Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Sarah El-Khishin


Sarah El-Khishin
Assistant Professor in Economics, British University in Egypt

Sarah El-Khishin is an Assistant Professor in Economics at the British University in Egypt. She previously held the position of Senior Adviser and Head of Policy Development and Aid Effectiveness Division at Ministry of International Cooperation. Her experience is diversified in the fields of academic and policy research and advocacy. She worked as an Adviser and Expert in a number of ministerial technical offices as well as the Egyptian Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC). She completed her Ph.D and Masters Degrees at Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University. Her published works and policy advice projects are in fields related to Monetary and fiscal policy, International economics, public finance, and political economy. She is an ERF Research Associate.

Content by this Author

External debt vulnerability in the time of Covid-19

Covid-19 is threatening emerging markets and developing economies in multiple ways. As this column explains, these countries are even more vulnerable now than they were at the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008, raising fears that the impact of the current crisis might be more devastating and economic recovery more distant.

Countermeasures for the COVID-19 outbreak in Egypt

The COVID-19 outbreak interrupts a remarkable but short-lived improvement in Egypt’s economic performance following the implementation of recent reforms supported by the International Monetary Fund. This column outlines essential countercyclical measures to accommodate the likely economic damage from the pandemic, and emphasises the importance of sound institutions as a safeguard against potential misuse of the measures after the crisis and to ensure the sustainability of the reform outcomes.

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Sustaining entrepreneurship: lessons from Iran

Does entrepreneurial activity naturally return to long-term average levels after big economic disturbances? This column presents new evidence from Iran on trends in entrepreneurship among various categories of firm size, sector and location – and suggests policies that could be effective in promoting entrepreneurial activities.

Happiness in the Arab world: should we be concerned?

Several Arab countries have low rankings in the latest comparative assessment of average happiness across the world. But as this column explains, the average is not a reliable summary statistic when applied to ordinal data. The evidence from more robust analysis of socio-economic inequality in happiness suggests that policy-makers should be less concerned about happiness indicators than the core development objective of more equitable social conditions for citizens.

Financial constraints on small firms’ growth: pandemic lessons from Iran

How does access to finance affect the growth of small businesses? This column presents new evidence from Iran before and during the Covid-19 pandemic – and lessons learned by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

The economics of Israeli war aims and strategies

Israel’s response to last October’s Hamas attack has led to widespread death and destruction. This column outlines the impact thus far, including the effects on food scarcity, migration and the Palestinian economy in both Gaza and the West Bank.

It’s too early to tell what happened to the Arab Spring

Did the Arab Spring fail? This column presents a view the consensus view from ERF’s recent annual conference in Morocco: careful analysis of the fundamental drivers of democratic transitions suggests that it’s too early to tell.

Arab regional cooperation in a fragmenting world

As globalisation stalls, regionalisation has emerged as an alternative. This column argues that Arab countries need to face the new realities and move decisively towards greater mutual cooperation. A regional integration agenda that also supports domestic reforms could be an important source of growth, jobs and stability.

Gender differences in business record-keeping and planning in Iraq

Only one in every ten informal businesses in Iraq is led by a woman. Yet as research summarised in this column reveals, those businesses are more likely to set budgets and sales targets, and to keep business records. This may be evidence of the role of social exclusion in motivating greater reliance on the formal bureaucratic system.

Self-employment in MENA: the role of religiosity and personal values

How important are individual’s values and beliefs in influencing the likelihood that they will embrace the responsibilities, risks and entrepreneurial challenge of self-employment? This column presents evidence from 12 countries in the Middle East and North African region on the roles of people’s religiosity and sense of personal agency in their labour market choices.

Reformed foreign ownership rules in UAE: the impact on business entry

In an effort to stimulate economic growth and diversify the economy, the government of the United Arab Emirates has recently implemented regulatory reform that allows 100% foreign ownership of companies operating in the country. This column examines the implications of the reform for entry of new firms in Dubai, using unique data on new business licences in the emirate.

Conflict and debt in the Middle East and North Africa

With the global economy is in its third year of deceleration amid declining inflation and oil prices, the Middle East and North Africa grew by just 1.9% in 2023, with a forecast for growth in 2024 at 2.7%. In addition to heightened uncertainty brought on by the conflict centred in Gaza, many countries in the region are also grappling with pre-existing vulnerabilities, including rising debt levels. This column summarises a new report that unpacks the nature of debt in MENA – and explains the critical importance of keeping rising debt stocks in check.