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Making Sense of Arab Labor Markets: The Enduring Legacy of Dualism

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  • Assaad, Ragui

    () (University of Minnesota)

Abstract

It is well-established that Arab labor markets share certain common characteristics, including an oversized public sector, high unemployment for educated youth, weak private sector dependent on government welfare for their survival, rapid growth in educational attainment, but much of it focused on the pursuit of formal credentials rather than productive skills, and low and stagnant female labor force participation rates. I argue in this paper that all of these features can be explained by the deep and persistent dualism that characterizes Arab labor markets as a result of the use of labor markets by Arab regimes as tool of political appeasement in the context of the "authoritarian bargain" social contract that they have struck with their citizens in the post-independence period. Even as fiscal crises have long destabilized these arrangements in most non-oil Arab countries, culminating in the dramatic political upheavals of the Arab spring revolutions, the enduring legacy of dualism will continue to strongly shape the production and deployment of human capital in Arab economies for some time. This will undoubtedly pose serious challenges to any efforts to transform these economies into dynamic, rapidly growing and more equitable globally competitive economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Assaad, Ragui, 2013. "Making Sense of Arab Labor Markets: The Enduring Legacy of Dualism," IZA Discussion Papers 7573, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7573
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Djavad Salehi-Isfahani & Nadia Belhaj Hassine, 2012. "Equality of Opportunity in Education in the Middle East and North Africa," Working Papers e07-33, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Economics.
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    8. World Bank, 2004. "Unlocking the Employment Potential in the Middle East and North Africa : Toward a New Social Contract," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15011, July.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Are weak governments going to make Arab labor markets better?
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-10-07 18:49:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Caroline Krafft & Ragui Assaad, 2015. "Inequality of Opportunity in the Labor Market for Higher Education Graduates in Egypt and Jordan," Working Papers 932, Economic Research Forum, revised Aug 2015.
    2. Francois Langot & Shaimaa Yassin, 2016. "Informality, Public Employment and Employment Protection in Developing Countries," IRENE Working Papers 16-09, IRENE Institute of Economic Research.
    3. Ishac Diwan & Irina Vartanova, 2017. "The Effect of Patriarchal Culture on Women’s Labor Force Participation," Working Papers 1101, Economic Research Forum, revised 06 Jan 2017.
    4. Assaad, Ragui & Krafft, Caroline, 2015. "Is free basic education in Egypt a reality or a myth?," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 16-30.
    5. Lamia E. Kandil, 2015. "Disentangling qualitative and quantitative central bank influence," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2015-02, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    6. Amirah El-Haddad, 2016. "Government Intervention with No Structural Transformation: The Challenges of Egyptian Industrial Policy in Comparative Perspective (ARABIC)," Working Papers 1038, Economic Research Forum, revised Aug 2016.
    7. repec:eee:enepol:v:111:y:2017:i:c:p:166-178 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Shaimaa Yassin, 2016. "Constructing Labor Market Transitions Recall Weights in Retrospective Data: An Application to Egypt and Jordan," Working Papers 1061, Economic Research Forum, revised 11 Jan 2016.
    9. Ragui Assaad & Caroline Krafft & Irene Selwaness, 2017. "The Impact of Early Marriage on Women’s Employment in the Middle East and North Africa," Working Papers 1086, Economic Research Forum, revised 04 2017.
    10. Ansari, Dawud, 2017. "OPEC, Saudi Arabia, and the shale revolution: Insights from equilibrium modelling and oil politics," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 166-178.
    11. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:62:y:2018:i:c:p:183-191 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Pieters, Janneke, 2013. "Youth Employment in Developing Countries," IZA Research Reports 58, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Brockmeyer, Anne & Khatrouch, Maha & Raballand, Gael, 2015. "Public sector size and performance management : a case-study of post-revolution Tunisia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7159, The World Bank.
    14. Ragui Assaad & Miquel Pellicer & Caroline Krafft & Colette Salemi, 2002. "Grievances or Skills? The Effect of Education on Youth Attitudes and Political Participation in Egypt and Tunisia," Working Papers 1103, Economic Research Forum, revised 01 Jun 2002.
    15. Ragui Assaad & Caroline Krafft, 2016. "Labor Market Dynamics and Youth Unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa: Evidence from Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia," Working Papers 993, Economic Research Forum, revised Apr 2016.
    16. Assaad, Ragui & Hendy, Rana & Lassassi, Moundir & Yassin, Shaimaa, 2018. "Explaining the MENA Paradox: Rising Educational Attainment, Yet Stagnant Female Labor Force Participation," IZA Discussion Papers 11385, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Ansari, Dawud, 2016. "Resource curse contagion in the case of Yemen," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 444-454.
    18. Ishac Diwan & Jeni Klugman, 2016. "Patterns of Veiling Among Muslim Women," Working Papers 995, Economic Research Forum, revised Apr 2016.
    19. repec:spr:izamig:v:7:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1186_s40176-017-0092-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:1:p:326-348 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Caroline Krafft & Ragui Assaad, 2017. "Employment’s Role in Enabling and Constraining Marriage in the Middle East and North Africa," Working Papers 1080, Economic Research Forum, revised 04 Oct 2017.
    22. Pieters, Janneke, 2013. "Youth Employment in Developing Countries," IZA Research Reports 58, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; unemployment; Arab Spring; labor market dualism; authoritarian bargain;

    JEL classification:

    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies

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