nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2022‒05‒02
ten papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. A Tale of Parallel Processes of Gender (In-)Equality: How Big Is the Glass Ceilings for Mena Women? By Doruk, Ömer Tuğsal; Pastore, Francesco
  2. Chinese investment in Turkey: the Belt and Road Initiative, rising expectations and ground realities By Gürel, Burak; Kozluca, Mina
  3. The validity of the export-led growth hypothesis: some evidence from the GCC By Kalaitzi, Athanasia Stylianou; Chamberlain, Trevor William
  4. Monitoring Poverty in a Data Deprived Environment: The Case of Lebanon By Paul Makdissi; Walid Marrouch; Myra Yazbeck
  5. Multidimensional Poverty in Morocco: An Exploratory Spatial Approach By Eduardo A Haddad; Inacio F Araujo, Zineb Sijelmassi Idrissi, Chanelle Ihezagire, Youness El Bouazzaoui
  6. Gendered Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Transitioning from University to Labor Market: Evidence from Turkey By Demirel-Derebasoglu, Merve; Okten, Cagla
  7. Improving social protection for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt: An overview of international practices By Marina Andrade; Lucas Sato; Maya Hammad
  8. On not being Dubai: infrastructures of urban cultural policy in Istanbul & Beirut By Centner, Ryan
  9. The state of social insurance for agricultural workers in the Near East and North Africa and challenges for expansion By Lucas Sato
  10. Barriers to university–industry collaboration in an emerging market: firm-level evidence from Turkey By Kleiner-Schaefer, Timo; Schaefer, Kerstin J.

  1. By: Doruk, Ömer Tuğsal (Adana Alpaslan Türkeş Science and Technology University); Pastore, Francesco (Università della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli)
    Abstract: In all the MENA countries considered in this study, namely Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia, there has been a significant decrease in the female labor force participation rate over the last two decades. Moreover, existing analysis and the anecdotal evidence suggest that it may be problematic for women to reach a white-collar high skill job, also in the more protected public sector, though there is very little empirical evidence on this. By using repeated cross-sections of individuals covering periods of up to 20 years (for Egypt), we examine the evolution of the glass ceiling problem for women resorting to the matching approach, which, to our knowledge, has never been used in this field. Instead of looking at the gender gap along the wage distribution, we assess the probability to reach the top professions of manager, professional and technician or associate professional. We find a sizeable glass ceiling effect in all the countries considered. It is a persistent phenomenon across all the industrial sectors and the years considered. The present study sheds new light on the glass ceiling effect for woman in the MENA countries, which is relevant also for other countries.
    Keywords: glass ceilings, woman employment, labor force, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia
    JEL: J16 J71 K38 O53 P52
    Date: 2022–03
  2. By: Gürel, Burak; Kozluca, Mina
    Abstract: Turkey's inclusion in the Belt and Road Initiative in 2015 has raised the expectations of Turkish businesses and government concerning growth-generating investment from China. Existing studies on Chinese investments in Turkey lack sufficient data on the volume of investment, types of firms, and sectoral composition. Based on a novel dataset of Chinese investments in Turkey, this article contributes to filling this gap. We show that although Chinese investment in Turkey has increased considerably in recent years, it remains quite modest compared with investments from the West. Moreover, despite the expanding activities of Chinese technology companies, more than half of Chinese investment in Turkey consists of low value-added manufacturing, extraction of raw materials, and marketing of Chinese products. Overall, the developmental potential of Chinese investment in Turkey has not been radically different from other countries' investments.
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2022–01–28
  3. By: Kalaitzi, Athanasia Stylianou; Chamberlain, Trevor William
    Abstract: This study investigates the validity of the export-led growth hypothesis (ELG) in five GCC countries, namely, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The study uses an augmented production function and annual time series data over the period 1975-2016. For the estimation of the models, the Johansen cointegration test is employed to test the existence of a long-run relationship between growth and exports. In addition, the multivariate Granger causality test in a vector autoregressive model framework and a modified version of the Wald test are applied to examine the direction of the short-run and long-run causality respectively. The empirical results provide evidence to support the validity of the ELG hypothesis in the short-run for the UAE, while the converse is true for Bahrain. In addition, a bi-directional causality exists between exports and growth in the case of Kuwait. In the long-run, the validity of the ELG is confirmed in the case of Bahrain, while economic growth causes exports in the case of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
    Keywords: causality; economic growth; exports; GCC
    JEL: C32 F43 O47
    Date: 2021–02–17
  4. By: Paul Makdissi (University of Ottowa); Walid Marrouch (Lebanese American University); Myra Yazbeck (University of Ottawa)
    Abstract: This paper is motivated by the dearth of statistical capacity in the Middle East North Africa region and the unprecedented economic collapse in Lebanon. It proposes and illustrates a data augmentation approach to conduct poverty analysis in the absence of traditional sources of information on income distribution. Our approach shows that it is possible to exploit alternative data sources to conduct the much-needed poverty analysis. Building on available data augmentation techniques, we first recover the entire income distribution from the available interval data. Then we account for nonresponse and estimate the bounds of the set of admissible cumulative distributions of income. Finally, we analyze poverty dynamics using first-order dominance tests on the bounds of admissible cumulative distributions set. To illustrate the importance of the proposed approach, we apply this methodology to Lebanese data, provide a picture of poverty dynamics, and provide insights into the politico-economic dynamics preceding the economic collapse.
    Keywords: poverty dynamics, stochastic dominance, data deprivation
    JEL: I31 I32 O15
    Date: 2022–04
  5. By: Eduardo A Haddad; Inacio F Araujo, Zineb Sijelmassi Idrissi, Chanelle Ihezagire, Youness El Bouazzaoui
    Abstract: In spite of the overall decrease in poverty in Morocco in the recent past, the pace of change did not affect regions equally. Poorer provinces faced slower reductions, increasing the relative gap in poverty indicators. In this paper, we explore the results of a multidimensional poverty indicator produced by the High Commission for Planning (HCP), the Moroccan official statistical agency, for the period 2004-2014. The Multidimensional Poverty Index (IPM) allows investigating the spatial aspects of different dimensions of poverty in the country. We find a clear spatial process underlying the distribution of the IPM. Moreover, the analysis undertaken at the province level suggests a persistent poverty hot spot in the northeast part of the country associated with poor infrastructure. Other poverty areas are more heavily associated with low quality of public services, particularly education and health. We provide a typology of geographically targeted sectoral policies, showing that there is no single recipe for all regions, since structural features matter.
    Keywords: Spatial analysis; Multidimensional poverty; Policy targeting; Morocco
    JEL: I30 R11
    Date: 2022–03–24
  6. By: Demirel-Derebasoglu, Merve (Bilkent University); Okten, Cagla (Bilkent University)
    Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic led to unprecedented disruptions in the labor market. Turkey implemented a worker dismissal ban to mitigate the adverse effects, effective from April 2020 to June 2021. The pandemic and unveiled measures put pressure against recent university graduates' successful transition to the labor market, who are already vulnerable to labor market shocks due to a dramatic increase in their number in the last decade. In this paper, we examine the gendered impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and related employment protection policies on the labor market outcomes of recent university graduates. We find that both males and females are less likely to be employed during the pandemic year, with more pronounced employment losses for females. While gender differences in employment arise from females' high skill employment losses, becoming discouraged workers and staying out of the labor force to invest in self-education led to higher inactivity for females.
    Keywords: COVID-19, employment, gender, employment protection policies, Turkey
    JEL: I14 J21 J16 J08
    Date: 2022–03
  7. By: Marina Andrade (IPC-IG); Lucas Sato (IPC-IG); Maya Hammad (IPC-IG)
    Keywords: social protection; migration; governance; Egypt
    Date: 2021–04
  8. By: Centner, Ryan
    Abstract: This paper compares how Istanbul and Beirut both attempt to underline their cultural and developmental uniqueness today in contrast to a metonymic menace — Dubai, standing in for spectacular yet supposedly culture-less Gulf cities. Even amid their own speculative construction frenzies that threaten local heritage, Turkish and Lebanese city-shapers assert theirs are “real” cities because they have “civilization” and “history.” By addressing their own efforts to build, defend, or oppose physical infrastructures related to local urban culture, Istanbullus and Beirutis rely on and reassert strategic, phatic discourses that frequently reference Gulf cities as counterpoint. Analysis focuses on how each city crafts a distinctive urban profile via civilizational appeals to historic senses of culture, inflecting infrastructural developments related to bridging (Istanbul) and bordering (Beirut). Historical truisms are deployed with marked flexibility to showcase these cities as “not Dubai.” This study offers lessons on the particular worlding of Middle Eastern cities and the role of discourses in the material-symbolic infrastructure of implicit urban cultural policy.
    Keywords: Istanbul; Beirut; Dubai; infrastructure; discourse; heritage; development
    JEL: R14 J01
    Date: 2020–10–05
  9. By: Lucas Sato (IPC-IG)
    Keywords: social protection; social insurance; rural development; agricultural workers; Near East and North Africa
    Date: 2021–03
  10. By: Kleiner-Schaefer, Timo; Schaefer, Kerstin J.
    Abstract: University-industry collaborations (UICs) are one of the main sources of external knowledge and technologies for industrial firms, particularly in the context of emerging markets (EMs) and firm development. It is thus highly relevant to identify potential barriers internal to the firm as well as in the regional innovation system that might prevent firms from using UICs for innovation, in particular in an EM context. In order to address this issue, we conduct a firm-level study of the R&D-related segment of the manufacturing industry in Istanbul. Logistic regression analysis is used to test the effect of potential barriers on using UICs for innovative activities. With this approach, we are able to identify barriers that prevent innovation-related UICs and thus form a bottleneck to collaborations in the first place. Our findings show that lack of information about UIC opportunities as well as lack of financial support for UICs are the most relevant barriers that inhibit firms’ usage of UICs for innovation. This firm-level evidence points out the importance of university technology transfer offices in regional innovation systems and for fruitful UICs. We further find that administrative barriers have no significant effect, while barriers related to trust and skill matching with scientific partners even have a reverse effect to what we would have expected from the literature. This finding might point towards an effect of perceived versus deterring barriers that has been observed in innovation studies before and might be relevant for studying UICs as well.
    Keywords: barrier; emerging market; innovation; research and development; Turkey; university–industry collaboration
    JEL: O30 O32 O38
    Date: 2022–02–04

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