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Risk Sharing in the Middle East and North Africa: The Role of Remittances and Factor Incomes


  • Faruk Balli
  • Syed Abul Basherz
  • Rosmy Jean Louis


This paper investigates welfare gains and channels of risk sharing among 14 Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries, including the oil-rich Gulf region and the resource scarce economies such as Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. The results show that, for the 1992-2009 period, the overall welfare gain across MENA countries is higher than those documented for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations. In the Gulf region, the amount of factor income smoothing does not differ considerably when output shocks are longer-lasting than transitory; whereas the amount smoothed by savings increases remarkably when shocks are longer-lasting. By contrast, both factor income flows and international transfers respond more to permanent shocks rather than to transitory shocks in the non-oil MENA countries. The results also show that a significant portion of shocks is smoothed via remittance transfers in the economically less developed MENA countries, but not in the oil-rich Gulf and OECD countries. Finally, for the overall MENA region, a large part of the shock remains unsmoothed, suggesting that more market integration is needed to remedy the weak link of incomplete risk-sharing.

Suggested Citation

  • Faruk Balli & Syed Abul Basherz & Rosmy Jean Louis, 2012. "Risk Sharing in the Middle East and North Africa: The Role of Remittances and Factor Incomes," CAMA Working Papers 2012-39, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2012-39

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pierfederico Asdrubali & Bent E. Sørensen & Oved Yosha, 1996. "Channels of Interstate Risk Sharing: United States 1963–1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1081-1110.
    2. David Antonio C., 2011. "How do International Financial Flows to Developing Countries Respond to Natural Disasters?," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 11(4), pages 1-38, December.
    3. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James & Thaicharoen, Yunyong, 2003. "Institutional causes, macroeconomic symptoms: volatility, crises and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 49-123, January.
    4. Becker, Sascha O. & Hoffmann, Mathias, 2006. "Intra- and international risk-sharing in the short run and the long run," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 777-806, April.
    5. Fratzscher, Marcel & Imbs, Jean, 2009. "Risk sharing, finance, and institutions in international portfolios," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3), pages 428-447, December.
    6. Demyanyk, Yuliya & Volosovych, Vadym, 2008. "Gains from financial integration in the European Union: Evidence for new and old members," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 277-294, March.
    7. Bugamelli, Matteo & Paternò, Francesco, 2009. "Do Workers' Remittances Reduce the Probability of Current Account Reversals?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 1821-1838, December.
    8. Backus, David K & Kehoe, Patrick J & Kydland, Finn E, 1992. "International Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 745-775, August.
    9. Carlos Fonseca Marinheiro, 2003. "Output Smoothing in EMU and OECD: Can We Forego Government Contribution? A Risk Sharing Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 1051, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Wincoop, Eric van, 1994. "Welfare gains from international risksharing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 175-200, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Balli, Faruk & Rana, Faisal, 2015. "Determinants of risk sharing through remittances," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 107-116.
    2. Faruk Balli & Faisal Rana, 2014. "Determinants of risk sharing through remittances: cross-country evidence," CAMA Working Papers 2014-12, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.

    More about this item


    MENA region; Remittance transfer; Risk sharing; Welfare gain;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being


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