nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2023‒02‒27
eight papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi
Université d’Ottawa

  1. For Inclusive and Fair COVID-19 Socio-Economic Recovery Measures in Lebanon: Focus Group Discussions Report of Findings By Dagher, Leila; abboud, ali; sidani, ola; Abi Younes, Oussama
  2. A unidimensional representation of multidimensional inequality, with an application to the Arab region By Mohamad A. Khaled; Paul Makdissiz; D.S. Prasada Rao; Myra Yazbeck
  3. Determinants of Inflation in Iran and Policies to Curb It By H. Elif Ture; Ali Reza Khazaei
  4. The Impacts of Matching Contributions on Retirement Savings: Evidence from a Quasi-Natural Experiment in Turkey By Sadettin Haluk Citci; Halit Yanikkaya
  5. Trade sanctions and informal employment By Ali Moghaddasi Kelishomi; Roberto Nisticò
  6. Short-term Finance, Long-term Effects: Theory and Evidence from Morocco By Kenza Benhima; Omar Chafik; Min Fang; Wenxia Tang
  7. Export diversification and economic growth in Kuwait: evidence from time series and field survey analyses By Stylianou Kalaitzi, Athanasia; Al-Awadhi, Ahmad; Al-Qudsi, Sulayman; Chamberlain, Trevor W.
  8. By Saib Mhamed; Mokhtari Fayçal

  1. By: Dagher, Leila; abboud, ali; sidani, ola; Abi Younes, Oussama
    Abstract: In many countries, early, large, and sustained policy responses to the pandemic were successful in protecting families. However, the Government of Lebanon’s (GoL) response to COVID-19 and the simultaneous crises the country is experiencing, in terms of socio-economic recovery measures has been very limited if not absent. This research work aims to analyze the impact of the lack of government actions and policies on the urban informal sector in Lebanon. The informal sector, which makes up a significant portion of the Lebanese economy (estimated to be at least 30% of GDP), is of interest to us as the very few measures taken by GoL such as tax grace periods were targeted at the formal sector. Led by the American University of Beirut (AUB) and funded by Oxfam, the project “For Inclusive and Fair COVID-19 Socio-Economic Recovery Measures in Lebanon, ” aims to assess the GoL decisions related to the pandemic and to influence the orientation of government decisions such that they take into consideration the impact on the most vulnerable population groups, especially those working in the informal sector.
    Keywords: lebanon; social protection; social assistance; social safety net; poverty; informal sector
    JEL: H12 H53 H55 I3
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Mohamad A. Khaled (School of Economics, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia); Paul Makdissiz (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, Canada); D.S. Prasada Rao (School of Economics, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia); Myra Yazbeck (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, Canada)
    Abstract: This paper links the literature on multidimensional inequality with Alkire and Fos- ter's (2011) counting approach to multidimensional poverty measurement. In doing so, it offers a multidimensional inequality framework applicable to any data used in applied multidimensional poverty analysis. The paper first introduces two new graphical tools: the multidimensional complaint incidence curve and the cumulative multidimensional complaint incidence curve. We then develop the dominance conditions associated with these two visual tools. These dominance conditions identify robust orderings of multi- dimensional inequality comparisons. It also provides the estimation and the statistical testing procedure linked with these dominance conditions. To show the applicability of the proposed approach, the paper offers an application of the theoretical conditions developed in the paper using two types of survey data for Arab countries. The em- pirical application shows that the method proposed in this paper also applies to the analysis of multidimensional inequality in developing countries with limited statistical information.
    Keywords: Multidimensional inequality, Stochastic Dominance, Multidimensional, complaint incidence curve, Cumulative multidimensional complaint curve
    JEL: D63 I31
    Date: 2023–01
  3. By: H. Elif Ture; Ali Reza Khazaei
    Abstract: High and volatile inflation has been an endemic economic and social issue in Iran that has contributed to rising poverty and social tensions. For policymakers to effectively address the inflation problem, it is critical to understand its causes. This paper seeks to contribute to this endeavor by applying a vector error-correction model to study the short- and long-term determinants of inflation in Iran over the past two decades and identify policy options to curb it. Using quarterly data spanning 2004-2021, it finds that money growth drives inflation only in the long term, while currency depreciation, fiscal deficits, and sanctions (proxied by oil exports) drive inflation both in the short- and the long term. In the absence of a removal of US trade and financial sanctions that could significantly boost the rial, budget deficits will have to be adjusted to contain inflation, albeit gradually to avoid hindering the recovery. Over the medium term, strengthening the inflation targeting framework could help improve monetary transmission and contain inflation durably.
    Keywords: Inflation; Iran; sanctions; inflation problem; growth drives inflation; inflation in Iran; predicted inflation; determinants of inflation; Oil exports; Nominal effective exchange rate; Oil prices; Government debt management; Global
    Date: 2022–09–09
  4. By: Sadettin Haluk Citci (Department of Economics, Gebze Technical University); Halit Yanikkaya (Department of Economics, Gebze Technical University)
    Abstract: Using a dataset containing information for more than 39 million contracts and a quasi-experimental design provided by national matching contribution policy reform in Turkey, we study the effects of matching contributions on saving outcomes and determine heterogeneities in responses to matching contribution. Differences-in-differences estimations show that the program leads to a substantial rise in contributions paid. The matching contribution policy raises contributions paid by 18 percent. Moreover, after 30 percent sharp rise in the match threshold, we examine the effect of the upsurge in threshold on the contributions paid. Overall, our results imply that the match threshold is binding and financial incentives significantly raise saving contributions.
    Keywords: saving incentives, matching contributions, pension saving
    JEL: H2 H3 D14
    Date: 2023–01–24
  5. By: Ali Moghaddasi Kelishomi; Roberto Nisticò
    Abstract: This paper examines how trade sanctions affect the allocation of workers across formal and informal employment. We analyse the case of the unexpected and unprecedented trade sanctions imposed on Iran in 2012. We use a difference-in-differences approach and compare the probability of working in the informal sector before and after 2012 for individuals employed in industries with pre-existing different levels of exposure to international trade.
    Keywords: International trade, Informal work, Labour market, Economic sanctions, Trade
    Date: 2023
  6. By: Kenza Benhima (Department of Economics, University of Lausanne); Omar Chafik (Bank Al-Maghrib); Min Fang (Department of Economics, University of Florida); Wenxia Tang (Department of Economics, University of Lausanne)
    Abstract: We study the effect of working capital loan guarantee programs on firm growth and their aggregate implications. Using a Moroccan firm-level dataset, we show that firms with guaranteed short-term loans (i) decrease their cash ratio, (ii) expand their production scale homogeneously and persistently, and that (iii) participation in the guarantee program is humped- shaped in firm size. We rationalize these findings in a heterogeneous-firm model with collateral and working capital constraints. First, we show that while relaxing collateral constraints on short-term loans always has a positive short-term effect on firm growth as firms reallocate cash to capital, persistent effects on firm scale depend on the existence and size of intertemporal distortions. Second, the combination of a flat fixed participation cost and size-dependent collateral constraints explain the non-monotonous participation rate. The interaction of the collateral constraint with these two frictions is crucial to determine the aggregate effect of a loan guarantee program. We parameterize the model to our Moroccan firm-level data. We show that the growth and welfare gains of expanding credit guarantee programs through a higher guaranteed amount or a lower participation cost are substantial, with the former generating relatively more growth while also increasing participation.
    JEL: E22 E27 E44 G28 G38
    Date: 2022–05
  7. By: Stylianou Kalaitzi, Athanasia; Al-Awadhi, Ahmad; Al-Qudsi, Sulayman; Chamberlain, Trevor W.
    Abstract: This study examines whether export diversification can foster sustained economic growth in Kuwait, using time series analysis for the period 1980–2019 and a field survey of one hundred Kuwait business leaders engaged in import and export of goods and services. The time series analysis reveals that there is no causality between export diversification and economic growth in the short-run. However, an indirect causality runs from export diversification to economic growth, and vice versa, via imports. In the long-run, no causality runs from export diversification to economic growth, but economic growth does cause export diversification. The field survey results indicate that there is a consensus among Kuwaiti CEOs that there are positive spillover effects from exports and imports to producers of local goods and services, and that imports are conductive to economic diversification.
    JEL: N0 L81
    Date: 2023–01–01
  8. By: Saib Mhamed (University Mustapha Stambouli [Mascara]); Mokhtari Fayçal (University Mustapha Stambouli [Mascara])
    Abstract: This paper examines the role of institutions and the mechanisms by which they influence economic growth and development according to the new institutional approach. To do so, we compare the quality of institutions and their efficiency, economic development and the extent of corruption between Algeria and selected countries in the MENA region.
    Keywords: Neo-institutional approach institutional quality economic development governance corruption. JEL Classification Codes: O1 D86 D02 D73, Neo-institutional approach, institutional quality, economic development, governance
    Date: 2022–12–04

This nep-ara issue is ©2023 by Paul Makdissi. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.