Peer-reviewed journals 2019

1.  Chebbi, H. and Olarreaga, M. (2019). Investigating exchange rate shocks on agricultural trade balance: The case of TunisiaThe 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 TunisiaJournal 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 TunisiaReview 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 approachEconomics 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.

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

* Influenced but not attributed to WCP-TBS