nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2021‒08‒09
ten papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. GDP Forecast of the Biggest GCC Economies Using ARIMA By Youssef, Jamile; Ishker, Nermeen; Fakhreddine, Nour
  2. Syrian Refugees and the Migration Dynamics of Jordanians: Moving in or Moving out? By Wahba Jackline; Nelly Elmallakh
  3. The Quest for Increased Saudization: Labor Market Outcomes and the Shadow Price of Workforce Nationalization Policies By Michael Lopesciolo; Daniela Muhaj; Carolina Ines Pan
  4. Assessing the Impact of Tax Policies on Economic Growth in Tunisia: New Empirical and Policy Analysis By Mkadmi, Jamel Eddine; Bakari, Sayef; Msai, Achwak
  5. Identifying the Effects of Sanctions on the Iranian Economy using Newspaper Coverage By Laudati, D.; Pesaran, M. H.
  6. The Effect of Lockdown on Students’ Performance: A comparative study between Sweden, Italy and Turkey By Giorgia Casalone; Alessandra Michelangeli; John Östh; Umut Türk
  7. Human Rights Abuses in Xinjiang: Perspectives and Responses from the Islamic World and the Middle East By Ezell, Carson
  8. Tradable and Non-tradable Inflation in Turkey: Predicting Different States with Markov Regime-Switching Approach By Hulya Saygili; Aysun Turkvatan
  9. Transition to Democracy, Real Wages and Productivity: The Turkish Experience By Erol Taymaz; Ebru Voyvoda; Kamil Yilmaz
  10. The Impact of International Migration on sub-Saharan African Women to the Middle East By Estella Achinko

  1. By: Youssef, Jamile; Ishker, Nermeen; Fakhreddine, Nour
    Abstract: Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members are considered one of the fastest growing economies. This paper aims to empirically forecast the economic activity of the vastest GCC countries: Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. An Auto-Regressive Moving Average (ARIMA) model for the three countries Gross Domestic Product is obtained using the Box-Jenkins methodology during the 1980 - 2020 period. The appropriate models for the three economies are of ARIMA (0,2,1), the forecasts are at a 95% confidence level and predicts a growth in the three countries for the upcoming five years.
    Keywords: ARIMA Model; GDP; forecasting; GCC
    JEL: C22 C53 O1 O53
    Date: 2021–06–17
  2. By: Wahba Jackline (University of Southampton); Nelly Elmallakh
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of massive refugee inflows on the internal mobility of the host’s country population. We rely on panel data from before and after the Syrian war and exploit the geographical distribution of Syrians across Jordanian subdistricts. Using Difference-in-Differences, we find that the Syrian inflows increased Jordanian residential mobility. In particular, native outflows of the camp hosting areas increased by 27%. The increased residential mobility out of the camp areas seems to be triggered by an increase in rents and a crowding out of Jordanian students by Syrians in schools. Our results also show that the Syrian presence increased Jordanians’ job location mobility into the camp areas. These findings are robust to controlling for refugees’ locational sorting using instrumental variables, while auxiliary placebo regressions confirm that pre-existing trends in outcomes are not driving the results. We also provide a thorough discussion on the impact of refugees versus broader impacts of the Syrian war.
    Keywords: internal migration, job mobility, forced displacement, refugees, Jordan
    JEL: F22 J61 R23
    Date: 2021–07
  3. By: Michael Lopesciolo (Center for International Development at Harvard University); Daniela Muhaj; Carolina Ines Pan (Center for International Development at Harvard University)
    Abstract: Few countries have embraced active labor market policies to the same extent as Saudi Arabia. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, the imperative of increasing Saudi employment became paramount. The country faced one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world while over 80 percent of its private sector consisted of foreign labor. Since 2011, a wave of employment nationalization efforts has been mainly implemented through a comprehensive and strictly enforced industry and firm-specific quota system known as Nitaqat. This paper assesses the employment gains as well as the costs and unintended consequences resulting from Nitaqat and related policies between 2011 and 2017. We find that while job nationalization policies generated significant initial gains in Saudi employment and labor force participation, the effects were heterogeneous across workers, firms and sectors. Moreover, our analysis suggests that the resulting unintended consequences far outweighed the benefits over time generating a less cost-effective and productivity inhibiting labor market composition.
    Keywords: labor market, employment quotas, expatriate workers, workforce nationalization, Saudi Arabia, occupation, skills, labor productivity
    JEL: J21 J23 J24 J31 J42
    Date: 2021–07
  4. By: Mkadmi, Jamel Eddine; Bakari, Sayef; Msai, Achwak
    Abstract: The present paper aims to investigate the impact of tax policy on economic growth in Tunisia over the period 1995 - 2020, by using cointegration analysis and Autoregressive Distributed Lag (ARDL). To explain tax policy, we use tax revenue and degree of fiscal freedom. Empirical results mark that in the long run tax revenue and degree of fiscal freedom has a positive impact on economic growth, while the impact of tax revenues is positive. Our findings provide evidence that tax policy is seen as a source of growth in Tunisia. From these results, we extract several basic policy conclusions.
    Keywords: Tax Policy, Economic Growth, Tunisia, ARDL Model.
    JEL: C22 E62 O40 O47 O55
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Laudati, D.; Pesaran, M. H.
    Abstract: This paper considers how sanctions affected the Iranian economy using a novel measure of sanctions intensity based on daily newspaper coverage. It finds sanctions to have significant effects on exchange rates, inflation, and output growth, with the Iranian rial over-reacting to sanctions, followed up with a rise in inflation and a fall in output. In absence of sanctions, Iran’s average annual growth could have been around 4-5 per cent, as compared to the 3 per cent realized. Sanctions are also found to have adverse effects on employment, labor force participation, secondary and high-school education, with such effects amplified for females.
    Keywords: Newspaper coverage, identification of direct and indirect effects of sanctions, Iran output growth, exchange rate depreciation and inflation, labor force participation and employment, secondary education, and gender bias
    JEL: E31 E65 F43 F51 F53 O11 O19 O53
    Date: 2021–07–29
  6. By: Giorgia Casalone; Alessandra Michelangeli; John Östh; Umut Türk
    Abstract: During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, different countries adopted different strategies in order to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Regarding higher education, university studies were moved entirely to digital solutions in some countries, while other countries kept the universities open but restricted access. The sudden move to digital educational solutions affected students differently, and since different countries invented different mitigation strategies we got an opportunity to compare the effects of lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic on university students’ performance in Italy, Sweden and Turkey. We employ a difference-in-differences approach by exploiting the fact that Italy and Turkey experienced national lockdowns, while Sweden never applied nationwide mandatory restrictive measures. We use administrative data from universities in the three countries to estimate the probability to pass exams after the spread of COVID-19 pandemic (and the shift to distance education), with respect to the previous comparable period. We find that the pass rate decreased with the shift to online teaching. However, lockdown measures, especially if very restrictive as those applied in Italy, helped to compensate such negative effect. A possible explanation is that students took advantage of the huge increase in the time available for their studies, given the impossibility to carry out any activity outside the home.
    Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; Students’ outcomes; Student’s integration; Time-to-study; Difference-in-Differences.
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2021–07
  7. By: Ezell, Carson
    Abstract: There are significant geographical disparities in activism throughout the world with respect to supporting the Uyghur cause against human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region of China. This paper introduces the history of Chinese rule of the Xinjiang region and examines the ways in which the Uyghur diaspora has spread. It then explores how geographical, cultural, economic, and religious relationships between Xinjiang and segments of the international community impact attitudes and levels of activism in response to recent developments in Xinjiang, particularly focusing on the weaker responses in the Middle East relative to the rest of the Islamic community. It then proposes recommendations for regional stakeholders in Middle Eastern civil society to encourage greater support for the Uyghur community.
    Date: 2021–07–27
  8. By: Hulya Saygili; Aysun Turkvatan
    Abstract: The recent literature debates the significance of different regimes of inflation and trade linkages in explaining the relationship between inflation and alternative reference indicators. This paper contributes to this literature in several respects. First, it explores which states of the reference indicators are more related with low, normal or high regimes of inflation. Second, it takes globalization into account and performs the analysis for goods and services in the consumer basket classified with respect to their trade openness and content of intermediate imports: tradable/non-tradable items and items with low/high imported intermediate share. It applies Markov regime-switching models to determine the states of inflation and reference series then compare probability scores of matching different regimes of inflation and different regimes of reference indicators. Third, it computes Consumer Price Indices in tradable/non-tradable and low/high imported intermediate details for an emerging country, Turkey which distinguishes from the others with high trade openness, high global integration rate and implementation of inflation targeting regime.
    Keywords: Inflation regimes, Tradable/non-tradable inflation, Markov regime-switching models, Probability score analysis
    JEL: E31 F41 C11
    Date: 2021
  9. By: Erol Taymaz (Department of Economics, METU); Ebru Voyvoda (Department of Economics, METU); Kamil Yilmaz (Department of Economics, Koç University)
    Abstract: We analyze the behavior of plant-level real wages and productivity in Turkish manufacturing after the transition to democracy in 1987 and test whether wages under democracy causes productivity. The Turkish experience provides almost an experimental case: real wages in manufacturing increased by 120% in the 1987-93 period due to (exogenous) political changes, together with unprecedented total factor productivity and labor productivity growth. While these observations provide support for the “democracies pay higher wages” hypothesis, they also stimulate further evaluation of the consequences of such politically-motivated ‘exogenous’ wage hikes on economic performance. Our analysis shows that real wage hikes during the democratic transition forced firms to increase productivity to stay competitive. The findings also help explain why countries that undergo an orderly transition from autocracy to democracy may achieve rapid productivity gains.
    Keywords: Democratic transition, Real wages, Total factor productivity, Labor productivity, Labor unions, Efficiency wages, Long-run growth.
    JEL: D24 E24 J24 P16
    Date: 2021–07
  10. By: Estella Achinko (The Women’s Welfare Foundation (WoWF), Cameroon)
    Abstract: Recently, there has been a surge in female immigration from Africa to the Middle East, joining the global movement of migrants, while, constituting the dangers and feminist dilemmas posed by the rise in African women’s migration. Sub-Saharan African women face challenges as labor migrants in the process of leaving their home countries to the Middle East in search for job opportunities and to better their lives and families. At the center of these challenges have involved extreme dehumaniza-tion through slave labor, human trafficking, sexual exploitation while impacting their psychological and mental well being. This study analyzes the various factors that affect the migration and em-ployment of sub-Saharan African women domestic workers in the Middle East, based on both pull and push factors. The work further examines and shows how gender inequalities play a role in shaping women’s experiences in migration, and how States/governments in both the Middle East and Africa remain complicit in worsening women’s migratory experiences through laws that are be-ing established. This empirical based and theoretical discussion exposes the experiences of sub-Saharan African women through a transnational feminist lens and analysis. Also, it leads to a larger based discussion on transnational feminism and how we can construct a transnational platform that draws attention to the relationship between globalization and the international division of gendered labor. My overarching goal through this study is to draw attention to pursuing and expanding our discussions on feminist migration studies through diverse perspectives that are directed towards the empowerment of women in Africa in particular, and around the world in general.
    Keywords: Domestic labor, Gender, International Migration, Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, Women
    Date: 2021–05

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