nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2022‒03‒14
six papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. Consequences of a Massive Refugee Influx on Firm Performance and Market Structure By Yusuf Emre Akgündüz; Yusuf Kenan Bağır; Seyit Mümin Cılasun; Murat Güray Kırdar
  2. Spatial Wage Curves for Formal and Informal Workers in Turkey By Baltagi, Badi H.; Baskaya, Yusuf Soner
  3. The Information and Communication Technologies-Economic Growth Nexus in Tunisia: A Cross-Section Dynamic Panel Approach By Mounir Dahmani; Mohamed Mabrouki; Adel Ben Youssef
  4. How Materialism Shapes the Effectiveness of Financial Literacy Messages: A Cross‐Cultural Perspective By Jamel Khenfer
  5. Impact of ethical practices on small and medium enterprises’ performance in Saudi Arabia: An Partial Least Squares-Structural Equation Modeling analysis By Abalala, Turki Shjaan; Islam, Mazharul; Alam, Md. Mahmudul
  6. The broadband diffusion process and its determinants in Algeria: A simultaneous estimation By Bacha, Radia; Gasmi, Farid

  1. By: Yusuf Emre Akgündüz (Yusuf Emre Akgündüz); Yusuf Kenan Bağır (Yusuf Kenan Bağır); Seyit Mümin Cılasun (Seyit Mümin Cılasun); Murat Güray Kırdar (Murat Güray Kırdar)
    Abstract: This study combines an administrative dataset of the full population of Turkish firms and the setting of the sudden mass migration of Syrian refugees to Turkey to identify the effect of migrants on firm performance and market structure. We find that economic activity increases in hosting regions, but negative implications exist for long-term productivity. As a result of the migrant shock, exiting firms expand and new firms are established; however, the resulting market structure shows less concentration. Quantitatively, a 10 percentage-point rise in the migrant-to-native ratio increases firm sales by 3.8% and the number of active firms by 5.8%, but reduces firms’ average market share by 4.1%. We further document an increase in the export volume and variety of exported products to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. In addition, a decline in export prices is observed, implying a rise in the competitiveness of exporting firms. We also uncover evidence for an effect of migrants’ skills and networks on exports, as the export value and variety of products to the MENA region increase more than those to the EU region while the prices of products exported to the two regions show similar changes.
    Keywords: refugees, firm performance, market structure, sales, informality, exports, migrant business networks.
    JEL: J15 J61 F16 L11
    Date: 2022–02
  2. By: Baltagi, Badi H. (Syracuse University); Baskaya, Yusuf Soner (University of Glasgow)
    Abstract: This paper estimates spatial wage curves for formal and informal workers in Turkey using individual level data from the Turkish Household Labor Force Survey (THLFS) provided by TURKSTAT for the period 2008-2014. Unlike previous studies on wage curves for formal and informal workers, we extend the analysis to allow for spatial effects. We also consider household characteristics that would affect the selection into formal employment, informal employment, and non-employment. We find that the spatial wage curve relation holds both for formal and informal workers in Turkey for a variety of specifications. In general, the wages of informal workers are more sensitive to the unemployment rates of the same region and other regions than formal workers. We find that accounting for the selection into formal and informal employment affects the magnitudes but not the significance of the spatial wage curves for the formal and informal workers with the latter always being larger in absolute value than that for formal workers.
    Keywords: spatial wage curve, spatial weights, regional labor markets, informal labor markets
    JEL: C21 J30 J60
    Date: 2022–02
  3. By: Mounir Dahmani (Université de Gafsa); Mohamed Mabrouki (Université de Gafsa); Adel Ben Youssef (UCA - Université Côte d'Azur)
    Abstract: The rapid diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICT) is becoming an important determinant of national economic growth. This paper examines the relationship between development of ICT and economic growth in Tunisia based on a sector analysis. We employ the common correlated effect mean group (CCEMG) and augmented mean group (AMG) methods and annual panel data for 1997 to 2017, to explore the relationship between ICT diffusion and economic growth in Tunisia. Our sector analysis shows that the effect of ICT on value added is heterogenous depending on the sector of activity and provides three main findings. First, in some sectors such as financial services, transport, building and civil engineering, hotel and restaurant services and other market services ICT have a positive and significant impact on value added. These sectors benefit from use of ICT. Second, in some sectors such as trade and various manufacturing industries, ICT has a negative and significant impact on value added. These sectors need to be well organized and well managed to avoid domination by informalities. Third, in some sectors such as public administration there is a productivity paradox and despite huge investment in ICT they have no impact on value added due to the absence of a deep organizational change.
    Keywords: ICT diffusion index,economic growth,cross-sectional,dynamic panel,CCEMG,AMG
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Jamel Khenfer (Zayed University)
    Abstract: This cross-cultural experiment (N = 1,000) shows that messages designed to promote financial literacy are differently effective among U.S. and Arab consumers depending on the salience of materialistic thoughts at the time of exposure. Among U.S. consumers, financial literacy messages increased savings intention by heightening the importance of saving when materialistic thoughts were salient but had no impact otherwise. This is consistent with existing research which has largely focused on WEIRD countries (Western, Educated, Industrial, Rich, Democratic; Henrich, Heine, & Norenzayan, 2010). However, among Arab consumers (data collected in the United Arab Emirates), we found that financial optimism was a key construct to explain savings behaviors. Specifically, our results show that financial literacy messages lower levels of financial optimism, and thus, increase savings intention at baseline levels. When materialistic thoughts are salient, our results suggest that Arab consumers prefer spending in the presence of financial literacy messages because having materialistic thoughts heightens financial optimism when one is assured that acquiring financial knowledge and skills guarantees one's financial success.
    Keywords: Arab,cross-cultural,financial literacy,financial optimism,materialism,saving,Middle East,non-WEIRD population
    Date: 2022–01–10
  5. By: Abalala, Turki Shjaan; Islam, Mazharul; Alam, Md. Mahmudul (Universiti Utara Malaysia)
    Abstract: Purpose: The real challenge of establishing and maintaining business ethics in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) has become a global issue. We investigated the driving forces of ethical practices (EP) and its contribution to the overall performance in businesses. Design/methodology/approach: This study collected primary data from 117 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Saudi Arabia by using a well-designed questionnaire survey amongst SMEs and draw inferences using the structural equation modelling (SEM) analysis. Findings/results: Findings suggested that top management’s characters and ethical commitment, ethical policy and culture of the organisation and external pressure positively influence the ethical practice in the organisation, which leads to a significant positive impact on both financial and non-financial performances of SMEs. But the level of fraud and corruption and the level of monitoring show a mixed moderating effect on the relationships between ethical practice in the organisation and business performance. Practical implications: The findings of this research will help SMEs’ administrators and managers, as well as the companies to instil workplace ethics, which manages the level of business performance. The policymakers and other relevant authorities can also utilise the outcomes of this study to develop ethical policy guidelines and frameworks to improve SMEs’ competitiveness and sustain their companies in the long run. Originality/value: The unique feature of this research is that both the causes and effects of EP are considered in one integrated model. This gives a more vivid picture of the ethical issue in a business organisation.
    Date: 2021–11–30
  6. By: Bacha, Radia; Gasmi, Farid
    Abstract: Digital transformation engendered by ICT advances, most notably broadband, pertains to many sectors that are known to drive economic development. This paper seeks to highlight market structure, institutional, and socio-economic factors that influence broadband adoption in Algeria. We apply to a novel 2003-2019 database a procedure that simultaneously, instead of sequentially as typically done, selects the best among the Bass, Gompertz, and Logistic innovation diffusion models estimated with Nonlinear Least Squares and searches for significant determinants of broadband adoption. We find that the data fits reasonably well the Gompertz and Logistic distributions with the latter outperforming the former not only from a statistical standpoint but also and more importantly for it captures Algeria's significant delay in the diffusion of broadband due to the social turmoil of the 1990 years’ decade. We identify some policy levers for fostering ICT applications. We find that the degree of concentration has a U-shaped impact on broadband adoption and that institutional quality, mobile broadband introduction, and tertiary education enrollment have a positive impact. These findings suggest that broadband adoption in Algeria can be expected to gain from encouraging entry with differentiated broadband services through higher-generation access technologies, improving regulatory governance, and enhancing digital literacy through higher education.
    Keywords: Broadband,;Digital transformation,;Innovation diffusion models; Regulation; Competition.
    JEL: L51 L86 L96 O2 O14 O33 O55
    Date: 2022–02

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