nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2021‒05‒17
seven papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Years of Life Lost to Revolution and War in Iran By Mohammad Reza Farzanegan
  2. Ethnic Mixing in Early Childhood By Boucher, Vincent; Tumen, Semih; Vlassopoulos, Michael; Wahba, Jackline; Zenou, Yves
  3. The economic gains of closing the employment gender gap: Evidence from Morocco By Olivier Bargain; Maria C. Lo Bue
  4. A Lingua Franca for Kurdish Populations By Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde; Victor Ginsburgh; Hossein Hassani; Shlomo Weber
  5. Preaching to Social Media: Turkey’s Friday Khutbas and Their Effects on Twitter By Aksoy, Ozan
  6. Making Egypt’s Post-COVID Growth Path More Sustainable By Uwe Böwer
  7. The Impact of Leadership Style on Performance of Nurses By ofar, Sutikno M.

  1. By: Mohammad Reza Farzanegan
    Abstract: This study examines the causal joint effect of a new political regime and war against Iraq on life expectancy of Iranians for the period 1978–1988 during the revolution and war. I use a synthetic control approach to construct a synthetic Iran based on a weighted average of other Middle East and North Africa (‘MENA’) and Organization of the Petroleum Exporting (‘OPEC’) countries. The synthetic Iran matches the average level of key pre-revolution life expectancy correlates and the evolution of the factual Iranian life expectancy during the post-revolution period through the end of the war. I find a sizable negative effect of the joint treatment. The results show that in total, an average Iranian has lost an accumulated 62 years of life during the post-revolution period until the end of war with Iraq in 1988. The average annual years of life lost is approximately six years. In other words, in the absence of the revolution and war, an average Iranian’s life expectancy could be approximately six years longer.
    Keywords: synthetic control method, treatment effect, Iran, Iraq, war, conflict, revolution, life expectancy, health
    JEL: C23 H56 F51 D74 Q34
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Boucher, Vincent; Tumen, Semih; Vlassopoulos, Michael; Wahba, Jackline; Zenou, Yves
    Abstract: The social integration of minority groups is a major policy challenge for many countries. This paper addresses this issue in the context of an early childhood program conducted in Turkey aimed at preparing 5-year-old native and Syrian refugee children for elementary school. We randomly assign children to groups with varying ethnic composition and examine whether random exposure to non-coethnic children over a period of 2 months affects interethnic friendship formation and language acquisition. We find that exposure to children of the other ethnicity leads to an increase in the formation of interethnic friendships, especially for Turkish children, while the Turkish language skills of Syrian children are better developed in classes with a larger presence of Turkish children. To explain the empirical patterns, we develop a model of friendship formation with two key mechanisms: preference bias for forming coethnic links, and congestion in the friendship formation process. Structural estimation of the model suggests that interethnic contact: (i) reduces the share of own-ethnicity friends, and (ii) has a non-monotonic effect on the bias toward forming own-ethnicity friendships beyond what would be expected given the size of the group (inbreeding homophily). The latter finding implies that increased exposure of minority children to non-coethnic children can lead to more in-group bias in friendship formation, relative to when the two ethnic shares are more balanced. Finally, counterfactual analysis indicates that improvement in the language skills of Syrian children can offset more than half of the effect that ethnic bias has on friendship formation patterns.
    Keywords: contact theory; Refugees; Social Cohesion; Social Networks
    JEL: J15 J18 Z13
    Date: 2020–12
  3. By: Olivier Bargain; Maria C. Lo Bue
    Abstract: The present paper sheds new light on the growth implications of gender inequalities in the Moroccan labour market. We confront two different approaches. The first one is based on firm data to estimate gender complementarity in production and uses this information for simulations based on a simple macroeconomic model. The second relies on country panel variation to relate growth to the relative employment of women and, also, suggest simulations for Morocco. Both approaches lead to similar conclusions regarding the potential economic gains from increased female participation in this country.
    Keywords: Morocco, Female labour force participation, Gender gap, Employment, Growth, Production functions (Economic theory)
    Date: 2021
  4. 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
  5. By: Aksoy, Ozan
    Abstract: In this study I analyse through machine learning the content of all Friday khutbas (sermons) read to millions of citizens in thousands of Mosques of Turkey since 2015. I focus on six non-religious and recurrent topics that feature in the sermons, namely business, family, nationalism, health, trust, and patience. I demonstrate that the content of the sermons respond strongly to events of national importance. I then link the Friday sermons with ~4.8 million tweets on these topics to study whether and how the content of sermons affects social media behaviour. I find generally large effects of the sermons on tweets, but there is also heterogeneity by topic. It is strongest for nationalism, patience, and health and weakest for business. Overall, these results show that religious institutions in Turkey are influential in shaping the public’s social media content and that this influence is mainly prevalent on salient issues. More generally, these results show that mass offline religious activity can have strong effects on social media behavior.
    Date: 2021–05–12
  6. By: Uwe Böwer
    Abstract: Just when Egypt had achieved a hard-earned economic stabilisation and was on track towards more sustainable growth, COVID-19 threw the country back into stabilisation mode. Building on the economy’s strengthened fundamentals, swift government intervention helped mitigate the pandemic’s economic fallout, seeing the economy through the storm with resilience. However, Egypt’s growth performance has increasingly relied on extractive industries and a large role of the state in the economy. Compared to emerging market peers, Egypt might not yet be fully exploiting its catching-up growth potential. Strong population growth amid low participation rates calls for a redoubling of efforts to make Egypt’s post-COVID growth path more inclusive and sustainable, with the non-oil private sector at its core. Unleashing the private sector’s potential for growth and job creation will require a more enabling environment for trade and investment by removing non-tariff barriers and creating a level playing field for investors, including vis-à-vis public and state-connected firms. Fast-tracking the twin transition towards a digital and greener economy would capitalise on the digitalisation push ushered in by the pandemic and help Egypt to reap its large opportunities for a green and sustainable recovery.
    Keywords: Uwe Böwer, Economic analysis of Egypt’s growth drivers and medium-term growth prospects, Egypt, growth, private sector, state-owned enterprises, trade, investment, competition, digital transition, green growth.
    JEL: F13 L32 O53
    Date: 2021–05
  7. By: ofar, Sutikno M.
    Abstract: This study aims to find the impact of leadership style (Transformational leadership and Transactional leadership) on the performance of Nurses in the Health sector. The study conducted in Temar medical Center, Erbil, Kurdistan Region. Fifty questionnaires have been distributed. The data collected analyzed by Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). After ensuring the reliability and validity, the results indicated both leadership style, Transformational leadership, and Transactional leadership had a positive and significant impact on nurses' performance. However, the results showed Transformational leadership style more important compared to Transactional leadership on Nurse's performance
    Date: 2021–02–16

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