nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2021‒02‒22
seventeen papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Working with Religious Families and Family Therapy in Turkey By Emel Genc
  2. Land scarcity impedes sustainable input intensification in smallholder irrigated agriculture: Evidence from Egypt By Abay, Kibrom A.; El-Enbaby, Hoda; Abdelfattah, Lina; Breisinger, Clemens
  3. Kandovan, an Unique Cultural Landscape of Iran, Issues and Strategies By Zahra Momeni
  4. Decomposition of Bank Loans and Economic Activity in Turkey By Hande Kucuk Yesil; Pinar Ozlu; Caglar Yunculer
  5. Improving the environmental performance of Moroccan industries By Amina Laaroussi; Denis Lemaître; Soumia Bakkali; Souad Ajana
  6. The Role of Expectations in the Inflation Process in Turkey: Have the Dynamics Changed Recently? By Umit Koc; Fethi Ogunc; Mustafa Utku Ozmen
  7. Using the Theory of Planned Behavior to Explore Employees Intentions to Implement Green Practices By Bouarar, Ahmed Chemseddine; Mouloudj, kamel
  8. The Impact of Oil Price Shocks on Turkish Sovereign Yield Curve By Oguzhan Cepni; Selcuk Gul; Muhammed Hasan Yilmaz; Brian Lucey
  10. Iraq; 2020 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Iraq By International Monetary Fund
  11. Impact of COVID-19 on the Yemeni economy: How the drop in remittances affected economic sectors, food systems, and households By Elsabbagh, Dalia; Kurdi, Sikandra; Wiebelt, Manfred
  13. Stock Price Informativeness and Profit Warnings: Empirical Analysis By Adel Almasarwah
  14. Conditional cash transfers and the learning crisis: evidence from Tayssir scale-up in Morocco By Jules Gazeaud; Claire Ricard
  15. Quantifying the Impact of Economic Sanctions on International Trade in the Energy and Mining Sectors By Larch, Mario; Shikher, Serge; Syropoulos, Costas; Yotov, Yoto
  16. Contention over contagion: Citizen responses to COVID-19 policies By Resnick, Danielle

  1. By: Emel Genc (Bartin University, Turkey)
    Abstract: Religion plays an important role in the lives of many and is observed through their individual and collective religious practices and beliefs. Numerous couples present for counseling ascribe to a religious belief system, including beliefs about God’s purpose for their marriage. To understand the worldview of one’s clients and deliver effective services, therapist must increase their understanding of various religious beliefs and practices. While many studies have been conducted in developed Western societies, there have been few that have examined religion as it relates to couple and parent-child relationships in developing societies such as Turkey. Although research is limited, studies of family structure in Turkish society show that religion and cultural values are of primary importance. With the rapid social change from a traditional to more modern culture, it is necessary to examine how religion impacts Turkish couples and family life in a changing cultural context. Thus, this study aims to provide a better understanding of role of religion on family relationships and help clinicians be prepared to serve Muslim clients in Turkey. Implications for clinicians working with religious clients are discussed.
    Keywords: family therapy, Islam, parent-child, religious families, Turkey
    Date: 2020–08
  2. By: Abay, Kibrom A.; El-Enbaby, Hoda; Abdelfattah, Lina; Breisinger, Clemens
    Abstract: Increasing population pressure and population density in many African countries are inducing land scarcity and land constraints. These increasing land constraints are expected to trigger various responses and adaptation strategies, including agricultural intensification induced by land scarcity, as postulated by the Boserup hypothesis. However, most empirical evaluations of the Boserup hypothesis come from rainfed agriculture and mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where application of improved agricultural inputs remains historically low. Agricultural intensification practices as well as the relevance of the Boserup hypothesis in irrigated agriculture and in contexts where application of improved inputs is high remains unexplored. Furthermore, while much of the debate on the topic in Africa has focused on how to boost agricultural intensification, there is scant evidence on whether evolving agricultural intensification practices in some parts of Africa are sustainable, yield-enhancing, and optimal. In this paper we investigate the implication of land scarcity on agricultural intensification and the relevance of the Boserup hypothesis in the context of Egypt, where agriculture is dominated by irrigation and input application rates are much higher than SSA. We also examine whether evolving agricultural intensification practices induced by land scarcity are agronomically appropriate and yield-enhancing. We find that land scarcity induces higher application of agricultural inputs, mainly nitrogen fertilizers, sometimes beyond the level that is agronomically recommended. More importantly, land scarcity increases overapplication of nitrogen fertilizer relative to crop-specific agronomic recommendations. This implies that land constraints remain as important challenges for sustainable agricultural intensification. Finally, we find suggestive evidence that such overapplication of nitrogen fertilizers is not yield-enhancing, but, rather, yield-reducing. We also document that land scarcity impedes mechanization of agriculture. Our findings have important implications to inform appropriate farm management and sustainable intensification practices. Furthermore, our results can inform long-term policy responses to land scarcity.
    Keywords: EGYPT, ARAB COUNTRIES, MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA, land resources, sustainability, smallholders, irrigated farming, agriculture, farming systems, intensification, land scarcity
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Zahra Momeni (University of IAU, Iran)
    Abstract: In 60 km southwest of Tabriz in East Azarbaijan province, a village with magnificent rock architecture has been formed. The most famous history of about 6,000 years, annually hosts more than 300,000 domestic and foreign tourists. The conical and pyramidal masses formed by the volcanic interactions of the Sahand mountain from thousands of years ago made it possible to settle on the slopes of this mountain. Today this type of landscape is seen in only two examples of the hills in the world (Cappadocia in Turkey, Dakota in the USA) with the advantage of Kandovan, that unlike the mentioned examples which have no inhabitants, the Iranian case is a touristic village and has more than 120 families with the living and working facilities. Exclusive architecture of Kandovan village along with its residents’ flow of life in its old texture form is considered as a unique phenomenon in the world, since, no one is found, anymore, to live in Cappadocia of Turkey or Dakota of U.S. Kandovan is a lively village built at the heart of rocks, and stone is the only structure of the village. The houses are in pyramid-form and some holes have been considered for livestock of the villagers. Certainly, the ultimate goal of the present article is considering the village as the pattern to its two similar cases, hoping that the authorities and responsible in the field of culture and tourism consider the village as a source of inspiration and take some steps compared to revival actions of the two exclusive cases since protecting historical and natural heritages has economic and cultural importance from the tourism perspective. Revival and introducing a progressive plan might be accompanied by the best positive cultural and economic results. This revival project, of course, has some certain dangers and potential threats for the elimination of historical and natural signs of the current texture, requiring a scientific and professional attitude and approach. The issue, which, unfortunately, has been ignored is that more than one decade attempts have been fruitless in registering the village in the UNESCO’s historical monuments’ list (unlike the other two above mentioned cases). In fact, modern human interferences in the form of unpermitted constructions have threatened historical signs and cultural value of the village. These are the barriers, which in the belief of UNESCO’s experts, should be eliminated. Hence, the lessons taken from Kandovan village should be noted and considered by authorities of cultural heritage and tourism industry responsible.
    Keywords: Kandovan, cultural landscape, tourism, rock architecture, UNESCO
    Date: 2020–08
  4. By: Hande Kucuk Yesil; Pinar Ozlu; Caglar Yunculer
    Abstract: We examine the empirical link between loans and economic activity in Turkey with a focus on the components of loans by borrower (household/business) and by purpose of use (housing/personal) as well as currency of denomination (domestic/foreign). We estimate a separate VAR model for each type of loan and each GDP expenditure item to analyse whether different types of loans have different effects on economic activity and through what channels. According to our empirical results, credit shocks have statistically significant impact on economic activity, especially within the first two quarters. We find that shocks that expand household and TL-denominated business loans by the same rate have quite similar effects on private consumption, final domestic demand and GDP while household loans has a much smaller impact on investment compared to business loans. While shocks to FX-denominated business loans have significant effect on total investment, they have much weaker effect on private consumption and GDP. The effect of housing loans on investment is found to be comparable to that of business loans, suggesting strong feedback between demand for housing and construction investment. We also investigate the robustness of findings to alternative data samples, as well as some alternative identifying restrictions.
    Keywords: Household credit, Business credit, GDP growth, Credit shocks
    JEL: E44 E32 C32
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Amina Laaroussi (University Hassan II); Denis Lemaître (FoAP - Formation et apprentissages professionnels - CNAM - Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers [CNAM] - AgroSup Dijon - Institut National Supérieur des Sciences Agronomiques, de l'Alimentation et de l'Environnement - ENSTA Bretagne - École Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancées Bretagne, Département SHS - Département Sciences Humaines et Sociales - ENSTA Bretagne - École Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancées Bretagne); Soumia Bakkali (University Hassan II); Souad Ajana (University Hassan II)
    Abstract: The environmental awareness of Moroccan engineers in charge of industrial projects has become essential to improve environmental performance and, more broadly, to contribute to the environment protection and sustainable development strategy of Morocco. However, it is difficult to measure the level of environmental awareness among engineers and to promote it. Thus, to answer this issue and provide comprehension tools, a field study was carried out among Moroccan company managers from seven different industrial sectors. The manufacturing companies are mostly certified ISO 14001 and ISO 9001, they are nevertheless strongly consumers of raw materials and exercise polluting industrial activities which generate waste. The survey aims to gain a better understanding of the policies of these companies in terms of their environmental management of industrial projects, and expected engineering skills. It covers the projects managed by engineers from different specialties who graduated from Moroccan schools. The study combines on the one side, a quantitative assessment section on the mastery of the environmental footprint in the operational decision-making phase of 174 industrial projects led by Moroccan engineers. On the other side, it includes a qualitative analysis section of the expectations and recommendations of the industrialists for a better environmental management of projects. The study shows that the level of environmental implication of the engineers in the projects leaves room for improvement. The industrialists' attention was mainly focused on the control of the environmental footprint when completing projects, whilst still contributing to the improvement of the performance of industry and the country.
    Keywords: Morocco,Environmental performance,Environmental footprint,Manufacturing industries,Engineers,Project management
    Date: 2020–12
  6. By: Umit Koc; Fethi Ogunc; Mustafa Utku Ozmen
    Abstract: In this paper, we analyze the role of inflation expectations in inflation dynamics. The hike in inflation following the exchange rate shock in 2018 provides an interesting period to analyze whether the sensitivity of inflation to its main determinants, including expectations, has changed. To this end, we estimate a time-varying parameter Phillips curve model to focus on the changes in inflation dynamics. We also jointly study the formation of inflation expectations to further investigate how the setting of inflation expectations evolved over the course of the rapid rise and the following gradual decline in inflation observed since the second half of 2018. Our results reveal that inflation expectations play an important role in inflation dynamics; and that the sensitivity of inflation to expectations did not change much recently. Meanwhile, the sensitivity of inflation to the exchange rate has sharply risen and corrected only partially afterwards. However, the most notable change has been witnessed in the weight attached to the past inflation in forming expectations; agents pay higher attention to inflation realizations. Overall, our results reveal that inflation expectations and the exchange rate movements are the leading driving forces of inflation in Turkey, in which the interaction between them further amplifies the impact on inflation.
    Keywords: Inflation, Survey-based inflation expectations, State-space model, Turkey
    JEL: E31 C32 C36
    Date: 2021
  7. By: Bouarar, Ahmed Chemseddine; Mouloudj, kamel
    Abstract: Predicting behaviors is particularly important in the field of environmental management because the environment is greatly influenced by human behavior. This paper aims to contribute to the development of an extended theory of planned behavior (TPB) and to gain some insight into the motives for employees' intentions to implement green practices in Algeria as a developing country. Data were collected from the convenience sample of 182 employees in three Algerian cities using a questionnaire survey. The results indicated that attitude toward behavior, subjective norms and environmental knowledge is positively and significantly affect employee's intention to implement green practices. The results also suggested that perceived behavior control had no significant effect. It is expected that the results of this paper can aid policymakers and stakeholders in drafting and implementing sustainable environmental regulations in the workplace.
    Keywords: Attitude; Environmental Knowledge; Perceived Behavior Control; Subjective Norms; Workplace.
    JEL: E24 M12 Q56
    Date: 2021–02–19
  8. By: Oguzhan Cepni; Selcuk Gul; Muhammed Hasan Yilmaz; Brian Lucey
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of oil price shocks on Turkish sovereign yield curve factors. The recent oil shock identification scheme of Ready (2018) is modified by using geopolitical oil price risk index in order to capture the changes in the risk perceptions of oil markets driven by geopolitical tensions such as terrorism, conflicts and sanctions. The modified identification scheme attributes more power to demand shocks in explaining the variation of the oil price. Furthermore, our findings demonstrate that the various oil price shocks influence the yield curve factors quite differently. A supply shock leads to a statistically significant increase in the level factor. This result shows that elevated oil prices due to supply disruptions are interpreted as a signal of surge in inflation expectations since the cost channel prevails. Moreover, unanticipated demand shocks have a positive impact on the slope factor as a result of the central bank policy response for offsetting the elevated inflation expectations. Overall, our results provide new insights to understand the driven forces of yield curve movements that are induced by various oil shocks in order to formulate appropriate policy responses.
    Keywords: Emerging markets, Local projections, Oil price, Supply and demand shocks, Yield curve factors, Geopolitical oil price risks
    JEL: E43 E44 G12 G15 Q43
    Date: 2021
  9. By: Trabelsi Ramzi (High Business School of Tunis (ESCT), Manouba University, Tunisia)
    Abstract: The main purpose in this paper is to examine the impact of different public policies on the economic growth in Tunisia between 1990 and 2014. We estimated our basic model by using the ARDL bounds test technique. The econometric analysis gave various images and very interesting results .Our main findings indicate that Tunisian’s disappointed economic growth results from bad designed and misguided public policies. This finding provides key insights on policy recommendations for policymakers.
    Keywords: Economic Growth; Public policy; ARDL
    JEL: O40 E62 C22
    Date: 2019–12
  10. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: Iraq's socio-economic fragilities have been severely aggravated by the pandemic and the sharp decline in oil revenues, which arrived on the heels of widespread social unrest and political instability. The health system’s limited capacity has been strained, while the fiscal position has become untenable as oil revenues declined sharply to a level that barely covers the government’s large wage and pension bills. Although the number of new infections declined recently, Iraq registered the second-highest COVID-related fatalities in the region, and the fiscal response to the pandemic has been one of the lowest. A six-month political paralysis preceding the formation of the government in May 2020 and plans to hold early parliamentary elections in mid-2021 have been weighing on political support for reforms. Risks of social unrest, geopolitical tensions, and insecurity remain elevated.
    Date: 2021–02–11
  11. By: Elsabbagh, Dalia; Kurdi, Sikandra; Wiebelt, Manfred
    Abstract: There has been an unprecedented decline in the flow of remittances to Yemen – a vital source of money for millions – as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A Social Accounting Matrix (SAM) multiplier model of Yemen’s economy was used to estimate the impact of lower remittances on economic sectors and employment, food systems, and household incomes.
    Keywords: YEMEN, ARAB COUNTRIES, MIDDLE EAST, SOUTHWESTERN ASIA, ASIA, remittances, food systems, households, models, household income, gross national product, employment, agriculture, Coronavirus, coronavirus disease, Coronavirinae, COVID-19, agrifood systems, Social Accounting Matrix (SAM), Agriculture Investment Data Analyzer (AIDA)
    Date: 2021
  12. By: Mustapha Djaballah (Economics department - University of Mohamed Budiaf ( M’sila) - Algeria)
    Abstract: This article empirically discusses the possible interactions between the rate of economic growth, the rate of change in inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) and the rate of real equilibrium real exchange, in MENA countries (18 countries) for the period 2000 -2019. The result suggests that there is a positive relationship between financial development and economic growth. The study also documents that inflation and government expenditure have negative impact on economic growth for those selected MENA countries. The paper ends with some policy implications and potential limitations.
    Keywords: GDP, FDI, Exchange rate, Dynamic Panel Modeling
    JEL: C32 O47 F17 F31
    Date: 2020–12
  13. By: Adel Almasarwah (Business School at Hashemite University, Jordan)
    Abstract: This study investigates the nature of association between profit warnings and stock price informativeness in the context of Jordan as an emerging country. The analysis is based on the response of stock price synchronicity to profit warnings percentages that have been published in Jordanian firms throughout the period spanning 2005–2016 in the Amman Stock Exchange. The standard of profit warnings indicators have related negatively to stock price synchronicity in Jordanian firms, meaning that firms with a high portion of profit warnings integrate with more firm-specific information into stock price. Robust regression was used rather than OLS as a parametric test to overcome the variances inflation factor (VIF) and heteroscedasticity issues recognized as having occurred during running the OLS regression; this enabled us to obtained stronger results that fall in line with our prediction that higher profit warning encourages firm investors to collect and process more firm-specific information than common market information.
    Keywords: Profit Warnings, Jordanian Firms, Stock Price Informativeness, Synchronicity, Whites Robust Regression
    Date: 2020–10
  14. By: Jules Gazeaud; Claire Ricard
    Abstract: We use a regression discontinuity design in rural Morocco to study whether the enrollment gains from conditional cash transfer programs translate into learning benefits. Unlike most previous studies, we estimate the effects of a sustained exposure during whole primary school. We find small and seemingly negative effects on test scores at the end-of-primary school exam. Concomitant increases in class size suggest that the program constrained learning by putting additional pressure on existing resources in beneficiary areas. These results are particularly relevant for settings where transfers are geographically targeted with no measures to absorb the extra influx of students.
    Keywords: Conditional cash transfers, learning outcomes, program scaleup, Morocco, Tayssir
    JEL: I21 I38 J24 O12 O15
    Date: 2021
  15. By: Larch, Mario (University of Bayreuth); Shikher, Serge (United States International Trade Commission); Syropoulos, Costas (School of Economics Drexel University); Yotov, Yoto (School of Economics Drexel University)
    Abstract: Capitalizing on the latest developments in the gravity literature, we utilize two new datasets on sanctions and trade to study the impact of economic sanctions on international trade in the mining sector, which includes oil and natural gas. We demonstrate that the gravity equation is well suited to model bilateral trade in mining and find that sanctions have been effective in impeding mining trade. Our analysis reveals that complete trade sanctions have reduced bilateral mining trade by about 44 percent on average. We also document the presence of significant heterogeneity in the effects of sanctions on mining trade across mining industries and across sanction episodes/cases, depending on the sanctioning and sanctioned countries, the type of sanctions used, and the direction of trade flows. We take a close look at the impact of recent sanctions on Iran and Russia.
    Keywords: Structural Gravity; Sanctions; Mining; Oil; Trade Effects
    JEL: F13 F14 F51
    Date: 2021–01–31
  16. By: Resnick, Danielle
    Abstract: At the outset of 2021, COVID-19 continues to test the limits of state–society relationships in much of the developing world. On January 7, Senegal’s capital Dakar experienced violent demonstrations opposing a nighttime curfew imposed by the government under a new state of emergency law intended to limit the spread of the coronavirus (Ollivier 2021). A week later, Tunisia implemented a new national lockdown, sparking successive nights of rioting in various cities across the country that prompted intervention by the army. In both cases, grievances over the economic impacts of movement restrictions motivated protesters (Cordall 2021).
    Keywords: WORLD; Coronavirus; coronavirus disease; Coronavirinae; COVID-19; policies; public participation; governance; mobilization; government; protests; curfew; lockdown; citizens; riot
    Date: 2021
  17. By: Assoule Dechaicha (Université 8 Mai 1945 Guelma); Djamel Alkama (Université 8 Mai 1945 Guelma)
    Abstract: Nowadays, urban sprawl is one of the major problems facing the Algerian Low-Sahara oases. Monitoring and understanding its spatial evolution remains an essential step for any sustainable development project of the oasis city. Local authorities do not have relevant and updated tools for effective management and spatial planning. Remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide opportunities to overcome these difficulties. The present study consists in application of a change detection technique to map and quantify the spatiotemporal sprawl of Biskra City (Algeria), during the period 1985 - 2000, using three Landsat images acquired in 1985, 2000 and 2015. The post-classification comparison of land use and land cover maps has revealed a remarkable growth in the built-up areas going beyond the municipality's boundaries, in conurbation with the agglomeration of Chetma, against a progressive decline of the palm grove. It has undergone a continue process of fragmentation and conversion of its surface by the uncontrolled urbanisation, leading to the loss of the original oasis identity distinguishing this city. The main aim of this paper is to highlight the urban sprawl process and its spatial land use and land cover modifications. This study also shows the utility of change detection methods and Geographic Information Systems for monitoring the urbanisation patterns and assessing their impacts on oasis ecosystems.
    Abstract: L'étalement urbain constitue un des problèmes majeurs que connaissent les oasis du Bas-Sahara algérien. Le suivi et la compréhension de son évolution spatiale demeurent une étape essentielle dans toute démarche de développement soutenable de la ville oasienne. Les autorités locales ne disposent pas d'outils appropriés, susceptibles d'être mis à jour régulièrement, pour leur permettre d'agir efficacement en matière de planification et d'aménagement spatial. La télédétection spatiale et les Systèmes d'Information Géographique (SIG) offrent des opportunités permettant de surmonter ces difficultés. L'étude présentée ici consiste en l'application d'une technique de détection du changement pour cartographier et quantifier l'étalement spatiotemporel de la ville de Biskra (Algérie) durant la période 1985-2000, en utilisant des images Landsat des années 1985, 2000 et 2015. La comparaison post-classification des cartes d'occupation du sol a révélé une croissance des surfaces bâties, allant jusqu'au-delà des limites communales en conurbation avec l'agglomération de Chetma, au détriment d'un recul progressif de la palmeraie. Cette dernière a subi un processus de morcellement et de mitage par le bâti, conduisant à la perte de l'identité oasienne de la ville. L'objectif de notre étude est de mettre en évidence le processus de l'étalement urbain et les modifications d'occupation du sol qu'il engendre. Elle montre l'importance des méthodes de détection du changement pour la compréhension des formes d'urbanisation et l'évaluation de leurs impacts sur les écosystèmes oasiens.
    Keywords: Urban sprawl,oasis city,remote sensing,GIS,change detection,ville oasienne,télédétection spatiale,SIG,détection du changement,étalement urbain
    Date: 2020–11–16

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