nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2020‒03‒30
fourteen papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Too much of a good thing? Evidence that fertilizer subsidies lead to overapplication in Egypt By Kurdi, Sikandra; Mahmoud, Mai; Abay, Kibrom A.; Breisinger, Clemens
  2. Festivals and destination marketing: An application from Izmir City By Ige Pirnar; Sinem Kurtural; Melih Turkey
  3. Diversity without adversity? Refugees’ efforts to integrate can partially offset identity-based biases By Anna Getmansky; Konstantinos Matakos; Tolga Sinmazdemir
  4. Revisiting Employee-Guest Interactions in Hotels: An Analysis of Critical Incidents By Özgür Devrim Yilmaz
  5. Favoritism in Research Assistantship Selection in Turkish Academia By Osman Gulseven
  6. The Short-Term Impact of Inter-Community Volunteering Activities and Soft Skills Training on Self-Reported Social Cohesion Values : Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Lebanon By Alaref,Jumana Jamal Subhi; Leon Solano,Rene Antonio; Asenjo,Carlos; Alawiye,Marwan; El-Kik,Marwa
  7. Operationalizing Inclusive Growth: Per-Percentile Diagnostics to Inform Redistribution Policies By Alexei P Kireyev; Andrei Leonidov
  8. Utilising applied behavioural research to execute subsidy reform in Kuwait By Al-Ojayan, Hessah; Gaskell, George; Veltri, Giuseppe A.
  9. The Medium-Term Impact of Entrepreneurship Education on Labor Market Outcomes : Experimental Evidence from University Graduates in Tunisia By Alaref,Jumana Jamal Subhi; Koettl-Brodmann,Stefanie; Premand,Patrick
  10. Does the Internet Reduce Gender Gaps? : The Case of Jordan By Viollaz,Mariana; Winkler,Hernan Jorge
  11. The complexity of the budgetary systems as a sign of the universalism of the systems of control? The case of the Tunisian SMEs By Zouhour Ben Hamadi; Philippe Chapellier; Dupuy Yves
  12. Sudan; Selected Issues By International Monetary Fund
  13. Sudan; 2019 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Sudan By International Monetary Fund
  14. L’impact des attributs et indicateurs de qualité sur le comportement d’achat d’un produit alimentaire : une approche exploratoire, par la valeur perçue et l’authenticité perçue : cas de l’huile d’olive d’Algérie By Nedjma Bernoussi; Lucie Sirieix

  1. By: Kurdi, Sikandra; Mahmoud, Mai; Abay, Kibrom A.; Breisinger, Clemens
    Abstract: As part of a national policy to ensure a certain level of food self-sufficiency in strategic crops, the government of Egypt subsidizes nitrogen fertilizer directly by distributing quotas of subsidized fertilizers to farmers and indirectly by subsidizing natural gas used by local fertilizer factories. The implication of this subsidy on farmers’ fertilizer demand and productivity remains unknown. Using a detailed agricultural survey collected from smallholder farmers in Upper Egypt, we show that nitrogen fertilizer application rates are substantially in excess of crop-specific agronomic recommendations. We exploit eligibility criteria and other sources of variation to show that farm plots with easier access to the subsidy tend to use more subsidized nitrogen fertilizer and less phosphate fertilizer. Easier access to the subsidy increases use of total nitrogen fertilizer per unit of land, mainly because of the increase in subsidized nitrogen fertilizer. In particular, the fertilizer subsidy program in Egypt is associated with significant overapplication of nitrogen fertilizer. Such overapplication of fertilizer is expected to adversely affect soil, water, and environmental health. Our findings have important policy implications for Egypt and other African countries known for input subsidy programs. As Egypt is currently moving on from the successful implementation of a comprehensive macroeconomic reform program towards sector-level reforms, our results suggest that eliminating fertilizer subsidies is a good place to start.
    Keywords: EGYPT, ARAB COUNTRIES, MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA, YEMEN, SOUTHWESTERN ASIA, ASIA, fertilizers, subsidies, support measures, application rates, agriculture, nitrogen fertilizers, farmers, agricultural policies, input subsidies, overapplication
  2. By: Ige Pirnar (Yaşar University); Sinem Kurtural (Yaşar University); Melih Turkey (Yaşar University)
    Abstract: Festivals are among the growing global city and destination attraction factors and they are very trendy. Studies indicate that there is a direct relationship between the successful organizations of festivals and the number of visitors and tourism income of a city destination. Thus, festival marketing efforts usually have a direct impact on city marketing efforts. Due to this fact, the study tries to figure out the festival marketing potential of Izmir city that seems to lag behind the general tourism development pattern of Turkey contrary to the great potential it has. The study comprises of two main sections, first one being a literature review on festival marketing, followed by the second section on a qualitative research on Izmir's festivals and their marketing potential. It tries to determine the positive impacts of Izmir's festivals on destination marketing and by grouping and categorizing them under similar characteristics figuring out the most promising ones. The research consists of four open-ended interview questions on festivals held in Izmir city. As practical implications, Destination Management Organizations, Destination Marketing Organizations, destination and city marketers, festival managers and destination tourism developers may benefit from the findings of this study.
    Keywords: Festival marketing,Destination marketing,Izmir,Festivals,City marketing
    Date: 2019–04–15
  3. By: Anna Getmansky (London School of Economics and Political Science); Konstantinos Matakos (King’s College London); Tolga Sinmazdemir (SOAS University of London)
    Abstract: How can refugees overcome barriers to integration in the host country? Refugees often face economic, social, and political discrimination by the local population. Ethnicity, religion, and refugees' past involvement in political violence can further exacerbate these biases. We examine whether host country's citizens reduce anti-refugee attitudes if they know that refugees have made proactive effort to integrate by forging social ties with the locals and learning the local language. Unlike most of the previous studies, we examine a non-Western country-Turkey-that hosts the highest number of Syrian refugees (3.6 million). We field a conjoint survey experiment-a method previously applied to study migration attitudes in the West-to 2,362 respondents in Turkey, presenting them with profiles of Syrian refugees that vary by demographics, ethnicity, religion, and involvement in the Syrian civil war. Respondents rank each profile in order of support for social, economic and political integration. We find that although Turkey is a Muslim country hosting predominantly co-religious refugees, not all refugees are perceived equally. There is a significant bias against Arabs and Kurds compared to Turkomans, and against former pro-regime fighters. Although information on refugees' effort strengthens support for their integration, not all disadvantaged groups benefit equally from it. Such information has a more robust effect on boosting support for Kurdish refugees, and has a limited effect on support for integration of Arabs and former pro-regime fighters. Importantly, information on proactive effort also strengthens support for groups that experience less discrimination (Turkomans and non-fighters), thereby potentially exacerbating inequalities among the refugees.
    Keywords: Turkey; Syria, Violence, Geography, Infrastructure, Political Development, Demographic/Socioeconomic
    JEL: F22 Z13
    Date: 2020–02
  4. By: Özgür Devrim Yilmaz (Dokuz Eylul University)
    Abstract: The study was conducted to find out the positive and/or negative effects that hotel employees may have upon hotel guests' experiences during their stay. Using the critical incident technique (CIT), data were obtained from 105 guests (a total of 174 incidents) staying in two different 5-star hotels that have similar characteristics in terms of type, price, ownership and concept in Bodrum, Turkey. The incidents were primarily categorized as positive and negative and afterward the incidents from two categories were compared to each other in terms of three main process of hotel accommodation as check-in, accommodation and check-out. Despite the fact that most hotels currently place emphasis on employee-guest interactions-under the concept of service quality or customer satisfaction-, the findings revealed that there were still a number of negative incidents that caused customer dissatisfaction and managerial implications were needed in hotels to minimize negative incidents and maximize the positive ones.
    Keywords: Critical incidents,Hotel,Employee-guest interaction,Employee behavior,Customer satisfaction
    Date: 2018–11–15
  5. By: Osman Gulseven
    Abstract: This article analyzes the procedure for the initial employment of research assistants in Turkish universities to see if it complies with the rules and regulations. We manually collected 2409 applicant data from 53 Turkish universities to see if applicants are ranked according to the rules suggested by the Higher Education Council of Turkey. The rulebook states that applicants should be ranked according to a final score based on the weighted average of their GPA, graduate examination score, academic examination score, and foreign language skills score. Thus, the research assistant selection is supposed to be a fair process where each applicant is evaluated based on objective metrics. However, our analysis of data suggests that the final score of the applicants is almost entirely based on the highly subjective academic examination conducted by the hiring institution. Thus, the applicants GPA, standardized graduate examination score, standardized foreign language score are irrelevant in the selection process, making it a very unfair process based on favoritism.
    Date: 2020–03
  6. By: Alaref,Jumana Jamal Subhi; Leon Solano,Rene Antonio; Asenjo,Carlos; Alawiye,Marwan; El-Kik,Marwa
    Abstract: Despite its growing popularity, evidence that volunteering enhances civic values and social cohesion among different communities remains limited in developing countries. This study presents novel evidence from Lebanon on the impact of offering a volunteering program that consisted of inter-community volunteering activities and soft skills training on self-reported social cohesion values in the short term. The results show that youth who were selected to participate in the program were more likely to report higher tolerance values as well as a stronger sense of belonging to the Lebanese community roughly one year after the completion of activities. The results show that selection into the program had no impact on improving volunteers'soft skills that were thought to contribute to social cohesion. This finding implies that the mechanism for improved social cohesion values most likely came from the program's innovative feature, which required 20 percent of selected youth to come from communities outside where the area where the project was implemented. Selection into the program had no impact on other secondary measures, namely, employability and employment outcomes. The results should be interpreted with caution, given study design limitations that relate to the nonrandom assignment of youth into the treatment and comparison groups, as well as the presence of nonrandom attrition between the two tracked time periods.
    Keywords: Social Cohesion,Educational Sciences,Education for Development (superceded),Educational Populations,Education For All,Skills Development and Labor Force Training
    Date: 2019–01–07
  7. By: Alexei P Kireyev; Andrei Leonidov
    Abstract: Inclusive growth, narrowly defined in this paper as growth that helps reduce inequality, is achieved if consumption of the poor increases faster than consumption of the rich. The paper presents a simple accounting framework for a per-percentile consumption diagnostics that could inform redistribution policies. The proposed framework is illustrated in application to Iraq and Tunisia.
    Date: 2020–03–06
  8. By: Al-Ojayan, Hessah; Gaskell, George; Veltri, Giuseppe A.
    Abstract: The Kuwait government is highly dependent on oil revenues; its fiscal position is exposed to fluctuations in crude oil prices. Reducing expenditures will make Kuwait’s government more fiscally robust in the context of volatile oil markets. Reforming subsides is one way by which the government can reduce expenditures. Electricity and water subsidies in Kuwait represent about 11–20 percent of fiscal expenditures. The goal of this paper is to identify behavioural interventions, ‘nudges’, that could help save electricity in the household sector, which consumes 50 percent of electricity produced. We developed the nudges by first, reviewing relevant behavioural literature; second, conducting focus group interviews; third, comparing Kuwait to other Gulf Cooperation Council countries; and last, testing the cultural appropriateness of the nudges. The first nudge we propose is making the government subsidy more salient for citizens. The second is activating social norms. The third is framing, adding a message that makes subscribers care for future generations. Lastly, there is the recognition of saving efforts through a reward system.
    JEL: E6 R14 J01
    Date: 2020–02–01
  9. By: Alaref,Jumana Jamal Subhi; Koettl-Brodmann,Stefanie; Premand,Patrick
    Abstract: Despite the widespread popularity of entrepreneurship education, there is thin evidence on its effectiveness in improving employment outcomes over the medium to long term. A potential time lag between entrepreneurial intentions and actions is sometimes presented as a reason why employment impacts are rarely observed. Based on a randomized control trial among university students in Tunisia, this paper studies the medium-term impacts of entrepreneurship education four years after students'graduation. The paper complements earlier evidence that documented small, short-term impacts on entry into self-employment and aspirations toward the future one year after graduation. The medium-term results show that the impacts of entrepreneurship education were short-lived. There are no sustained impacts on self-employment or employment outcomes four years after graduation. There are no lasting effects on latent entrepreneurship either, and the short-term increase in optimism also receded.
    Keywords: Private Sector Economics,Private Sector Development Law,Marketing,Labor Markets,Employment and Unemployment,Educational Sciences
    Date: 2019–01–15
  10. By: Viollaz,Mariana; Winkler,Hernan Jorge
    Abstract: This article investigates the link between digital technologies and female labor market outcomes in a country with one of the largest gender disparities. It exploits the massive roll-out of mobile broadband technology in Jordan between 2010 and 2016 to identify the effect of internet adoption on labor force participation. Using panel data at the individual level with rich information on labor market outcomes, internet use and gender-biased social norms, the article finds that internet adoption increases female labor force participation but has no effect on male labor force participation. The increase in online job search explains some -- but not all -- of the total increase in female labor force participation. Only older and skilled women experience an increase in employment in response to having internet access. The internet also reduces the prevalence of gender-biased social norms, early marriage and fertility.
    Keywords: Labor Markets,Rural Labor Markets,Gender and Development,Educational Sciences,Information Technology
    Date: 2020–03–13
  11. By: Zouhour Ben Hamadi (EM Normandie - École de Management de Normandie); Philippe Chapellier (MRM - Montpellier Research in Management - UM1 - Université Montpellier 1 - UM3 - Université Paul-Valéry - Montpellier 3 - UM2 - Université Montpellier 2 - Sciences et Techniques - UPVD - Université de Perpignan Via Domitia - Groupe Sup de Co Montpellier (GSCM) - Montpellier Business School - UM - Université de Montpellier); Dupuy Yves (MRM - Montpellier Research in Management - UM1 - Université Montpellier 1 - UM3 - Université Paul-Valéry - Montpellier 3 - UM2 - Université Montpellier 2 - Sciences et Techniques - UPVD - Université de Perpignan Via Domitia - Groupe Sup de Co Montpellier (GSCM) - Montpellier Business School - UM - Université de Montpellier)
    Keywords: Dirigeants de PME,systèmes budgétaires,contingences,universalisme,Tunisie
    Date: 2019
  12. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: Selected Issues
    Date: 2020–03–10
  13. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: Regime change has created a window of opportunity for fundamental reforms to address major macro imbalances and lay the groundwork for inclusive growth. After prolonged protests, President Al-Bashir’s government was removed and a transitional government was sworn in August 2019 for a 39-month period, to be followed by general elections. Major challenges lie ahead. The economy is shrinking, fiscal and external imbalances are large, inflation is high, the currency is overvalued, and competitiveness is weak. The humanitarian situation is dire with large numbers of internally displaced people and refugees. U.S. sanctions on trade and financial flows were revoked in October 2017, but Sudan remains on the state sponsors of terrorism list (SSTL), which effectively discourages external investment and blocks progress toward both HIPC debt relief and the clearance of large arrears to the Fund. In this context, staff engagement has intensified to render the necessary policy and technical assistance to help the authorities seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity for reforms. There is broad agreement between the authorities and staff about the key reform priorities, but the authorities have yet to put together a fully coherent and viable plan that enjoys broad public support and can plausibly attract adequate donor financing.
    Date: 2020–03–10
  14. By: Nedjma Bernoussi (UMR MOISA - Marchés, Organisations, Institutions et Stratégies d'Acteurs - Cirad - Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - Montpellier SupAgro - Centre international d'études supérieures en sciences agronomiques - CIHEAM-IAMM - Centre International de Hautes Etudes Agronomiques Méditerranéennes - Institut Agronomique Méditerranéen de Montpellier - CIHEAM - Centre International de Hautes Études Agronomiques Méditerranéennes - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier, EHEC - Ecole Des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier); Lucie Sirieix (UMR MOISA - Marchés, Organisations, Institutions et Stratégies d'Acteurs - Cirad - Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - Montpellier SupAgro - Centre international d'études supérieures en sciences agronomiques - CIHEAM-IAMM - Centre International de Hautes Etudes Agronomiques Méditerranéennes - Institut Agronomique Méditerranéen de Montpellier - CIHEAM - Centre International de Hautes Études Agronomiques Méditerranéennes - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier, Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier)
    Abstract: This research questions the relationship between perceived value and perceived authenticity, two key perceptual variables of consumer decision-making. An exploratory study applied to the case of olive oil from Algeria was conducted. Thirty individual interviews conducted with experts from the Algerian olive oil sector and consumers have identified: 1) the factors that contribute to building the perceived value of a food product as well as those that contribute to its perceived authenticity; 2) the role of perceived authenticity in the formation of perceived value; 3) and the consequences of this relationship in terms of purchasing and post-purchase behavior. In conclusion, a theoretical model presenting these concepts and their links is proposed to be tested.
    Abstract: Cette recherche s'interroge sur la relation entre la valeur perçue et l'authenticité perçue, deux variables perceptuelles clés du processus décisionnel du consommateur. Une étude exploratoire appliquée au cas de l'huile d'olive d'Algérie a été menée. Trente entretiens individuels conduits auprès d'experts de la filière oléicole algérienne et des consommateurs ont permis d'identifier : 1) les facteurs qui contribuent à construire la valeur perçue d'un produit alimentaire ainsi que ceux qui contribuent à construire son authenticité perçue ; 2) le rôle de l'authenticité perçue dans la formation de la valeur perçue ; 3) et les conséquences de cette relation en termes de comportements d'achat et post-achat. En conclusion, un modèle théorique reprenant ces concepts et leurs liens est proposé pour être testé.
    Keywords: authenticité perçue,label,indicateur de qualité,algérie,valeur percue,authenticité de produit,huile d'olive
    Date: 2020–02–27

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