nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2021‒03‒15
five papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. The relationship between non-performing loans, banking system stability and economic activity: The case of Tunisia By Dorsaf Elbir Merhbene; ;
  2. The Economic Geography of Ottoman Anatolia: People, Places, and Political Economy around 1530 By Metin M. Cosgel; Sadullah Yıldırım
  3. Tunisia; 2021 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Tunisia By International Monetary Fund
  4. An Adaptive Targeted Field Experiment : Job Search Assistance for Refugees in Jordan By Caria, Stefano; Gordon, Grant; Kasy, Maximilian; Quinn, Simon; Shami, Soha; Teytelboym, Alexander
  5. Freedom of Speech, Deterrence, and Compellence in the Parliament By Duha T. Altindag; Naci H. Mocan; Jie Zhang

  1. By: Dorsaf Elbir Merhbene (Central Bank of Tunisia); ;
    Abstract: This study seeks to determine the relation between non-performing loans (NPLs) and bank profitability in Tunisia. This relation appears non-linear. We estimate a threshold of NPLs using an econometric framework. We examine the determinants affecting profitability over the Q4 2010 - Q4 2019 period for 10 Tunisian banks by estimating a model showing the impact of NPLs on bank profitability. The results indicate that banks with lower non-performing loan tend to have higher profitability.
    Keywords: NPLS; banking profitability
    JEL: G21 E58 P34
    Date: 2021–02–24
  2. By: Metin M. Cosgel (University of Connecticut); Sadullah Yıldırım (Marmara University)
    Abstract: We use GIS data and information from the tax registers of the Ottoman Empire to study the economic geography of Ottoman Anatolia in the sixteenth century, soon after the vast expansion of the empire in Asian territories. For a consistent and systematic account of resources and activities, we use data from the official accounting registers (muhasebe defteri) of the empire recorded around the year 1530, available at the district (kaza) level from the State Archives in Turkey. The accounting registers include detailed information regarding the amounts and essential features of the inhabitants and resources of the empire, especially in relation to the fiscal and administrative capacity of the state. Since the data are given at the level of the district, we use the name of the district to georeference its location, calculate district-level values of several representative indicators, and use GIS software to display the geographic dispersion of these indicators on maps. Regarding people, we determine the total number of taxpaying inhabitants in a district and the fractions of inhabitants who were non-Muslims and those exempt from taxation. In the same vein, we use the information regarding productive resources to calculate the numbers of mills, caravanserais, and markets in each district. Finally, as an indicator of political economy constraints that the Ottomans faced in newly conquered territories, we provide information regarding the spatial implementation of the malikane-divani system, an unusual method of dividing tax revenues between the state and local private recipients (mülk, vakıf).
    JEL: N15 N35 N45 N75 N95
    Date: 2021–03
  3. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: The pandemic aggravated Tunisia’s long-standing vulnerabilities stemming from persistent fiscal and external imbalances, rising debt, and contingent liabilities from inefficient state-owned enterprises. The crisis is expected to induce the largest contraction in real GDP since independence. The authorities’ targeted response together with higher outlays on wages widened the fiscal deficit. A second Covid-19 wave is underway. The authorities are securing 500,000 doses to start a first campaign of vaccinations in February and are aiming to secure more doses to vaccinate half of the population starting in April–May. Staff expects GDP growth to rebound modestly in 2021, but it could take years before activity returns to pre-crisis levels, especially if large imbalances were not addressed and key reforms delayed. Downside risks dominate and recent protests highlight the level of social tensions, aggravated by Covid-19 restrictions, and particularly among the youth.
    Date: 2021–02–26
  4. By: Caria, Stefano (Department of Economics, University of Warwick); Gordon, Grant; Kasy, Maximilian (Department of Economics, University of Oxford, M); Quinn, Simon; Shami, Soha; Teytelboym, Alexander
    Abstract: We introduce an adaptive targeted treatment assignment methodology for field experiments. Our Tempered Thompson Algorithm balances the goals of maximizing the precision of treatment effect estimates and maximizing the welfare of experimental participants. A hierarchical Bayesian model allows us to adaptively target treatments. We implement our methodology in Jordan, testing policies to help Syrian refugees and local jobseekers to find work. The immediate employment impacts of a small cash grant, information and psychological support are small, but targeting raises employment by 1 percentage-point (20%). After four months, cash has a sizable effect on employment and earnings of Syrians. JEL Classification: C93 ; J6 ; O15 Creation date: 2021
  5. By: Duha T. Altindag; Naci H. Mocan; Jie Zhang
    Abstract: This paper presents the first empirical analysis of the impact of Parliamentary immunity on the behavior and performance of politicians. Leveraging a Constitutional Amendment, the adoption of which lifted the immunity of 132 of the 550 members of the Turkish Parliament, we find that losing immunity pacifies the MPs of the opposition parties. They become less diligent in the Parliament (drafting fewer pieces of legislation, initiating fewer investigation inquiries, delivering fewer and shorter speeches) and become less aggressive (interrupting other MPs less frequently). They also reduce their tendency to cast dissenting votes against the government. MPs of the opposition parties who lose their immunity are less likely to get re-nominated by their parties in the next election, and they are less likely to get re-elected. We find no evidence that more outspoken and active opposition MPs, or those who are more valuable for their parties have been targeted for immunity revocation. There is no evidence that immunity-retained MPs increasing their Parliamentary efforts in reaction to their same-party colleagues losing immunity. Laws are passed faster after the Constitutional Amendment was adopted, possibly as a consequence of reduced opposition and deliberation. Using Eurobarometer surveys, we find that citizens’ reactions to the revocation of MP immunity are polarized. An individual’s trust in the Parliament is decreased or increased based on whether an MP from the individual’s province lost immunity and if that MP subscribes to the same or opposing ideology as the individual.
    JEL: D02 K0 P48
    Date: 2021–03

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