nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2022‒03‒07
eleven papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. A study of Tunisia’s leather and date sectors By Abdelaziz, Fatma; Ellis, Mia; Zhang, Xiaobo
  2. Rock el Casbah, Egyptian Arab Spring and women's empowerment By Olivier Bargain; Delphine Boutin; Hugues Champeaux
  3. Cluster-based development in Egypt: A study of external shocks to the leather and medicinal and aromatic plant sectors By Abdelaziz, Fatma; Abdelghany, Nancy; Ellis, Mia; William, Amy; Zhang, Xiaobo
  4. Parental Religiosity and Missing School-Girls in Turkey By Melike Kökkizil
  5. Double trouble: concurrently targeting water and electricity using normative messages in the Middle East By Ramli, Ukasha; Laffan, Kate
  6. Conditional Cash Transfers and the Learning Crisis : Evidence from Tayssir Scale-up in Morocco By Jules Gazeaud; Claire Ricard
  7. Prospects of fish supply-demand and its implications for food and nutrition security in Egypt By Tran, Nhuong; Chu, Long; Chan, Chin Yee; Peart, Jeffrey; Nasr-Allah, Ahmed M.; Charo-Karisa, Harrison
  8. Quantitative Data and the Economy By Pınar Ceylan; Metin M. Cosgel
  9. Determinants of Unemployment Status: Indicating College Majors that reduces the Unemployment Status in Lebanon By Halabi, Izdehar; kourani, Jana
  10. Collaborative innovation within SMEs in the wilaya of Bejaia By Ait Foudil
  11. Economic and productivity performance of tilapia and rohu carp polyculture systems in Bangladesh, Egypt, and Myanmar By Khor, Ling Yee; Tran, Nhuong; Shikuku, Kelvin Mashisia; Campos, Natalia; Zeller, Manfred

  1. By: Abdelaziz, Fatma; Ellis, Mia; Zhang, Xiaobo
    Abstract: Based on field visits, structured interviews, and reviews of the literature and secondary data, we examine major challenges facing the leather and date clusters in Tunisia. The challenges vary greatly between the clusters. The leather and footwear industry faces a decline in external demand. After the global economic crisis in the late 2000s and the Arab Spring in the early 2010s, the sector lost international competitiveness. To revitalize the sector, policies should be designed to expand markets for leather and footwear. Exploring trade agreement with the US, leveling the tariff rate for intermediate goods and shoes, attracting foreign direct investment, and improving leather quality are among potential policy options. Implementing these policies will require coordination among different government agencies and private sector stakeholders. Besides demand challenges, lack of water treatment also is a major challenge facing tanneries across Tunisia. The international demand for Tunisian dates has been very strong. Most of the major challenges are on the supply side, such as value chain coordination, inadequate water supply, labor shortages, diseases, lack of new varieties, and limited value addition. The supply-side policy options include diversifying varieties and expanding into date derivative and palm waste products, promoting labor-saving mechanization and water-saving irrigation technologies, and improving coordination along the value chain.
    Keywords: TUNISIA, AFRICA, NORTH AFRICA, value chains, clusters, rural areas, markets, livestock, farmers, abattoirs, leather, trade, exports, technology, dates, slaughterhouses, tanneries, shoe manufacturers, tradeoff,
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Olivier Bargain; Delphine Boutin; Hugues Champeaux (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne)
    Abstract: In Egypt, the Arab Spring has been a massive popular revolution, very unpredictable and characterised by an active participation of women. This revolution has moved forward until the households, where women exposed to the revolution have raised their bargaining power.
    Abstract: En Egypte, le Printemps Arabe fut celui d'une révolution populaire, imprévisible, caractérisée par une participation active des femmes. Cette révolution s'est poursuivie jusque dans les ménages, où les femmes exposées aux évènements révolutionnaires ont accru leur pouvoir de décision.
    Keywords: Genre,Révolution,Printemps arabe,Egypte
    Date: 2020–06
  3. By: Abdelaziz, Fatma; Abdelghany, Nancy; Ellis, Mia; William, Amy; Zhang, Xiaobo
    Abstract: The Egyptian government has prioritized the idea of cluster-based development-that is, the geographic concentration of specialized firms, such as in this case, those producing similar or related products. The establishment of such clusters, however, presents significant challenges, bottlenecks, and obstacles. Based on primary field work, this paper focuses on two case studies of the impacts of shocks on business clusters. The first study involved the relocation of an established leather cluster from Cairo to a newly created industrial park, Robbiki Leather City, which was promoted by Egypt’s Ministry of Trade and Industry. Although the relocation partly solved the existing issues of water contamination, new challenges emerged relating to increased production and transportation costs, and unforeseen impacts on the community. The second study assessed the short-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a business cluster producing medicinal and aromatic plants. Overall the MAPs sector was resilient to the outbreak and there are opportunities to offset any negative impacts of the pandemic by taking advantage of new markets for Egyptian MAPs stemming from supply disruptions in other countries; increased global demand for MAPs due to their pharmacological and health properties; and increased international demand for organically grown MAPs. Findings indicate that it is essential for governments to develop policy responses to the challenges-and especially barriers-to the development of business clusters, while simultaneously supporting and creating incentives for the cooperation, entrepreneurship, and collective action needed for business clusters to thrive and grow. As anticipated, challenges and obstacles-whether overarching or in response to shocks-are unique to specific sectors, contexts, and times, and hence need to be dealt with as an ongoing facilitation process.
    Keywords: EGYPT, ARAB COUNTRIES, MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA, AFRICA, policies, economic development, Coronavirus, coronavirus disease, Coronavirinae, COVID-19, trade, economic shock, leather industry, pharmaceutical industry, cluster-based development, medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs)
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Melike Kökkizil (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy)
    Abstract: Does parents' religiosity affect their female offspring's education and other life-long outcomes? I address this question by focusing on Turkey and exploiting Ramadan as a quasi-natural experiment for increased active religiosity. I find that the occurrence of Ramadan at the enrollment time in primary schools reduces girls' chance to access primary education. This result arises from the salience of traditional gender norms that religiosity engenders. I further show that parental religiosity at the primary school enrollment has persistent effects on females' labor market outcomes. They become less likely to participate in the labor market, less likely to be income-earners, and less likely to work in professional jobs. Instead, increased religiosity at the critical age of schooling increases fertility and the probability of women being out of the labor force due to household responsibilities. These results are robust to di erent specifications and an alternative empirical strategy that uses average daylight hours during Ramadan in the year of primary school enrollment as a shock to religiosity.
    Keywords: Islam, Gender Equality, Ramadan, Social Norms, Illegal Behavior.
    JEL: Z12 J16 I24 I25 J12 J13 D91 J12 J13 K38 K42
    Date: 2022–02
  5. By: Ramli, Ukasha; Laffan, Kate
    Abstract: Personalised normative messages have been shown to be effective at encouraging both electricity and separately water savings. As use of this approach to promote resource savings becomes increasingly widespread, an important question is whether providing such feedback on consumption of the two resources together can yield reductions in both areas. In a field experiment with over 200,000 households in the Middle East, we send households personalised normative messages regarding both their water and electricity consumption on a monthly basis. This intervention saw a statistically significant reduction of around 1.2% for electricity but not for water consumption. Furthermore, we test different ways of concurrently presenting normative messages of both water and energy, including presenting it as a combined eco score. Local treatment effects of these were around 1.2% reduction. Our findings contribute towards nexus thinking around how (not) to concurrently achieve energy and water savings using normative feedback.
    Keywords: eco-feedback; energy usage; pro-environmental; social norms; water usage
    JEL: L81
    Date: 2022–06–01
  6. By: Jules Gazeaud; Claire Ricard (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne)
    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: Learning outcomes,Conditional cash Transfers,Morocco
    Date: 2021–02
  7. By: Tran, Nhuong; Chu, Long; Chan, Chin Yee; Peart, Jeffrey; Nasr-Allah, Ahmed M.; Charo-Karisa, Harrison
    Abstract: Aquaculture plays an increasingly important role in meeting the rising global demand for fish fuelled by economic and demographic growth. However, in many middle income countries, the growth of aquaculture is constrained by rising labor costs, limited input supply, environmental concerns, and infectious diseases. In this paper, we developed a multi species, multi sector equilibrium model and applied it to the fishery sector of Egypt, a leading aquaculture producer in Africa, to examine these barriers. Projection results show that rising wage rates would slow down the growth of labour-intensive aquaculture compared to those that use relatively less labour. The demand for feed, seed inputs and water use for aquaculture would substantially increase. The results also show that disease outbreaks would possibly affect production sectors via output reduction and also consumers via increases in fish price. Our findings suggest that stabilising the prices of feed and seed, investments in disease control and input use efficiency improvement technologies, including water use, are important while the overall effectiveness of tax instruments is modest. Though calibrated to Egypt, our approach can be applied to other middle size national aquaculture industries.
    Date: 2022–01–12
  8. By: Pınar Ceylan (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin); Metin M. Cosgel (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: Economic historians of the Ottoman empire have recently made great progress in the study of quantitative data and the economy. They have used data from various sources, including tax registers, court records, and other types of surveys and financial accounts. Applying state of the art analytical techniques to the data, they have examined numerous interesting questions regarding the Ottoman economy, population, and institutions in regions ranging from Anatolia and the Balkans to Syria, Palestine, and Egypt in the south, Georgia in the east, and Hungary and Poland in the north. We offer a basic introduction to the literature by surveying important developments since the beginning of the twenty-first century. The survey shows that this area of research has become a mature subfield of both Ottoman history and economic history.
    JEL: N01 N13 N15 N23 N25 N33 N35 N43 N45 N53 N55 N63 N65 N73 N75 N83 N85 N93 N95 O52 O53
    Date: 2022–02
  9. By: Halabi, Izdehar; kourani, Jana
    Abstract: Unemployment status is considered one of the divisive economic issues. This paper aims to examine the factors such as age, gender, geographical area, educational level, college major and work experience that affect unemployment status in Lebanon. As well as predicting college majors that reduces unemployment in Lebanon. Using the survey method to collect data, and after refining the questionnaires, a total of 731 answers from different Lebanese areas were selected for this study. This study found that individuals with higher educational levels and higher work experience are set to have higher chances to be employed. Another finding is that males have more opportunities to get hired. With respect to the geographical area, citizens that lives in the capital Beirut, have more chances to enter the labor market. Individuals between the age of 24 and 37 have higher chances to get recruited. By studying the college majors, this study found that individuals that have business management, computer science, art, health, nursing, nutrition and psychology as a college major could guarantee a job opportunity more than individuals with other majors. The findings would help students in choosing a college major that helps them find a job opportunity after graduating.
    Keywords: unemployment status; Education level; College major; work experience; Demographic factors; Lebanon.
    JEL: I2 J1 J6
    Date: 2021–12–20
  10. By: Ait Foudil (Université Abderrahmane Mira [Béjaïa])
    Abstract: The subject of this paper is the study of collaborative innovation in the context of Algerian SMEs. Based on the SMEs of the wilaya of Bejaia, this study consists of examining their potential to collaborate with each other and with other actors to innovate. To do this, a sample of 60 SMEs was the subject of a field survey. Using the data collected, we were able to determine the factors that prevent SMEs from practicing collaborative innovation, including the lack of financial, human and material resources.
    Abstract: L'objet de ce papier est l'étude de l'innovation collaborative dans le contexte des PME algériennes. En se basant sur les PME de la wilaya de Bejaia, cette étude consiste à examiner leur potentiel à collaborer entre elles et avec d'autres acteurs pour innover. Pour ce faire, un échantillon de 60 PME a fait l'objet d'une enquête de terrain. L'exploitation des données recueillies nous a permis de déterminer les facteurs qui empêchent les PME à pratiquer l'innovation collaborative, entre autre, l'absence de ressources financières, humaines et matérielles.
    Keywords: Bejaia,SME,Knowledge,Cooperation,Collaborative innovation,PME,Connaissances,Coopération,Innovation collaborative
    Date: 2021
  11. By: Khor, Ling Yee; Tran, Nhuong; Shikuku, Kelvin Mashisia; Campos, Natalia; Zeller, Manfred
    Abstract: Polyculture of fish is a common pond-based aquaculture system practiced by small-scale producers in developing countries to improve input use efficiency, and increase productivity and profits. We conduct a cross-country comparison to examine whether the economic and productivity benefits are seen in data of 1,651 ponds from 1,307 fish farming households in three countries: Bangladesh, Egypt, and Myanmar. Among these ponds, polyculture is the prevailing system, as it is practiced in 66% of them. The surveys of these households were completed in 2019. We use propensity score matching to match the ponds based on household and pond characteristics, so that ponds are compared with other similar ponds. Results indicate that the aquaculture revenue and profit of polyculture ponds are higher than those of monoculture ponds by US$4,993 and US$6,985, respectively, per hectare per cycle. The increase is also observed in the systems of tilapia polyculture and rohu polyculture, which are the two most common systems among the sampled farmers. The increase for rohu polyculture at US$7,992 in revenue and US$9,366 in profit per hectare per cycle is higher than the increase for tilapia polyculture at US$4,649 and US$6,649, respectively. However, tilapia polyculture farmers save more harvested fish for household consumption, by 72 kg per cycle, than farmers of other systems. The higher profits for general polyculture, tilapia polyculture, and rohu polyculture are statistically significant after controlling for country-level factors and have high critical value of gamma in the Rosenbaum sensitivity analysis, indicating that these results are robust. This analysis from fish farming households complements the results from pond experiments and can help to inform decision-making in aquaculture policy and training.
    Date: 2022–01–24

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