nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2020‒03‒09
five papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Developing Public-Private Partnership Initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa : From Public Debt to Maximizing Finance for Development By Arezki,Rabah; Belhaj,Ferid
  2. A Field Experiment on the Role of Socioemotional Skills and Gender for Hiring in Turkey By Nas Ozen,Selin Efsan; Hut,Stefan; Levin,Victoria; Munoz Boudet,Ana Maria
  3. Technology Adoption and the Middle-Income Trap : Lessons from the Middle East and East Asia By Arezki,Rabah; Fan,Yuting; Nguyen,Ha Minh
  4. Measuring Social Norms About Female Labor Force Participation in Jordan By Gauri,Varun; Rahman,Tasmia; Sen,Iman Kalyan
  5. Iraq's Universal Public Distribution System : Utilization and Impacts During Displacement By Phadera,Lokendra; Sharma,Dhiraj; Wai-Poi,Matthew Grant

  1. By: Arezki,Rabah; Belhaj,Ferid
    Abstract: This paper argues for a novel approach to financing infrastructure needs in Arab countries. It first describes the context of rising public debt in the region, contrasting it with the vast infrastructure needs. It then discusses the challenges in meeting these needs with traditional financing. The paper then makes the case for maximizing finance for development, by using public-private partnerships, and presents a few successful examples in Arab countries. Finally, the paper explores the way forward and concludes on the need for strong state capacity and integrity to promote the maximizing finance for development approach.
    Keywords: Private Sector Economics,Energy Policies&Economics,Financial Sector Policy,Finance and Development,Financial Economics,Macroeconomic Management
    Date: 2019–05–24
  2. By: Nas Ozen,Selin Efsan; Hut,Stefan; Levin,Victoria; Munoz Boudet,Ana Maria
    Abstract: A vast literature shows the importance of socioemotional skills in earnings and employment, but whether they matter in getting hired remains unanswered. This study seeks to address this question and further investigates whether socioemotional skill signals in job applicants'resumes have the same value for male and female candidates. In a large-scale randomized audit study, an online job portal in Turkey is used to send fictitious resumes to real job openings, collecting a unique data set that enables investigating different stages of candidate screening. The study finds that socioemotional skills appear to be valued only when an employer specifically asks for such skills in the vacancy ad. When not asked for, however, candidates can face a penalty in the form of lower callback rates. A significant penalty is only observed for women, not for men. The study does not find evidence of other gender differences in the hiring process.
    Date: 2020–02–18
  3. By: Arezki,Rabah; Fan,Yuting; Nguyen,Ha Minh
    Abstract: This paper documents the existence of a"middle-income trap"for the Middle East and North Africa region. It argues that the economic woes of the Middle East and North Africa offer new insights into the debate on the trap which has thus far focused on the East Asia and Pacific region. The results are two-folds. First, non-parametric regressions show that the average rate of economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa has not only been significantly lower than that in the East Asia and Pacific region, but it has also tended to drop at an earlier level of income. Second, econometric results point to Middle East and North Africa having experienced a relatively slow pace of technology adoption in general-purpose technologies. The paper concludes that barriers to the adoption of general-purpose technologies related to the lack of contestability in key sectors could constitute an important channel of transmission for the middle-income trap.
    Keywords: Economic Growth,Industrial Economics,Economic Theory&Research,Innovation,Energy Policies&Economics,Food Security,Energy and Environment,Energy and Mining,Energy Demand
    Date: 2019–05–30
  4. By: Gauri,Varun; Rahman,Tasmia; Sen,Iman Kalyan
    Abstract: This study conducted a large-scale, representative survey of social norms for female labor force participation in three governorates of Jordan. The social norms measures are disaggregated into thematic clusters, empirical and normative expectations, and interpersonal expectations within the household. The measurements satisfy reasonable tests for internal consistency, external validity, and test-retest reliability. The survey shows that the great majority of men and women favor women's labor force participation, although support falls under specific scenarios. Most non?working women would like a job. Among married women, the strongest correlates of working are the woman's expectations of her husband's views and the husband's personal beliefs. Among unmarried women, empirical expectations of the number of women working correlate strongest with labor force participation. The study findings indicate that information campaigns highlighting hidden support for women working could be effective, although distinct messages for men, married women, and unmarried women may be useful.
    Keywords: Gender and Development,Educational Sciences,Labor Markets,Transport Services
    Date: 2019–06–26
  5. By: Phadera,Lokendra; Sharma,Dhiraj; Wai-Poi,Matthew Grant
    Abstract: Subsidized or free distribution of food has been a central pillar of social protection programs in many countries. With the number of forcibly displaced persons at record levels, the question arises of whether in-kind food transfer programs are effective in mitigating the loss of welfare induced by forced displacement. This paper examines whether Iraq?s Public Distribution System, a universal food subsidy program, has buffered the impacts of displacement on households. Using propensity score matching to account for the observable differences between Public Distribution System recipients and non-recipients, the analysis finds that displaced households with continued access to Public Distribution System benefits have higher food and non-food expenditures compared with displaced households that lost access. Likewise, the beneficiaries have higher calorie intakes and are less vulnerable to falling into poverty. However, displaced beneficiaries remained significantly worse off and more vulnerable to poverty than non-displaced households, suggesting that, although the Public Distribution System helped mitigate displacement to a degree, it may not be the most effective protection program for such shocks. Given the considerable resources the universal program consumes, it is vital to think of alternative approaches, such as targeted cash transfers, that might be more effective in protection and cost.
    Date: 2020–02–19

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