Middle East and Central Asia > Tunisia

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Mr. Philip Barrett, Sophia Chen, Miss Mali Chivakul, and Ms. Deniz O Igan
Using a new daily index of social unrest, we provide systematic evidence on the negative impact of social unrest on stock market performance. An average social unrest episode in an typical country causes a 1.4 percentage point drop in cumulative abnormal returns over a two-week event window. This drop is more pronounced for events that last longer and for events that happen in emerging markets. Stronger institutions, particularly better governance and more democratic systems, mitigate the adverse impact of social unrest on stock market returns.
Ms. Florence Jaumotte
The paper investigates whether the market size of a regional trade agreement (RTA) is a determinant of foreign direct investment (FDI) received by countries participating in the RTA. This hypothesis is tested on a sample of 71 developing countries during the period 1980-99. Evidence is found that the RTA market size had a positive impact on the FDI received by member countries, even more so in the 1990s when such agreements were revived and became more widespread. The size of domestic population also seemed to matter, possibly because of its effect on the availability of the labor supply. It appears, however, that not all countries in the RTA benefited to the same extent from the RTA: countries with a relatively more educated labor force and/or a relatively more stable financial situation tended to attract a larger share of FDI at the expense of their RTA partners. This evidence suggests it is essential for all RTA countries to improve their business environment to the best available in the region. Finally, a partial negative correlation between the FDI received by RTA countries and that received by non-RTA countries possibly reflects a diversion of FDI from non-RTA to RTA countries. As an illustration, FDI benefits are simulated from the creation of a regional trade agreement between Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.
Amer Bisat, Mr. Mohamed A. El-Erian, Mr. Mahmoud El-Gamal, and Mr. Francesco P Mongelli
The paper considers investment and growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Notwithstanding cross-country differences, investment as a whole has been too low, too heavily tilted toward the public sector, too highly dependent on external influences, and less productive than in many other regions. Improving the region’s investment performance is critical if policymakers are to succeed in increasing the region’s economic growth rate. After discussing the relationship between investment and growth, the paper analyzes the investment responsiveness of various countries in the region and notes the policy priorities for strengthening the basis for rapid and sustained economic growth.