Despite a growing global consensus about the need for reform of costly and environmentally damaging energy price subsidies, many countries remain resistant. This column takes stock of recent developments in the context of a database of diesel prices. Environmental concerns seem to play a role in driving reform, but most reforming countries have been facing large fiscal imbalances.
Comparing the experiences of MENA and East Asia in recent decades reveals the delicate nature of the latter’s remarkable structural transformation: several parts of the economy had to be pulling in the same direction. This column explains how East Asia succeeded – and MENA failed – in generating productive employment.
Attainment of higher education is strikingly unequal in Egypt and Tunisia, and a little less so in Jordan. This column reports research showing that in all three countries, family background is the primary driver of inequality. Particularly in Egypt and Tunisia, public spending on higher education is regressive, with the result that what purports to be a meritocratic and equitable system in reality perpetuates inequality.
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.
The World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Government Procurement aims to ensure that public procurements in signatory countries are conducted in a competitive, non-discriminatory and transparent manner satisfying the conditions of integrity. This column reports research showing that the agreement promotes competition, reduces corruption and delivers better value for taxpayers’ money.
Under what circumstances is a country most likely to make a successful transition to democracy? This column outlines the roles of both human agency and structural factors such as class or economic interests. Key to the process of democratisation is the kind of incentives that encourage elite groups in society to reach compromises even in the face of ideological differences.
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.
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