It is well known that factionalism and corruption have long stood in the way of the kinds of structural reforms that Lebanon needs. But as this Project Syndicate column argues, an overlooked problem is the inaction of foreign powers that could easily compel domestic changes if they had the right incentives.
In response to the global pandemic, public authorities in Egypt responded with a comprehensive package aimed at tackling the health emergency and supporting economic activity. This column examines how private sector firms perceived ease of access to finance before and after the emergence of Covid-19 in 2020.
The relationship between first-movers and late-movers in export markets has important policy implications. First-movers need to be productive enough to pay market entry costs; in turn, they generate ‘information externalities’ for late-movers. This column uses a unique disaggregated export-level customs dataset – including from Egypt and Jordan – to test whether first-movers outperform late-movers in export markets.
How did Lebanon’s economy collapse – and what happens now? This column from The Washington Post outlines what you need to know.
Firm-level political connections are widespread. This column examines whether they affect employment decisions in Lebanon, a country where the majority of university students think that connections are important for finding jobs and many admit to having used them.
Whether export sanctions are effective depends on their goal. This column highlights that if the goal is to reduce total exports of the targeted country, sanctions may be less effective as exporters can redirect their exports from one destination to another. But if the goal is to put pressure on exporters in the targeted country, then sanctions can be effective as exporters incur welfare losses while redirecting exports to new destinations.
The World Bank’s Doing Business rankings provide a useful benchmark, but making them a key policy goal is inappropriate for Arab countries where the reform agenda needs to be far more wide-ranging. This column argues for a more practical and effective approach to creating business environments that will attract investment and foster job creation.