Economic Research Forum (ERF)

February

Informality during political turmoil: evidence from the Arab Spring

How was the balance between Egypt’s formal and informal economies affected by the political turmoil that accompanied the Arab Spring? This column reports research showing that the number of jobs with no contract or social security coverage has increased in recent decades, but particularly since the uprising in 2011. Educated young people have been hurt more than the less educated.

Investment climate and firms’ exports in Egypt: when politics matters

Despite significant reforms taken by the Egyptian government to liberalise markets and enhance the business environment, political factors continue to affect firms’ capacity to export. This column reports research on the impact of the overall investment climate on Egyptian exports in the manufacturing sector.

Dilemmas of public policy in resource-rich countries

Large endowments of natural resources can be both a blessing and a curse: the key to having them be the former rather than the latter lies in good institutions that limit the power of interest groups and kleptocrats. This column argues that reform-minded policy-makers must find ways in which practical and innovative policies can be carried out without invoking resistance from entrenched interests.

Education gains through compulsory schooling: evidence from Turkey

A policy reform in Turkey in 1997 extended the length of compulsory schooling from five to eight years, a measure that involved substantial public investment in school infrastructure. This column reports research on the effects of the extension on educational outcomes and, in particular, on the equality of these outcomes between men and women, and between residents of urban and rural areas.

Capital raising in the Arab world

How do firms in Arab countries use equity, corporate bond and syndicated loan markets to obtain finance? This column reports research that provides a first documentation of issuance in domestic and international markets over a 25-year period from the early 1990s.

The promise of Middle East sovereign wealth funds

A decade ago, Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) burst onto the global financial scene, raising eyebrows as they gobbled up assets in Europe and North America. But, as this Project Syndicate column argues, the world in which SWFs invest has changed, and they must change with it.

Life satisfaction in Arab countries

How do people in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia feel about their lives? Summarising analysis of data collected in nationally representative surveys, this column highlights three core messages about their reported health, happiness and views of the future.

Video

Understanding the impact of the Syrian refugee influx on education in Jordan

Amman, 13 May 2018. H.E Dr. Omar Razzaz (Jordan Minister of Education) talks about the impact of the Syrian refugee influx on Jordan education

Most read

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.

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.

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.