Economic Research Forum (ERF)

About the forum

The forum – is a new policy portal launched by the  Economic Research Forum (ERF) in October 2017 to promote  quality debates and ideas in the region which are evidence and research based. a It aims to become “the platform” for rich and relevant debates in the region on economic, social and political development issues. It provides a carefully edited platform that offers a ‘space’ in the debate, somewhere between what newspapers are prepared to publish and what scientific journals can provide.  It includes summaries of research papers as well as research-based commentaries on issues relevant for the ERF region, at the national, regional and international level. As an outlet for researchers, policy-makers and development practitioners, it allows the airing of policy insights, views and arguments based either on an existing body of original research or to comment on unfolding events. It is open to contributors from the region and from outside, and publishes columns of up to 1,000 words in both English and Arabic.

Editorial Board
Co-managing editors
Founding contributors
The forum communications team
Submissions

Most of the forum columns are commissioned directly by the co-managing editors, but the forum posts a few unsolicited columns. Leading economists who are interested in writing a “research-based policy analysis and commentary” are encouraged to communicate directly with the co-managing editors.

Quality

The forum provides access to “research based policy analysis and commentary” from a very broad range of experts and research. Our editors include articles they think are relevant, timely and valuable to advance the region’s economic and development agenda but that should not be seen as either an endorsement of the quality of the research, expertise or policy options. The views expressed in the articles are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the forum, ERF, our partners or funders.

Copyright and usage

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Most read

Why the West got rich and the Middle East did not

Today’s rulers of the three largest Middle Eastern economies all look to religious authorities as a key source of legitimacy. Drawing on a broad sweep of historical analysis, this column explores what this might mean for the region’s economic future. One notable danger is that the types of people who would push for policies that promote long-run growth are excluded from the political bargaining table.

Why Turkish growth ended

Following a period of rapid economic growth, the Turkish economy has slowed significantly since 2007. This column argues that these economic ups and downs reflect institutional improvements in the aftermath of the country’s 2001 financial crisis, followed by an ominous slide in the quality of these economic and political institutions.

Implications of the current low oil prices for MENA countries

The current low oil price environment, in part driven by the US shale oil revolution, has important macroeconomic implications for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This column reports research evidence on its likely impact on both oil-exporting and oil-importing countries in the region.

Prospects for development with democracy in the Arab world

What are the prospects for democracy in the Arab world? This column expresses the hope that as conflict-afflicted countries embark on their programmes of economic reconstruction, autocratic institutions will not be re-established under the pretext of the need for a speedy and steady recovery. The optimal path of development necessarily includes robust growth, equity as well as democracy.

An agenda for reducing income inequality in the Arab countries

What can be done to reduce income inequality in Arab countries? This column explores issues of measurement as well as potential policy measures. It concludes by calling for a new multipurpose pan-Arab survey that would allow for an evidence-based decision-making process on the impact of proposed policies on poverty and inequality.

The United Arab Emirates’ dilemma

As energy-producing economies strive to reduce their reliance on oil revenues, they must strike a balance between the competing demands of fiscal sustainability and steady growth of the non-energy sector. This column outlines how the United Arab Emirates is addressing this challenge.

Freedom for women is crucial for economic progress in MENA

The Middle East was once the cradle of civilisation: can it prosper once again? Looking back at lessons from the European Enlightenment, this column argues that if the region wants to advance economically, it needs to advance in terms of its treatment of women. Female agency is central to understanding the West’s technological leadership of the past two centuries.

Inequality in higher education: Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia

Attainment of higher education is strikingly unequal in Egypt and Tunisia, and a little less so in Jordan. This column reports research showing that in all three countries, family background is the primary driver of inequality. Particularly in Egypt and Tunisia, public spending on higher education is regressive, with the result that what purports to be a meritocratic and equitable system in reality perpetuates inequality.

Oil exporters’ responses to the US fracking boom

What are the implications of low oil prices for the economic and political stability of Arab oil-exporting countries such as Saudi Arabia? This column explores the impact of the US fracking boom on Arab oil revenues – and how policy-makers in these countries should respond.

Pension reform that avoids harming MENA labour markets

To tackle the deficits in their pension systems, should governments in Arab countries raise social security contributions, reduce pension levels or increase the statutory retirement age? This column summarises the results of research assessing the costs and benefits of different pension reforms in terms of their impact on different generations and on the labour market.