nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2020‒05‒25
eight papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Are non-sticky costs endemic in the Arabian Gulf Region? Evidence from publicly listed companies By Fernando Zanella; Peter Oyelere
  2. Determination of Noise Sources in Recreation Areas and Noise Management: Example of Abant Nature Park By P?nar Gültekin; Ya?ar Selman Gültekin; Ya?ar Selman Gültekin
  3. Welfare and Fiscal Implications from Increased Gasoline Prices in the Islamic Republic of Iran By Atamanov,Aziz; Mostafavi Dehzooei,Mohammadhadi; Wai-Poi,Matthew Grant
  4. The Impact of Sanctions Imposed by the European Union against Iran on their Bilateral Trade: General versus Targeted Sanctions By Mahdi Ghodsi; Hüseyin Karamelikli
  5. Once NEET, Always NEET ? A Synthetic Panel Approach to Analyze the Moroccan Labor Market By Alfani,Federica; Clementi,Fabio; Fabiani,Michele; Molini,Vasco; Valentini,Enzo
  6. Analyzing Technology-Emissions Association in Top-10 Polluted MENA Countries: How to Ascertain Sustainable Development by Quantile Modeling Approach By Sinha, Avik; Shah, Muhammad Ibrahim; Sengupta, Tuhin; Jiao, Zhilun
  7. A Study on Web 2.0 Technologies Integration Challenges and Changes in Saudi Arabian Universities By May Alashwal
  8. Tunisia; Request for Purchase Under the Rapid Financing Instrument-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Tunisia By International Monetary Fund

  1. By: Fernando Zanella (United Arab Emirates University); Peter Oyelere (United Arab Emirates University)
    Abstract: We investigate the endemism of non-sticky costs in resources-rich emerging economies of Arabian Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries. Evidence already exists for non-sticky costs amongst publicly-listed companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This study extends the investigation of the phenomenon to four other member countries of the GCC ? Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain. We measured the degree of adjustment between operating revenues and costs for publicly listed companies in all GCC countries. We did not find evidence of sticky costs in four of the five countries suggesting that the endemic absence or curtailment of the main benefits of western-style employment protection legislation (EPL) available in other national jurisdictions is a possible explanation for why variable costs, such as labor costs, adjust easier to changes in sales thus eliminating the main cause of cost stickiness. This result, which may be generalizable to other similar emerging economies, raises some practical questions that may need to be addressed by relevant authorities in the respective countries of the region.
    Keywords: Sticky costs, Employment Protection Legislation, GCC countries, Expatriates
    JEL: M20 M41
    Date: 2020–02
  2. By: P?nar Gültekin (Duzce University); Ya?ar Selman Gültekin (Düzce University); Ya?ar Selman Gültekin (Duzce University)
    Abstract: This study, it aims to determine the source of noise from user perspective and making recommendations for reducing noise in Abant Nature Park which is one of Turkey's most important recreation area In this context, a questionnaire was developed to determine noise sources in the study area and a questionnaire was applied to 122 persons in the spring season. The obtained data were interpreted by using descriptive and exploratory analysis with IBM Statistics SPSS 22 program. As a result; the visitors of the recreation area stated that they used the area to get away from the noise and stress of the city at weekend but they could not be found in a calm and peaceful environment at the expected level, although not as high as the urban environment. It has been determined that the users are exposed to noise due to the user capacity of the area, the picnic areas are located very close to each other, the traffic noise from the vehicle road, bicycle path and parking areas, the activity areas, and the lack of noise barrier between the camp areas. All determined noise factors reduce user satisfaction. There is no legislation in Turkey describing the noise limits in rural recreation areas. In the study, within the framework of the Assessment and Management of Environmental Noise for the urban areas, recreational planning and noise management suggestions have been developed for Abant Nature Park to reduce noise and increase user satisfaction
    Keywords: Noise, Recreation, Planning and Management, Abant Natural Park
    Date: 2020–02
  3. By: Atamanov,Aziz; Mostafavi Dehzooei,Mohammadhadi; Wai-Poi,Matthew Grant
    Abstract: Facing a fiscal crisis, the Islamic Republic of Iran decided to increase gasoline prices at the end of 2019. This paper estimates the impact of the price increase on household welfare and government revenue, using the most recent Household Expenditure and Income Survey conducted by the Statistical Center of Iran in March 2018-March 2019. The paper looks at the direct and indirect impacts of the reform and quantifies the compensatory cash transfer program the government instituted. Despite very regressive gasoline subsidies benefitting the rich the most, the increase in gasoline prices is found to affect the poor to a greater extent due to larger negative indirect impacts as well as their relatively low incomes. In total, poverty is estimated to increase by about 2.9 percentage points, with the direct impact accounting for a third of this increase. The proposed government scheme, if targeted perfectly to the poorest 18 million households, would fully compensate the poorest bottom 50 percent of the population and reduce poverty to below pre-reform levels. The annual cost of the program will be around 338 trillion rials, which accounts for 77 percent of the estimated total savings from the subsidies reform (439 trillion rials).
    Keywords: Inequality,Economic Assistance,Access of Poor to Social Services,Disability,Services&Transfers to Poor,Energy and Mining,Energy and Environment,Energy Demand,Oil Refining&Gas Industry,Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases
    Date: 2020–05–07
  4. By: Mahdi Ghodsi (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Hüseyin Karamelikli
    Abstract: Economic sanctions are intensively used by international institutions to enforce political objectives. Since 2006 the EU has been implementing general sanctions against the whole economy of Iran, affecting their trade relations. Since 2007, and following the imposition of sanctions by the UN Security Council, the EU has also implemented smart sanctions targeting Iranian entities and natural persons associated with its military activities. In a non-linear autoregressive distributed lag (NARDL), this paper investigates the impact of general and targeted EU sanctions against Iran on quarterly bilateral trade values between the 19 members of the euro area (EA19) and Iran between the first quarter of 1999 and the fourth quarter of 2018. The results indicate that general sanctions have strongly hampered trade flows between the two trading partners. The impact of general sanctions on the total imports of the EA19 from Iran is more than four times stronger than on the total exports of the EA19 to Iran. Moreover, the EU’s general sanctions have hampered trade in almost all sectors, except for the primary sectors. Furthermore, our study finds that the impact of smart sanctions targeting Iranian entities and natural persons is much smaller than the impact of general sanctions on total trade values and the trade values of many sectors. Smart sanctions affect the exports of most sectors from the EA19 to Iran, while they are statistically insignificant for the imports of many sectors from Iran. Thus, this paper provides evidence on the motivations behind smart sanctions, which target specific individuals and entities rather than the whole economy, unlike general sanctions, which have a negative impact on ordinary people.
    Keywords: Smart sanctions, Iran, trade values, time series analysis, NARDL
    JEL: F13 F14 F50 F51
    Date: 2020–05
  5. By: Alfani,Federica; Clementi,Fabio; Fabiani,Michele; Molini,Vasco; Valentini,Enzo
    Abstract: In many regions of the world, the persistent, and growing, proportion of young people who are currently not in employment, education, or training is of global concern. This is no less true of Morocco: about 30 percent of the Moroccan population between ages 15 and 24 are currently not in employment, education, or training. Drawing from various rounds of Moroccan labor force surveys, this paper contributes to understanding the complex dynamics of labor markets in developing countries. First, it identifies the socioeconomic determinants of Morocco's young population not in employment, education, or training. Second, employing a synthetic panel methodology in the context of labor market analysis, the paper describes how the conditions of individuals in this group has changed over time. One striking, and worrisome, pattern that emerges from the 2010 synthetic panel data is that, even after 10 years, a majority of the young population not in employment, education, or training remained outside the labor market or education, with very little chance of moving out of their situation. Their chronic stagnancy confirms the powerful effect that initial conditions have on determining young people's future outcomes.
    Keywords: Educational Sciences,Rural Labor Markets,Labor Markets,Inequality,Gender and Development,Disease Control&Prevention
    Date: 2020–05–11
  6. By: Sinha, Avik; Shah, Muhammad Ibrahim; Sengupta, Tuhin; Jiao, Zhilun
    Abstract: This study investigates the relationship between technological progression and ambient air pollution in top-10 polluted Middle East and North African (MENA) countries by using monthly data for the period of 1990-2017. The Quantile cointegration proposed by Xiao (2009), Quantile-on-Quantile regression (QQ) proposed by Sim and Zhou (2015), and Quantile Autoregressive Granger causality developed by Troster (2018) are applied. In particular, we examine to which extent, quantiles of technological progression affect the quantiles of ambient air pollution, by developing separate indicators for both the mentioned aspects using Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Our empirical findings unfold mutual dependence between technological progression and ambient air pollution. Furthermore, the results of Quantile Autoregressive Granger causality test conclude a bidirectional causal relationship between technological progression and ambient air pollution.
    Keywords: Technological progression; Air pollution; Quantile modeling; MENA countries
    JEL: Q5 Q53
    Date: 2020
  7. By: May Alashwal (Department of Learning Sciences and Educational Research, University of Central Florida, USA)
    Abstract: This study was applied within two universities in the western part of Saudi Arabia. The universities intend to implement and apply Web 2.0 tools to help lecturers and faculty enhance teaching and training at both undergraduate and graduate levels. The research was carried out to determine the associated challenges and changes in applying Web 2.0 at two Saudi universities in order to assess the decision of whether or not to adopt such technology. The results demonstrated that lecturers and faculties in the two Saudi universities were willing to accept the new challenges and changes to embrace Web 2.0. Additional results showed their enthusiasm to improve the learning process and to enhance interactions with students.
    Keywords: Web 2.0; Technologies; Lifelong learning; Faculty perceptions
    Date: 2020–02
  8. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: The Covid-19 outbreak aggravates Tunisia’s already elevated macroeconomic imbalances. The crisis is expected to reduce growth to an unprecedented -4.3 percent. It will also give rise to urgent fiscal and BOP financing needs of 2.6 and 4.7 percent of GDP in 2020, respectively, with large downside risks due to exceptional uncertainty. If not addressed, these gaps cause immediate and severe economic disruption.
    Keywords: Social safety nets;Unemployment;Monetary policy;Public investments;Economic conditions;ISCR,CR,pct,Proj,RFI,pandemic,percent of GDP
    Date: 2020–04–14

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