Peer-reviewed journals

1.  Chebbi, H. and Olarreaga, M. (2019). Investigating exchange rate shocks on agricultural trade balance: The case of Tunisia. The Journal of International Trade and Economic Development.

Abstract: The paper studies the impact of changes in Tunisia’s exchange rate on the net external position of the agricultural sector. It shows that substitutability on production and consumption among domestically produced goods leads to an ambiguous impact for reasons that go beyond the Marshall-Lerner condition. Using cointegration techniques to disentangle the long and short-run impact of changes in the exchange rate on the net agricultural trade balance, we find that the depreciation of the domestic currency leads to a deterioration of the net external position of Tunisia’s agricultural sector in the long-run.

Jel Code: F14, Q17, C32

Keywords: Agricultural trade balance; exchange rate; Tunisia

Affiliation of authors: Chebbi, H. (University of Tunis, MACMA); Olarreaga, M. (University of Geneva and CEPR)

2.  Guizani, B. (2019). The Impact of Exchange Rate Shocks on Trade in Times of Uncertainties: Evidence from Three Oil-Importing Countries in MENA, forthcoming in Statéco, No 113.

Abstract: On the basis of a monthly data relating to trade flows, nominal exchange rates and other economic variables and a VAR model framework, some impulse-response functions (IRFs) are estimated for three Oil-Importing Countries (OICs) of the MENA region. These IRFs were estimated for two sub-periods notably the periods of political transition in these countries that were characterized by high degrees of uncertainty. The main finding is that unlike what many might expect, during the periods of transitions a shock in the exchange rate has a very weak impact of the levels of exports and imports in all three countries. It is therefore concluded that the deteriorating international competitiveness of the OICs especially throughout the transition is related to other structural factors rather than the exchange rate.

JEL Code: F10, F14, F17, F31

Keywords: Exports, Imports, Exchange rate shock, Uncertainty, Transition.

Affiliation of the author: Tunis Business School World Trade Organization Chair, Université de Tunis and UR MASE-ESSAIT, Université de Carthage, Tunisia.

3.  Baghdadi L., Ben Kheder S. and Arouri H., (2019) Assessing the performance of the offshore regime in Tunisia, Journal of Economic Integration, Forthcoming

Abstract: This paper examines the performance of offshore firms in Tunisia for the period 2002~2014. Using firm-level data, we analyze the impact of offshoring on turnover, productivity, wages and firm survival. Overall, offshore firms perform better with respect to all of these indicators. However, in the specific case of offshore firms that export and import at the same time, called two-way offshoring, performance is weaker across the board compared to their onshore counterparts. Lower productivity of offshore firms engaged in both exporting and importing suggests that these firms are low performers and that they self-select the offshore regime to reduce their fixed costs associated with exporting. The survival analysis highlights an increased probability that these types of firms will exit the market once tariffs and tax exemption privileges end, usually after 10 years. Thus, incentives provided in the Tunisian Investment Code are primarily attracting firms in the lower rungs of global value chains.

Jel Code:: F14, F23, L52

Keywords: Exports, Fiscal incentives, Productivity, Multinational firms, Tunisia

Affiliation of authors: Tunis Business School World Trade Organization Chair, BADEM Lab, Université de Tunis, Tunisia

4.  Baghdadi L., Ben Kheder S. and Arouri H., (2019) Impact of Non-Tariff Measures on firms in Tunisia, Review of Development Economics.

Abstract: This paper analyzes the effect of nontariff measures (NTMs) on firms in Tunisia. It draws a precise picture of NTMs’ effects on firms’ imports. We use firm‐level data to take into account firm heterogeneity. We explore the impact of NTMs on small vs. medium and large firms. We also consider the differentiated impact of NTMs. Some measures have informational content and help reduce information asymmetries. When the endogeneity issue of NTMs is controlled for, results show an overall positive impact of NTMs on imports. They provide evidence that NTMs are more beneficial to the imports of medium and large firms. Moreover, NTMs with informational content have an import enhancing effect. An extended analysis separating importing and exporting firms from those solely importing suggests that both types of firms benefit from the positive effects of NTMs. This result highlights the need to assist small firms facing NTMs. Furthermore, some NTMs with informational content should be addressed carefully and not considered only as barriers to trade to be eliminated. Instead, harmonization efforts between countries can be a better policy. 

Jel Code: F13; F14

Keywords: firm‐level data; imports; nontariff measures

Affiliation of authors: Tunis Business School World Trade Organization Chair, BADEM Lab, Université de Tunis, Tunisia

5.  Ben Slimane, M and Baghdadi, L., (2019). How internationalization affects firms’ growth in the MENA region? A quantile regression approach. Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, Volume 39(2), pages 751-771.

Abstract: In this paper, we contribute to the literature by studying the effect of internationalization on the conditional firm growth rate distribution in eight countries from the MENA region. We use four measures of internationalization: exporting status, two-way trade, export intensity and export experience. We use the BEEPS data from the Enterprise Survey of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank. The main results show that exporting status and export experience play an important role to improve both employment and sales growth in various quantiles. However, two-way trade has an effect on employment growth and export intensity has an effect on lower sales growth quantiles.

 Jel Code: L11; L25; D25

Keywords: Firm performance, international trade, quantile regression

Affiliation of authors: Ben Slimane, M (Tunis Business School World Trade Organization Chair, Université de Tunis and UR MASE-ESSAIT, Université de Carthage, Tunisia); Baghdadi, L. (Tunis Business School World Trade Organization Chair, BADEM Lab, Université de Tunis, Tunisia.

6.  Bellakhal, R., Ben Kheder, S. and Haffoudhi, H. (2019). Governance and renewable energy investment in MENA countries: How does trade matter? Energy Economics.

Abstract: The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries have recently developed renewable energy (RE) markets. However, their rate of investment in renewable energy remains small compared to other regions in the world despite their relatively abundant endowments, particularly in wind and solar. While the literature identifies some barriers to investment in renewable energy, we assume that the investment of MENA countries could be impeded by specific governance factors. Furthermore, we consider recent literature showing that trade openness reduces the negative effects of weak governance. In this paper, we empirically investigate the link between governance, openness, and renewable energy investment in the MENA region using panel data for 15 MENA countries over the period 1996-2013. Our results prove that a higher institutional quality is associated with RE investment in MENA countries. In addition, this relationship seems to be conditional on the trade regime. Our results are robust to several measures of renewable energy investment and governance as well as to an alternative econometric set-up.

 Jel Code: –

Keywords: Renewable energy; Governance; Trade openness; Interaction effect; Panel data models

 Affiliation of authors: Bellakhal, R. (WTO Chair; University of Manouba and UR MASE-ESSAIT, Université de Carthage, Tunisia), Ben Kheder, S. (WTO Chair, ESSECT, University of Tunis) and Haffoudhi, H (WTO Chair and UR MASE-ESSAIT, Université de Carthage, Tunisia)

* This work is an output of WCP-TBS fellows not directly linked or funded by the Chair

* Influenced but not attributed to WCP-TBS