I give examples of how an adaptable framework has been built elsewhere.
    Date: 2019–08–21
  4. By: Akar, Betul (Bilkent University); Akyol, Pelin (Bilkent University); Okten, Cagla (Bilkent University)
    Abstract: We use the extension of compulsory education from five to eight years in Turkey as an instrument for educational attainment to investigate the causal effects of education on prosocial behavior by utilizing Turkish Time Use Survey data. Ours is the first paper that investigates the causal effect of education on volunteering. We find that the education reform increased the education levels significantly, and increased education had a causal negative and significant impact on prosocial behavior of men as time spent in volunteering and helping others decreased. We also investigate the causal channels through which education decreases prosocial behavior. We find that schooling increased the likelihood of earning higher wages and work hours, which suggests that men substituted hours worked for time spent in prosocial activity as a result of an exogenous increase in their education levels. Our findings also suggest that education might have enhanced individualism and self-centrism as we find that time spent in leisure and sport activity increased. We do not find any significant effects of education on female prosocial behavior in Turkey, where female labor force participation rate at 32 percent has remained low and stagnant across the years.
    Keywords: prosocial behavior, volunteering, helping, education, externalities
    JEL: I21 D01 D64
    Date: 2019–08
  5. By: Pelin Öge Güney (Hacettepe University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: In the literature it is suggested that, in addition to many factors such as macroeconomic and microeconomic polices, financial institutions and property rights; macroeconomic uncertainties are affecting the investment decisions. In this paper, we analyzed the effect of the real exchange rate, inflation and growth uncertainties on private investment in a developing country; Turkey. We used a generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity (GARCH) model to measure uncertainties. Then, we investigated the longterm relationship of the variables using bound testing approach. Finally, we adopt an error correction model to capture the dynamic relationship. According to our results macroeconomic uncertainties have a significant negative effect on private investments in Turkey. Therefore, our findings showed the importance of the macroeconomic stability for the continuity of investments in Turkey.
    Date: 2019–08–21
  6. By: Hertog, Steffen
    Abstract: Among all the economic challenges on the road to Vision 2030, job creation for Saudi citizens is the politically most important one—and after an initial focus on other Vision-related policy areas, it is increasingly taking center stage in the kingdom’s economic policy debate. However, a formula to guarantee sufficient, sustainable jobs for Saudi citizens is still missing: The Nitaqat employment-quota system has created significant employment since its introduction in 2011, but it has also imposed significant costs on business, and many of the Nitaqat-induced jobs appear to be unproductive or not even real. Relying on natural economic growth to put more Saudi citizens into employment will be insufficient: Not only has growth been muted due to ongoing fiscal adjustments, but whatever private jobs have been created have mostly gone to foreign workers instead. Finally, creating new government jobs is fiscally unsustainable and reduces incentives for Saudi citizens to seek more productive private employment. Saudi Arabia, like other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, faces a fundamental obstacle in its attempts to create private jobs for citizens: a significant difference in both labor rights and labor costs between citizens and foreign workers that almost invariably leads employers to prefer the latter. This report explores the roots and the consequences of this twofold gap and presents new ideas on how to narrow or even close it. The report draws on publicly available labor market data as well as original, as-yet unpublished employer and job-seeker survey data from Saudi Arabia to explore the perceptions and priorities among private firms regarding the employment of Saudi citizens. The employer perspective has often been missing from the Saudization debate, and it must be seriously analyzed if we want to identify policies that work on the ground rather than creating evasion through “phantom employment” and other manipulation techniques.
    JEL: R14 J01 N0
    Date: 2018–11
  7. By: Amna Malik; Halil Orhan; Halil Fatih Akgül; Altay Elçin
    Abstract: Microfinance has brought a change in the economic life of participants of the society by providing an opportunity to the financially challenged individuals to become financially independent. Microfinance is a financial instrument that can be utilized to combat poverty and other challenges hindering the progress of countries. As of 2017, the global figures of microfinance confirm that microfinance has impacted the lives of more than 139 million people and has distributed more than $114 billion throughout the world. In Turkey, microfinance has radically transformed the lives of more 180.000 financially challenged individuals. Turkey continues to be home to the world’s largest refugee population which is approximately 4 million. Therefore, the objective of the research is to research the feasibility of microfinance as an appropriate strategy for the financial inclusion of refugees in Turkey.KeywordsMicrofinance, Poverty and RefugeeValueThe research paper aims to analyze different aspects of the microfinance system for the Syrian refugees with the purpose to provide a model for financial inclusion and social integration for the microfinance organizations.Key resultsThe results and recommendations of this research will contribute to better policy-making strategies for the nonprofit organizations to assist the refugees.Design/Methodology/ApproachThe research paper provides a microfinance model of financial inclusion and social integration for the refugees in Turkey.
    Keywords: Financial inclusion, Microfinance, Refugees
    Date: 2019
  8. By: Miroslav Mateev (American University in the Emirates)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of regulation and ownership on the performance of banks in 19 countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, over a period of 11 years (2005 - 2015). We test the hypothesis that the effect of regulation on efficiency and profitability depends on the type of bank ownership. We find that only capital regulations have a strong impact on bank efficiency, but this effect does not depend on the level of ownership concentration of the bank. In line with previous empirical studies, we find that the impact of regulatory measures on bank profitability does not depend on bank ownership type. We also investigate whether the impact of regulation and ownership is different between conventional and Islamic banks, and find that the interaction effect of bank regulations and different types of ownership on a bank?s profitability is strongly significant only in the sample of Islamic banks. The analysis of bank performance before and after the recent global financial crisis reveals that bank regulations have no influence on cost efficiency of a conventional bank either before or after the crisis; however, the impact on an Islamic bank?s efficiency is strongly significant in the full sample period and the post-crisis period.
    Keywords: global financial crisis, ownership, bank regulation, efficiency, profitability
    JEL: G21 G28
    Date: 2019–07
  9. By: Walid Merouani (Maître de recherche, Centre de Recherche en Economie appliquée pour le Développement (CREAD-Alger) and Centre de recherche en Economie et Management (CREM-CNRS))
    Abstract: In this study, we challenge the topic of vote turnout by exploring original surveys in three north African countries: Algeria, Libya and Tunisia. We test the impact of media consumption on individual intention to vote. The existing literature argues that media could stimulate political participation, however, the empirical evidence still scarce, especially in the aforementioned countries. The use of BBC Media Action surveys provides the opportunity to fill this research gap. Separately in each country we verify the role of media consumption in the intention to vote using logistic regressions. To make the results more robust, we add to our regressions a set of socio-demographic control variables. Our findings clearly show that media consumption increases the intention to vote. Furthermore, we confirm that age, education and location are significant predictors of the likelihood to vote in the studied societies. We believe these results have a practical meaning in term of policy making.
    Date: 2019–08–21
  10. By: Sanem Bengü Uygunkan (Istanbul Ayd?n University)
    Abstract: Mass communication and mass media that bring new dimensions to communication among people affect the individual?s accordingly the masses level of knowledge, manner and attitude. According to Mills, mass media is the mirror of modern life of society. Mass media guides the society?s potential of motivation by selling image and data; with the data they disseminate mass media can give information about other societies and cultures? standard of living, relations of individuals and consumption areas of them (Quotation by Aziz, 1982, s. 48-50).While making sense of external reality, human beings starts out from his existing life and as the means of justification he uses his own popular culture icons (like actors, pop singers and etc.). But still he can?t change the external reality and it makes the icons meaningful unconsciously. This show the differences between mass culture and popular culture (Aydogan,2004, s.37).Popular culture is a consumption culture. While creating something popular, the existing popularity is used. Popular sport, sportsman, singers, ideas, manners, magazine heroes?something popular is covered and packed and consumers take part in the process making something popular by taking it (Erdogan, 1999, s.3). A material is sold directly. There is an indirect marketing through media.Stars can be called popular as they present sustainability, permanency. Stars are related with cultural industry with their trends, looks and novelty.Scanning model is a research method which aims to describe the situation existing in the past and today as it is (Karasar, 1995, s.77). This research is sample of scanning model. The research contains popular culture, connection of the stars, function of stars at creating and dissembling the popular culture and analyzing Ajda Pekkan who is the superstar of Turkey.During the research, related publishing ?n Turkish and English about image, icon, consumption, popular culture, development of star system are scanned. Super star Ajda Pekkan?s life is analyzed to discover the relation between popular culture and star system. Ajda Pekkan joined a contest to become the cover girl of ?Ses Magazine? in 1963 and chosen the first, then she started her professional career. So for this research all the news about her are scanned at this magazine to see the duration of her becoming a star.?Popular culture? and ?star? terms give essential clues about the cultural, economic, social features of society so the results of this research may be illuminating for this field.
    Keywords: Popular culture, Star system
    JEL: Y80 L82
    Date: 2019–07
  11. By: Fethi Amri (University of Carthage, Faculty of Economics and Management of Nabeul)
    Abstract: This study examines the relationship between innovation and environmental sustainability in Tunisia over the 1971-2014 period. For this reason, the autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) with break-point method and the Granger causality tests are performed. In the current study, the total patent is considered as a measure of innovation. Our outcome goes in the direction of non-acceptance of the Kuznets hypothesis. In addition, the impact of energy consumption on CO2 emissions is positive. Moreover, even if the effect of technological innovation is directly insignificant, it indirectly contributes to lessen the effect of energy consumption. Furthermore, in the long and short terms, there are feedback links between economic growth and energy consumption, between pollution and both economic growth and energy consumption. In the long and short runs, there is also a one-way impact going from technological innovation variable to energy consumption one while there is no causality between technological innovation on the one hand and economic growth and CO2 emissions on the other hand. Consequently, policy makers should stimulate innovatively and enhance technologic capacity in Tunisia.
    Date: 2019–08–21
  12. By: Roohola Ramezani (Independent Post-Doctoral Researcher, Tehran, Iran)
    Abstract: In the last decade Iranian academia has witnessed a glaring growth in scientific output, as can be seen in the relevant international rankings. However, there are serious doubts, among Iranian researchers themselves, as to the true meaning of Iran’s status in such rankings. To see whether such ostensibly promising status indicates true development in scientific practice in Iran, we seem to need a philosophical account on what scientific practice is. In this paper I introduce a social-epistemological account of scientific practice based on which I analyze Iran’s status in the international rankings. My analyses shows that, once science is viewed as a practice of social-epistemological nature, Iran’s status in such rankings should not be taken at face value.
    Date: 2019–08–21
  13. By: Serge Svizzero (CEMOI - Centre d'Économie et de Management de l'Océan Indien - UR - Université de La Réunion); Clement Tisdell
    Date: 2019–08–30
  14. By: Imad Moosa (School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, RMIT)
    Abstract: Empirical work on the environmental effects of FDI has produced a mixed bag of results, with hardly any evidence for MENA countries. A theoretical model is presented, postulating that whether FDI has a positive or negative effect on the environment depends on the position of the underlying country or region on the environmental Kuznets curve. This paper presents results indicating that FDI leads to environmental degradation in MENA countries and that they fall on the rising sector of the EKC. The theoretical model is supported by the empirical results.
    Date: 2019–08–21
  15. By: Fayçal Mraihi (Higher School of Economics and Business Sciences of Tunis); Inane Kanzari (Higher School of Economics and Business Sciences of Tunis)
    Abstract: In this study, we try to develop a model for predicting corporate default based on a multivariate discriminant analysis (ADM) and a multilayer perceptron (MLP). The two models are applied to the Tunisian cases. Our sample consists of 212 companies in the various industries (106 ‘healthy’ companies and 106 “distressed” companies) over the period 2005-2010. The results of the use of a battery of 87 ratios showed that 16 ratios can build the model and that liquidity and solvency have more weight than profitability and management in predicting the distress. Despite the slight superiority of the results provided by the MLP model, on the control sample, the results provided by the two models are good either in terms of correct percentage of classification or in terms of stability of discriminating power over time and space.
    Date: 2019–08–21
  16. By: Hertog, Steffen
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2019–01
  17. By: Mamdouh Abdelmoula M. Abdelsalama (Minufia University, Egypt); Hany Abdel-Latif (Swansea University, UK)
    Abstract: This paper assesses a number of early warning (EWS) models of financial crises with the aim of proposing an optimal model that can predict the incidence of a currency crisis in developing countries. For this purpose, we employ the dynamic model averaging (DMA) and equal weighting (EW) approaches to combine forecasts from individual models allowing for time varying weights. Taking Egypt as a case study and focusing only on currency crises, our findings show that combining forecasts (DMA- and EW-based EWS) models which account for model uncertainty perform better than other competing models in both in-sample and out-of-sample forecasts.
    Date: 2019–08–21

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