nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2020‒07‒27
nine papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Agglomeration Effects in a Developing Economy: Evidence from Turkey By Cem Özgüzel
  2. The value of online banking to small and medium- sized enterprises: evidence from firms operating in the UAE free trade zones By Parvaneh Shahnoori; Glenn P. Jenkins
  3. Institutional Quality and Economic Growth: Application on Dynamic Panel Data (GMM) By Abderraouf Mtiraoui
  4. Operationalizing Inclusive Growth: Per-Percentile Diagnostics to Inform Redistribution Policies By Alexei P Kireyev; Andrei Leonidov
  5. Integrated Governance for Coherent Implementation of the SDGs in Egypt By Gamze Igrioglu; Adam Ostry; Miriam Allam
  6. Labor Market Nationalization Policies and Firm Outcomes: Evidence from Saudi Arabia By Patricia Cortes; Semiray Kasoolu; Carolina Ines Pan
  7. Potential Influences on the Prospect of Renewable Energy Development in OPEC Members By Alsadi, Hanan
  8. Deus ex Machina? A Framework for Macro Forecasting with Machine Learning By Marijn A. Bolhuis; Brett Rayner
  9. Lecture croisée dans le rapport de la Cour des comptes de 2019 sur l'évaluation des services publics en ligne au Maroc By Karim Zaouaq

  1. By: Cem Özgüzel (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: Productivity differences across Turkish provinces is one of the highest among the OECD countries. In this paper, I estimate agglomeration effects for Turkish provinces to shed light on the causes of productivity differences and provide evidence on the importance of such effects in a developing country context which literature needs. I use a novel administrative dataset recently made available at NUTS-3 level, for 81 provinces of Turkey for the period 2008-2013 and carry out a two-step estimation. Using a variety of panel data techniques and historical instruments to deal with estimation concerns, I estimate an elasticity of labor productivity with respect to the density of 0.057-0.06, which is higher than in developed countries and around the levels observed in developing countries. I find that domestic market potential matters even more than density and is the most significant determinant of the productivity differences across Turkish provinces. Finally, in stark contrast with the evidence coming from developed countries, I do not find any effects for positive sorting of workers across provinces. This finding suggests that urbanisation patterns may be operating differently in developing countries, indicating the need for further evidence from such countries.
    Keywords: local labor markets,spatial wage disparities,developing country,Turkey
    Date: 2020–06
  2. By: Parvaneh Shahnoori (Department of Economics, Payame Noor University, Bandar Abbas, Iran); Glenn P. Jenkins (Department of Economics, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada and Eastern Mediterranean University, North Cyprus)
    Abstract: This study estimates the willingness to pay of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for a business online banking services. The estimation utilizes a contingent valuation method employing data from 400 SMEs in the United Arab Emirates free zones. An interval regression model is used to identify company characteristics affecting WTP. The results indicate an average WTP for online banking of $518.50 per month. Firms engaging in international trade value these services at least 10% more than those with only domestic operations. Other variables that significantly affect WTP include number of employees and the transportation cost of using traditional branch banking.
    Keywords: Contingent Valuation Method, Interval Regression Model, Willingness to Pay, Business Online Banking
    JEL: C13 F10 G21
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Abderraouf Mtiraoui (Université de Sousse)
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to study the impact of institutional quality on economic growth in the MENA region specifically and in other regions in general while showing some institutional shortcomings for our study region. Theoretically, we treat a review of the literature which takes into consideration the classic institutional approach of North (1990) and also the approach of Kaufmann, Kraay and Mastruzzi (2003). Empirically, we study the impact of institutional quality on growth. On the basis of a sample made up of 99 countries, observed over a well-defined period, we estimate a dynamic panel model according to the Arellano and Bond (1998) approach. The results do not support the hypothesis that institutional quality is the engine of economic growth.
    Abstract: L'objectif de ce papier est d'étudié l'impact la qualité institutionnelle sur la croissance économique dans la région MENA spécifiquement et dans d'autres régions en générale toute en montrant quelques défaillances institutionnelles pour notre région d'étude. Théoriquement, nous traitons une revue de la littérature qui met en considération l'approche institutionnelle classique de North (1990) et aussi l'approche de Kaufmann, Kraay et Mastruzzi (2003). Empiriquement, nous étudions l'impact de la qualité institutionnelle sur croissance. Sur la base d'un échantillon composé de 99 pays, observés sur une période bien déterminée, nous estimons un modèle de panel dynamique selon l'approche Arellano et Bond (1998). Les résultats ne permettent pas de valider l'hypothèse selon laquelle la qualité institutionnelle constitue le moteur de la croissance économique.
    Keywords: .Institution,Economic Growth,The Dynamic Panel Data (GMM),Institution,Croissance Economique,Données du Panel Dynamique (GMM)
    Date: 2020–01–31
  4. 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.
    Keywords: West African Economic and Monetary Union;National income;Consumption distribution;Personal income taxes;Inclusive growth;Middle East.,WP,consumption expenditure,GIC,inclusiveness,percentile,household survey
    Date: 2020–03–06
  5. By: Gamze Igrioglu; Adam Ostry; Miriam Allam
    Abstract: Egypt has embarked on an ambitious reform agenda to achieve key strategic objectives for the country’s growth and development by 2030. This working paper examines Egypt’s institutional and decision-making framework governing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as vertical and horizontal coordination across silos for better strategy design and implementation; the use of evidence, including data and impact assessments, in making decisions; and public consultations and results-based budgeting for more open, transparent, accountable and participatory governance. It assesses monitoring, evaluation and feedback frameworks to ensure that policy choices and trade-offs reflect empirical evidence on what works, what does not, and why, in pursuing the SDGs. This paper provides concrete policy recommendations in support of Egypt’s ongoing efforts toward SDG implementation, based on proven OECD country practice.
    JEL: H83 H11 H4 H7 I3
    Date: 2020–07–09
  6. By: Patricia Cortes; Semiray Kasoolu (Center for International Development at Harvard University); Carolina Ines Pan (Center for International Development at Harvard University)
    Abstract: Saudi Arabia is home to the world’s third largest migrant population. Under mounting pressure to increase the private sector employment of Saudis during the last decade, a series of nationalization policies on the labor force have been imposed since late 2011. In this paper, we study how the first nationalization policy, Nitaqat, affected the overall labor market and non-oil firms in the private sector, especially exporting firms. Our rich and novel data allow us to assess the effect of the policy on a wide set of outcomes: employment decisions by composition and size, the output and productivity of exporting firms, labor costs, and exit from the market. Using a difference-in-difference analysis, we compare the 2011 to 2012 change in outcomes between firms above and firms below the threshold required for the minimum share of Saudi workers in a firm. Our results suggest that the policy succeeded in encouraging firms to increase the share of Saudis in private firms. It also increased the share of Saudi women in the workforce, suggesting that the policy had a positive effect on increasing female labor force participation. However, these gains came at a very high cost to firms: our findings suggest that the policy led to a reduced firm size, reduced productivity and output of exporting firms, increased wage bill, increased share of low-skilled Saudi workers, and higher firm exit rates.
    Keywords: productivity, labor market, exporting firms, nationalization policies, immigration, Saudi Arabia, GCC
    Date: 2020–07
  7. By: Alsadi, Hanan (Qatar University)
    Abstract: Countries across the world are increasing their share of renewable energy in their daily consumption. However, if this increasing trend in renewable energies would also prevail among Oil Producing Economic Countries (OPEC), is subject to debate. They all have abundant potential to invest in renewable energy sources. Yet, some of the Middle Eastern and Arab Gulf OPEC members do not have or have a small amount of renewable energy sources. In contrast, other members have significant renewable energy sources. The research is deficient in explaining why some OPEC members lag behind other members in their transition to renewable energy, including how Middle Eastern OPEC members are implementing renewable energy. the purpose of this paper is to explore the influences on OPEC members that result in some OPEC members starting to adopt renewable energy and others have not started. The paper proposes recommendations for those countries that are slow or reluctant to embrace renewable energy to achieve a transition from black to green.
    Date: 2020–06–13
  8. By: Marijn A. Bolhuis; Brett Rayner
    Abstract: We develop a framework to nowcast (and forecast) economic variables with machine learning techniques. We explain how machine learning methods can address common shortcomings of traditional OLS-based models and use several machine learning models to predict real output growth with lower forecast errors than traditional models. By combining multiple machine learning models into ensembles, we lower forecast errors even further. We also identify measures of variable importance to help improve the transparency of machine learning-based forecasts. Applying the framework to Turkey reduces forecast errors by at least 30 percent relative to traditional models. The framework also better predicts economic volatility, suggesting that machine learning techniques could be an important part of the macro forecasting toolkit of many countries.
    Keywords: Production growth;Capacity utilization;Economic growth;Stock markets;Emerging markets;Forecasts,Nowcasting,Machine learning,GDP growth,Cross-validation,Random Forest,Ensemble,Turkey.,WP,forecast error,factor model,predictor,forecast,OLS
    Date: 2020–02–28
  9. By: Karim Zaouaq (UH2MC - Université Hassan II [Casablanca])
    Abstract: Le recours des administrations marocaines aux technologies de l'information et de la communication a certes évolué à travers les multiples politiques conçues dans ce domaine. Mais, le déploiement institutionnel en faveur de telles exigences numériques a été en deçà des attentes des usagers des services publics. Partant, la Cour des comptes a œuvré à dresser un état des lieux de l'évolution des services publics en ligne, ce qui a débouché sur la publication au cours du mois de mai 2019 d'un rapport qui a établi un diagnostic unique des principaux services publics en ligne offerts au Maroc et les a soumis à une analyse approfondie en termes de gouvernance. Toutefois, les données de ce rapport demeurent incomplètes en raison entre autres de la démarche méthodologique adoptée ainsi que de la prise en compte limitée du taux de satisfaction des parties concernées par les prestations des services publics en ligne.
    Keywords: Services publics en ligne,e-gouvernement,données publiques,interaction,information
    Date: 2020–05–31

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