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

Arab countries are caught in an inequality trap

Conventional wisdom, based mainly on surveyed household income distribution statistics, suggests that inequality is generally low in Arab countries. At the same time, little attention has been devoted to social inequalities, whether in terms of outcomes or opportunities. This column introduces a forthcoming report, which offers a different narrative: based on the largest research project on the subject to date and covering 12 Arab countries, the authors argue that the region is caught in an inequality trap.

Fair competition is needed to empower women economically in the Arab world

The participation rates of women in the labour market in Arab countries are the lowest in the world. This column argues that remedying the under-representation of women in the labour force is a social and economic imperative for the region. There are three dimensions for action to realise the potential of Arab women: amending laws and regulations; instilling fair competition in markets; and promoting the digital economy.

Recession without impact: why Lebanese elites delay reform

The survival of Lebanon’s political elites is highly dependent on the wellbeing of the economy. Why then do they delay necessary reform to avoid crisis? This column examines the role of politically connected firms in delaying much-needed economic stabilisation policies.

Competition laws: a key role for economic growth in MENA

Competition policy lacks the attention it deserves in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), a region characterised by monopolies and lack of market contestability. As this column explains, there are many questions about the extent of anti-competitive barriers facing new market entrants in the region. What’s more, MENA’s weak overall performance on competition is likely to be hindering economic growth and the path towards structural transformation.

The Egyptian economy is still not creating good jobs

Growth in Egypt has recovered substantially since the downturn following the global financial crisis and the political instability following the 2011 revolution – but what has happened to jobs? This column reports the results on employment conditions from just released data in the 2018 wave of the Egypt Labor Market Panel Survey.

How Egyptian households cope with shocks: new evidence

Managing risks and reducing vulnerability to economic, social, environmental and health shocks enhances the wellbeing of households and encourages investment in human capital. This column explores the nature of shocks experienced by Egyptian households as well as the coping mechanisms that they use. It also examines the relationship between such risks and job formality and health status.

The future of Egypt’s population: opportunities and challenges

Egypt’s potential labour supply depends on the growth and changing composition of its working-age population. This column reports the latest data on labour supply and fertility rates, concluding that the country has a window of opportunity with reduced demographic pressures to try to address longstanding structural challenges for the labour market.

Egypt’s labour market: facts and prospects

An ERF policy conference on the Egyptian labour market in late October 2019 focused on gender and economic vulnerability. This column summarises the key takeaways from the event.

An appeal for Sudan’s future

Sudan today is on a knife-edge: it can evolve toward peace and democracy – or spiral into instability and violence. As this Project Syndicate column argues, vital and timely international assistance can make the difference between success and failure for the new government.

Domestic demand and competition: a new development paradigm for MENA

A lack of competition in domestic and regional markets is holding back development in the Middle East and North Africa. This column argues that the region and the international community must ensure that barriers to market entry and exit are eliminated, and that independent regulatory bodies at the national and regional levels help to promote domestic demand as the main engine for sustainable and inclusive growth.