nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2021‒04‒26
five papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. A Lingua Franca for Kurdish Populations By Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde; Victor Ginsburgh; Hossein Hassani; Shlomo Weber
  2. Mental Health Costs of Lockdowns: Evidence from Age-Specific Curfews in Turkey By Altindag, Onur; Erten, Bilge; Keskin, Pinar
  3. Economic Assessment of the Development of CO2 Direct Reduction Technologies in Long-term Climate Strategies of the Gulf Countries By Frédéric Babonneau; Ahmed Badran; Maroua Benlahrech; Alain Haurie; Maxime Schenckery; Marc Vielle
  4. Investigating farming efficiency through a two stage analytical approach: Application to the agricultural sector in Northern Oman By Amar Oukil; Slim Zekri
  5. لتشع تونس من جديد By Nabi, Mahmoud Sami

  1. By: Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde; Victor Ginsburgh; Hossein Hassani; Shlomo Weber
    Abstract: Kurdish languages and multiple dialects spread across several nation-states under various regimes varying from regional recognition (e. g. Iraq) to persistent attrition (e. g. Turkey). Kurdish linguistic faces a variety of challenges which can be attributed to different causes such as the historical background of the language, sociopolitical reasons, and forced compliance with national linguistic policies in some of the countries where Kurds live to name a few. In this paper we do not discuss the normative issue of linguistic rights entitlements of the speakers of different varieties of Kurdish. We consider their complex sociolinguistic situation from the point of view of communication efficiency in the face of the following dilemma: Either unification through the adoption of a lingua franca or standardized Kurdish, with the implication of disenfranchisement of some speakers, or the maintenance of multiple dialects, with the risk of fractionalization and its political and economic consequences. For reasons such as the multi-dialect feature of the language and its sociocultural attributes, the attempts to standardize Kurdish have not succeeded. To address this dilemma, we proceed to compute the lexical-linguistic distances between six dialects of Kurdish: three which are representative of Kurmanji and three of Sorani, i. e. the two main linguistic and regional varieties of Kurdish. Our selection of dialects, although incomplete, covers about 75% of the whole population of Kurdish speakers. Our study is the first one to propose an application of the Jaro-similarity index on a Swadesh-list of dialects of Kurdish. Our results reveal some significant distance within Sorani and Kurmanji dialects, and an expected more significant distance between Sorani and Kurmanji dialects. The latter distance is sufficiently important to favor a three-languagepolicy rather than any other one: an international language, the national language (Turkish, Farsi or Arabic), and the local Kurdish variety. This policy maximizes efficiency, Kurdish identity as well as within and without group intercommunication. We compare it to similar linguistic policy attempts in India, Nigeria and Kazakhstan.
    Keywords: Kurdish languages; Linguistic distances; Three-language formula
    Date: 2021–03
  2. By: Altindag, Onur (Bentley University); Erten, Bilge (Northeastern University); Keskin, Pinar (Wellesley College)
    Abstract: Using a strict, age-specific lockdown order for adults aged 65 and older in Turkey, we examine the mental health consequences of an extended period of tight mobility restrictions on senior adults. Adopting a regression discontinuity design, we find that the curfew-induced decline in mobility substantially worsened mental health outcomes, including somatic and nonsomatic symptoms of mental distress (approximately 0.2 standard deviation). Exploring potential channels, we document an increase in social and physical isolation, with no evidence of robust changes in labor market outcomes or intrahousehold conflict for this subpopulation.
    Keywords: COVID-19, mental health, lockdown, regression discontinuity, Turkey
    JEL: I18 I31 O15
    Date: 2021–04
  3. By: Frédéric Babonneau (ORDECSYS, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez [Santiago]); Ahmed Badran (Qatar University); Maroua Benlahrech (Qatar University); Alain Haurie (ORDECSYS, University of Geneva [Switzerland], HEC Montréal - HEC Montréal); Maxime Schenckery (IFPEN - IFP Energies nouvelles - IFPEN - IFP Energies nouvelles, IFP School); Marc Vielle (EPFL - Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)
    Abstract: This paper proposes an assessment of long-term climate strategies for oil and gas producing countries – in particular, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states– as regards the Paris agreement goal of limiting the increase of surface air temperature to 2°C by the end of the 21st century. The study evaluates the possible role of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies under an international emissions trading market as a way to mitigate welfare losses. To model the strategic context, one assumes that a global cumulative emissions budget will have been allocated among different coalitions of countries – the GCC being one of them – and the existence of an international emissions trading market. A meta-game model is proposed in which deployment of CDR technologies as well as supply of emission rights are strategic variables and the payoffs are obtained from simulations of a General Equilibrium model. The results of the simulations indicate that oil and gas producing countries and especially the GCC countries face a significant welfare loss risk, due to "unburnable oil" if a worldwide climate regime as recommended by the Paris agreement is put in place. The development of CDR technologies, in particular Direct Air Capture (DAC) alleviates somewhat this risk and offers these countries a new opportunity for exploiting their gas reserves and the carbon storage capacity offered by depleted oil and gas reservoirs.
    Keywords: GCC countries,Climate negotiations,Carbon dioxide removal,Financial compensation,Negative emissions,CDR technologies.
    Date: 2019–05
  4. By: Amar Oukil; Slim Zekri
    Abstract: In this paper, we develop a two-stage analytical framework to investigate farming efficiency. In the first stage, data envelopment analysis is employed to estimate the efficiency of the farms and conduct slack and scale economies analyses. In the second stage, we propose a stochastic model to identify potential sources of inefficiency. The latter model integrates within a unified structure all variables, including inputs, outputs and contextual factors. As an application ground, we use a sample of 60 farms from the Batinah coastal region, an agricultural area representing more than 53 per cent of the total cropped area of Oman. The findings of the study lay emphasis on the inter-dependence of groundwater salinity, irrigation technology and operational efficiency of a farm, with as a key recommendation the necessity for more regulated water consumption and a readjustment of governmental subsidiary policies.
    Date: 2021–04
  5. By: Nabi, Mahmoud Sami
    Abstract: This book investigates the socioeconomic factors that triggered Tunisia’s "revolution for dignity” and the current issues and challenges facing its economy while suggesting mechanisms and instruments for their resolution. The author begins by analyzing the roots of the revolution and the post-revolution situation from a political sociology perspective and then diagnoses the Tunisian economy before and after the revolution and identifies the multidimensional binding constraints preventing it from escaping the middle-income trap. The book then explores the pillars of an inclusive development strategy that Tunisia should pursue. The emphasis is made on building inclusive institutions, developing a new social contract and reinventing the country's leadership. Beyond the institutional dimension, the author suggests innovative financial channels, discusses the strategy of a successful integration of the Tunisian economy in the global economy as well as the pillars of its transformation into a knowledge-based economy.
    Keywords: Tunisia; Revolution; Middle-income trap;Inclusive Development Strategy; social contract; social cohesion; Institutional Development; Innovative financial channels; Knowledge Economy;.
    JEL: B0 G0 H0 O1 O3 O43
    Date: 2021–01–14

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