Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Hassan Hakimian

Founding contributors

Hassan Hakimian
University of London

Hassan Hakimian is the Director of the London Middle East Institute and a Reader in Economics at SOAS, University of London. He has published widely on Middle Eastern economies with a special focus on Iran. He is a founding member and currently the President of the International Iranian Economic Association (IEA) and a Research Fellow and member of the Advisory Committee of the ERF. He is the Series Editor for 'Routledge Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa’.

Content by this Author

Can Trump’s sanctions break Iran?

Iran and the United States seem to have reversed roles with the Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal. As this Project Syndicate column explains, Iran’s isolation before the agreement now contrasts with America's determination to swim against the global tide.

Iran’s long economic journey

The landslide re-election of Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, in 2017 reflects the by now familiar pattern of continuity and change that has characterised Iran’s major elections over the last two decades. But, as this Project Syndicate column explains, it also stands out in one key way: Rouhani has remained popular despite pursuing painful macroeconomic stabilisation. Now he needs to look beyond current conditions to address entrenched structural challenges facing the Iranian economy.

Why economists missed the Arab Spring

Just prior to the Arab Spring, many of the economic and social indicators for the countries of the Middle East and North Africa painted quite a favourable picture of the region. This Project Syndicate column explores why economists failed to anticipate the unrest. One key lesson is that improved economic performance cannot be viewed as an insurance policy against political instability.

From booming oil revenues to inclusive growth

The first ten years of the twenty-first century saw an unprecedented surge in oil prices and highly favourable incomes for oil-exporting countries in the Middle East – yet it culminated in social and political upheaval. This column reports research on the extent to which the growth experiences of those countries in that decade may be considered to have been ‘inclusive’ of a broad swathe of society.

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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.

Formidable challenges facing the Middle East require a sea change in economic policies

Weakening global growth, endemic conflicts and increased tensions within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – as well as emerging challenges such as climate change and rapid demographic shifts – are likely to have an adverse impact on the region’s economic, social and political stability in the coming years. This column outlines the policy responses that are needed to avert disaster.

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.

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.

Effects of urbanisation on productivity and wages: evidence from Turkey

Are the substantial productivity gains associated with larger cities in developed countries similar for developing countries? This column provides evidence on urbanised economies in the non-Western world by focusing on Turkey, a country that has experienced fast urbanisation and a high rate of growth of the urban population.

How import dependence could lead to corruption in MENA

Export-led development strategies have had little success in MENA countries; what’s more, instruments of earlier import-substitution strategies – such as state-owned enterprises, high tariffs and subsidies – have survived. As this column explains, these legacies have created crony-capitalist industries that have limited the level of competition in many sectors of the economy and furthered the region’s dependence on imports.

Social security for young workers in Arab countries

Social security coverage of young workers in Arab countries is low – in part because many are employed in informal jobs; and in part because they do not see the value of the system. This column reports survey evidence on young workers’ attitudes towards participation in both social security and politics. It also explores policy reforms that might make access to social security universal for young workers.

Gender discrimination in small business lending: evidence from Turkey

Discrimination in access to financial services can prevent women from exploiting their entrepreneurial potential. This column reports on a ‘lab-in-the-field’ experiment to test for the presence of gender discrimination in small business lending in Turkey.