Middle East and Central Asia > United Arab Emirates

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Juan Pablo Cuesta Aguirre and Mrs. Swarnali A Hannan
To shed light on the possible scarring effects from Covid-19, this paper studies the economic effects of five past pandemics using local projections on a sample of fifty-five countries over 1990-2019. The findings reveal that pandemics have detrimental medium-term effects on output, unemployment, poverty, and inequality. However, policies can go a long way toward alleviating suffering and fostering an inclusive recovery. The adverse output effects are limited for countries that provided relatively greater fiscal support. The increases in unemployment, poverty, and inequality are likewise lower for countries with relatively greater fiscal support and relatively stronger initial conditions (as defined by higher formality, family benefits, and health spending per capita).
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.


A year into the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the race between vaccine and virus entered a new phase in the Middle East and Central Asia, and the path to recovery in 2021 is expected to be long and divergent. The outlook will vary significantly across countries, depending on the pandemic’s path, vaccine rollouts, underlying fragilities, exposure to tourism and contact-intensive sectors, and policy space and actions. 2021 will be the year of policies that continue saving lives and livelihoods and promote recovery, while balancing the need for debt sustainability and financial resilience. At the same time, policymakers must not lose sight of the transformational challenges to build forward better and accelerate the creation of more inclusive, resilient, sustainable, and green economies. Regional and international cooperation will be key complements to strong domestic policies.

Mr. Francesco Grigoli
The measurement of the efficiency of public education expenditure using parametric and non-parametric methods has proven challenging. This paper seeks to overcome the difficulties of earlier studies by using a hybrid approach to measure the efficiency of secondary education spending in emerging and developing economies. The approach accounts for the impact of the level of development on education outcomes by constructing different efficiency frontiers for lower- and higher-income economies. We find evidence of large potential gains in enrollment rates by improving efficiency. These are largest in lower-income economies, especially in Africa. Reallocating expenditure to reduce student-to-teacher ratios (where these are high) and improving the quality of institutions (as measured by the "governance effectiveness" indicator in the World bank's Governance Indicators database) could help improve the efficiency of education spending. Easing the access to education facilities and reducing income inequality (as measured by the Gini coefficient) could also help improve efficiency.
Ms. Nicole Laframboise and Tea Trumbic
Statistics indicate that the economic and social development of women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) compares unfavorably with most regions in the world. This paper assesses the influence of government expenditure and taxation policies on the economic and social welfare of women in the region. On the expenditure side, we test the explanatory power of public social spending in the determination of key female social indicators. We find that the relatively weak social outcomes for MENA women are not explained by the amount of government social spending, suggesting the answer lies in the efficiency and reach of present spending. With respect to taxation, the main issues in the literature on gender bias in taxation are highlighted and applied in a general manner to the MENA context. Some simple policy recommendations are suggested.
International Monetary Fund


This chapter discusses the changes that have taken place in the underlying structural relationships determining government expenditures between 1975 and 1986. The paper describes the methodological problems in analyzing the determinants of government expenditure patterns, and the issues involved in making cross-country expenditure comparisons, and the problems confronting country economists in assessing a country's expenditure profile. The Tait-Heller study concluded that the international expenditure comparison (IEC) framework provided a “starting point” for analysis. In many respects, this conclusion would still appear valid; if anything, the issues associated with using the IEC indices have become more rather than less complex. Data limitations also pose a limiting factor on the usefulness of an analysis of the IEC indices of a country, and even more strongly suggest its use only as complementary to more detailed sectoral and economic analyses of expenditure profiles. The results for the developing countries in the European region are almost identical to those observed in Africa, with the key exception being an increased priority for expenditure on social security and welfare and a decline in the priority attached to education.