nep-ara New Economics Papers
on MENA - Middle East and North Africa
Issue of 2023‒12‒04
seven papers chosen by
Paul Makdissi, Université d’Ottawa

  1. Strengthening the resilience of the Moroccan labour market in the face of crises: towards the design of appropriate structural transformations. By Rachid Elkachradi; Rim Aitbouziane
  2. Blood and oil in the Orient: A 2023 update By Bichler, Shimshon; Nitzan, Jonathan
  3. Morocco: Request for an Arrangement Under the Resilience and Sustainability Facility-Press Release; Staff Report; Supplement; Staff Statement; and Statement by the Executive Director for Morocco By International Monetary Fund
  4. A Study of Factors Affecting Apartment Prices in Gated Communities: The Case of Cairo, Egypt By Aly Karam; Robert Simons; Amad Almsaodi; Samuel Owusu Agyemang
  5. Breaking Barriers: Investigating the Effects of 100% Foreign Ownership on Business Entry in Dubai By Rashad, Ahmed
  6. Incorporating Cultural Context into Safe-Water Interventions: Experimental Evidence from Egypt By Giulia Buccione; Martín Rossi
  7. Tokenization of Real Estate: A Study on Land Tokenization in Turkey By Göksu Sabuncuolu; Kerem Yavuz Arslanli

  1. By: Rachid Elkachradi (National School of Business and Management, Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco); Rim Aitbouziane (Faculty of Legal, Economic and Social Sciences, Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco)
    Abstract: Over the past decade, the Moroccan labour market has seen many positive developments according to the World Bank's Morocco's Jobs Landscape report. However, there are some structural problems that deeply hamper the inclusion and dynamics of the labour market in Morocco, namely the slowdown in job creation and the shortage of jobs in the industrial sector. In this respect, Morocco has put in place important economic and legal measures to design a dynamic and inclusive labour market, in order to respond to societal challenges such as the fight against poverty and precariousness, the regularisation of informal economic activities, and the protection of women and youth against social discrimination.Despite the efforts to make the Moroccan market more dynamic and resilient, several structural dysfunctions persist, negatively impacting the pace of change. At this stage, the recurrent crises of recent years, notably the covid pandemic19, have shown the great fragility of the Moroccan labour market, which calls into question all the reforms adopted by Moroccan decision-makers to strengthen the resilience of this market. Restructuring the Moroccan labour market is an urgent, necessary and complex process that requires the coordination of several stakeholders, including governments, businesses and workers.
    Keywords: Moroccan labour market, Resilience, Dysfunctions, Structural transformations, Agility
    Date: 2023–08–17
  2. By: Bichler, Shimshon; Nitzan, Jonathan
    Abstract: The 2023 war between Hamas and Israel elicits many different explanations. As with previous regional hostilities, here too, the pundits and commentators have numerous overlapping processes to draw on - from the struggle between the Zionist and Palestinian national movements, to the deep hostility between the Rabbinate and Islamic churches, to the many conflicts between Israel and Arab/Muslim states, the contentions between the declining superpowers (United States and Russia) and their rising contenders (like China, Iran, Turkey), the rift between western and eastern cultures, and so on. The experts also highlight the growing importance of local militias - from Jewish settler organizations, to ISIS, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, the Houthi movement, the Wagner Group and Kadyrovites Chechens - groups that operate under different political, religious and criminal guises, with varying financing and support from local, governmental and international sources to proxy and/or challenge different states. Our article does not deal with these specificities. Instead of focusing on the particular and unique, we concentrate on the general and universal. Concretely, we argue that the current war between Hamas and Israel shares an important common denominator with prior clashes in the region - namely, that it constitutes an energy conflict and that it correlates with the differential nature of capital accumulation. We coined these two terms in the late 1980s and have studied their underpinnings and implications for the Middle East and beyond ever since. Our purpose in this paper is to highlight our theoretical arguments, update some of our key empirical evidence and show how both the theory and findings apply to the current Hamas-Israel war.
    Keywords: capital as power, corporation, differential accumulation, dominant capital, energy conflicts, Gaza, Hamas, Israel, Middle East, oil, Palestine, prices, Technodollar-Pharmadollar Coalition, profit, war, Weapondollar-Petrodollar Coalition
    Date: 2023
  3. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: Climate change is both a major threat and a source of opportunities for Morocco’s development. On one hand, Morocco is one of the world’s most water-stressed countries, and water scarcity is a serious constraint to the country’s ambition to transition to a new model of development. The authorities are planning to boost investment in water infrastructure, but this should be complemented by demand management reforms that bring the price of water closer to its actual cost and induce a shift in consumption behavior. On the other hand, Morocco can take advantage of its abundant competitive renewable energy resources to reduce its still high dependence on fossil fuels. Decarbonizing the energy matrix would require significant investments in renewable energy, which should be largely shouldered by the private sector. It would also require deep regulatory reforms, including further efforts to liberalize the electricity sector. Fully exploiting this renewable energy potential could reduce Morocco´s reliance on imported fuels, help Moroccan firms’ competitiveness in neighboring markets that are embracing a green energy transition (most notably the European Union), and help create jobs. The strong earthquake that hit Morocco on September 8, exerting a heavy toll in terms of human lives and physical damages, highlights the importance of strengthening the country’s preparedness and resilience to natural disasters, including from climate change.
    Date: 2023–10–27
  4. By: Aly Karam; Robert Simons; Amad Almsaodi; Samuel Owusu Agyemang
    Abstract: The Greater Cairo Region (GCR) is considered by Statista (2021) as the twelfth urban agglomeration in the world with a population of 21 million. According to Aqarmap, there are around 800 gated communities in the GCR with around 20, 000 listings currently for sale. A hedonic regression model is used to determine the factors affecting the listing prices of these apartments. Factors such as unit size, finish, views, floor height, community amenities, distance to highway interchanges, shopping centers, sales terms, developer reputation and proximity to poor residential areas are included. The model R2 is .63. Controlling for location and sale date, results show that list price most affected by unit size, level of finish, and cash sales terms. We believe this is the first housing regression model focusing on Cairo.
    JEL: R3
    Date: 2023–01–01
  5. By: Rashad, Ahmed
    Abstract: The regulatory and institutional environment of a nation plays a critical role in shaping the level of entrepreneurship. By creating a conducive regulatory and institutional environment, governments can encourage entrepreneurial activity, leading to job creation, innovation, and economic growth. The United Arab Emirates has recently deregulated the ownership rules for more than 1, 000 commercial and industrial activities, allowing full ownership of commercial companies in the UAE without requiring a partnership with a national sponsor. Before the introduction of these amendments, foreign ownership was not permitted to exceed 49% of the total assets of a company outside the free zones, with the majority stake being held by an Emirati partner. This study represents the first attempt to assess the short-term impact of the liberalization of business ownership rules on the number of newly registered firms in the UAE. The study collects unique data that covers all types of business activity in Dubai, using monthly data on the number of newly issued business licenses. We developed a difference-in-difference model with a treatment and a control group using panel data regression models. Our findings suggest that the liberalization of the ownership rules has led to a significant surge in the number of new business licenses in the sectors impacted by the liberalization policy. This early evidence suggests that relaxing the restrictions on business ownership may stimulate entrepreneurial activity and business creation in the Gulf region.
    Keywords: New Firms, Gulf region, regulatory reform, entrepreneurship
    JEL: G18 G38 L51 M13
    Date: 2023
  6. By: Giulia Buccione (Brown University); Martín Rossi (Department of Economics, Universidad de San Andrés)
    Abstract: Adoption rates of safe drinking water are low in developing countries. In regions where centralized water treatment infrastructure is absent, the conventional policy response is to enhance access to safe water via point-of-use chlorination. Previous research, however, reports a ceiling in adoption rates of chlorinated water at 50 percent, even when chlorine is provided for free. We report experimental evidence that a cultural-friendly technology, which provides filtered water that resembles local ancestral water, leads to higher adoption rates and willingness to pay than usual chlorinated water provision. We document adoption rates of 91 percent for filtered water, 42 percentage points higher than for chlorinated water. Willingness to pay is 61 percent higher for filtered water compared to chlorinated water. Our findings suggest policymakers should redirect their efforts away from the current mainstream approach of subsidized chlorine and instead explore alternative strategies that consider local communities’ culture and preferences.
    Keywords: Middle East, water-borne diseases, field experiments
    JEL: D10 I10 C93 Q53 Z10
    Date: 2023–11
  7. By: Göksu Sabuncuolu; Kerem Yavuz Arslanli
    Abstract: "This paper discusses new developments based on blockchain in real estate development and proposes that the integration of the methods used in Turkey into the blockchain will contribute to industry development, especially to the division of large-scale lands into smaller digital units. The real estate ecosystem, which is one of the largest sectors in the world, will be made more liquid and accessible by changing traditional methods used to develop real estate with establishing new links for digitization which is called tokenization. Concepts such as land trading, deed registration, and property rights, will be recorded in a distributed ledger based on blockchain technology to ensure faster and more reliable transaction integrity. For small investors, expensive property that seems impossible to buy will be tokenized into the portfolio of dozens of different investors, accelerating the sector’s growth. This study covers the general characteristics of blockchain technology the integration of tokenization into land development, and the digitization effects of land development in the real estate sector, starting with the sectors in which this technology is used. The research will create a model that covers regulation, blockchain-based smart contracts, security token offerings, and the financial part of crowdfunding."
    Keywords: Crowdfunding; Real Estate, Blockchain; Security Token Offerings; Tokenization,
    JEL: R3
    Date: 2023–01–01

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.