FEMISE is pleased to announce the winners of its 2018/2019 Internal Competition !

Winners of “2018 Internal Competition “


In this fourth round of the Internal Competition 2018/2019, we received sixteen (16) eligible proposals under the General theme of

“Priorities of the EU-MED region”

Following the evaluation undertaken by the Evaluation committee, the Selection committee selected six (6) proposals for funding in the context of the FEMISE-European Commission contract on: “Support to economic research, studies and dialogue of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership”.

The selected proposals will have a real value added generating fresh knowledge, use rigorous and sound methodology, and have the potential of offering policy recommendations. From the seven selected proposals:

  • four (4) are under the “Inclusiveness” theme;
  • one (1) is under the “Trade Agreements and Technological Transfers” theme; and
  • one (1) is under the theme of Climate/Energy/Health.

Selected proposals include 15 different FEMISE Affiliates from 9 different EU-Med countries (3 from the north and 6 from the south) and with the participation of more than 25 researchers from the Mediterranean. Drafts of the research papers will be presented in the forthcoming FEMISE Annual Conference (2019).

We wish our researchers all the best in the efforts that they will undertake.

The winners are (description in original language):


FEM44-01 Financial Inclusion and Stability in the MED Region: Evidence from Poverty and Inequality”, Institute of Financial Economics, American Univeristy of Beirut (AUB)  (Lebanon) and Kedge Business School (France)

Despite a significant growth in profitability and efficiency, the Middle East (MED) well developed banking system seems to be unable to reach vast segments of the population, especially the underprivileged ones. To this end, the onus of policymakers in the region is to create effective opportunities for financial inclusion, and subsequently poverty and income inequality reduction. Whether they have succeeded in their endeavor is an empirical question the project seeks to address. Using Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) and Generalized Least Squares (GLS) econometric models and data from 6 MED countries over the period 2002-2017, this research project will assess empirically the impact of financial inclusion on income inequality, poverty, and financial stability. The empirical results are expected to show that financial inclusion decreases income inequality and poverty in the MED region. It also expects that while financial integration is a contributing factor to financial stability in MED, financial inclusion contributes positively to financial stability.

FEM44-04 Gender Inequalities on the Labor Market in North Africa: Issues, Estimates and Benchmarking of Inclusiveness”, Université Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marne (UPEC) (France) and Centre de recherche en économie appliquée pour le Développement (CREAD) (Algeria)

Gender inequality is one of the most pressing issues facing the current working environment. Worldwide, women have significantly fewer opportunities than men to access the labour market (ILO, 2017) and, once included in the labour force, they are also less likely than men to find a job (World Bank, 2011). In this respect, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa experience the highest inequality (OECD, 2012).

In North African countries (Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt), the observation of female participation rates in economic activity reveals a dramatic gender gap between men and women, whereas female unemployment rate is the highest worldwide (AFCM, 2010). Many factors are related to both the patriarchal nature of these societies, the economic situation and employment policy in each country, as well as recent socio-economic changes that disrupted Tunisia and Egypt.

The issue of differences in characteristics between men and women is tackled by two theories: the theory of human capital (Mincer & Polachek, 1974; Polachek, 1981), and the theory of discrimination on the labour market (Becker, 1985). According to the human capital theory, women generally expect to stay in the labour market for a shorter period of time, due to the family responsibilities they ensure (Magidimisha & Gordon, 2015). As a result, they invest less in vocational training and are thus paid less (ILO, 2015). However, empirical studies show that differences in productivity do not fully explain gender wage differences (Aigner & Cain, 1977).    As much as the theory of human capital does not provide a sufficient explanation, it becomes necessary to call upon the theories of discrimination (Blau, 1984; Phelps, 1972), to complete the explanation of the phenomenon.

The project addresses the issue of gender inequality for youth from two perspectives: women’s access to the labour market and understanding of the mechanisms by which young women are in a more precarious situation than men (Musette, 2013). The researachers examine, on the one hand, the determinants of women’s labour supply related to education, demographic variables (age, marital status, number of children) and the weight of cultural traditions (individual characteristics of the head of household: status in employment, level of education and income). on the other hand, it will examine labour demand from employers and its allocation in a context of scarce employment and competition from the male labour supply

FEM44-06 Euro-Mediterranean Agricultural trade & Environemental Policies (EuroMedatEpol)”, LEAD, Université de Toulon-Var (France) and Faculté de Droit et des Sciences Economiques et Politique de Sousse (Tunisia)

Besides being a hot spot for climate change, the Mediterranean region have been witnessing structural changes of its food balances during the past years. Due to the asymmetrical bilateral trade agreements between the European Union (EU) and the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries (SEMC), the latter have simply turned to the Asian powers, the Gulf countries (case of Egypt, Lebanon and Syria) or the American continent (Brazil, Argentina …) and thus, the traditional European market shares are eroded by these new entrants. Although the calculation of the commercial potential between the Mediterranean countries and their partners (in particular the EU) is the subject of an abundant literature, these previous scientific works had neglected the sectoral specification, in particular the agricultural sector. On the other hand, even if the theoretical foundations of the gravity model indicate that distance serves as a resistance factor and plays a negative role on trade contrary to the economic mass, Anderson (2000), Costantini and Crespi (2008) and Koźluk and Timiliotis (2016) show that transport costs and tariff barriers are insufficient to explain trade and that other intangible factors such as environmental policies can achieve this significantly.

In this framework, the research project aims at explaining the determinants of the diversion of agricultural trade flows to the new emerging powers in order to decide on the impact of the agricultural markets liberalization on the SEMC food security in a context of climate change and where environmental policies are significantly strengthened. This work will present the new data related to the agricultural trade and an empirical framework in order to compute the stringency of environmental policies in the Euro-Med region for the first time in order to analyze the impact of the heterogeneity in terms of Agri-Environmental Policies Stringency (AEPS) on agricultural trade flows between 11 Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries and their main trade partners especially the EU and the new entrants to the Mediterranean agricultural market such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and Ukraine.

FEM44-11 “Migration, Comparative Advantages and Knowledge diffusion in the EU-Mediterranean region” CELPE, Department of Economics and Statistics- University of Salerno, Salern (Italy) and Middle East Technical University – Faculty of Economics & Administrative Sciences, Department of Economics, Ankara (Turkey)

The main aim of this project is to investigate how migration flows between MENA and EU contribute in shaping the comparative advantages of countries and in creating a process of international diffusion of knowledge between these countries associated with the pattern of international migration.

The novelty of the idea is that the knowledge transmissions channels rather than being explored in relation to FDI and to trade, an over investigated issue, are seen in relation to migration flows among EU and MENA countries. Of all international factor flows, migration is indeed the strongest knowledge diffusion driver.

The researchers will study whether migrants can explain variation in good-specific productivity, as measured by the ability of countries to export those goods, for products that are intensively exported by the migrants’ home/destination countries. In particular, how an increase in the stock of immigrants (emigrants) from country exporters of a given product is, on average, associated with an increase in the likelihood that the receiving (sending) country will export that same product in the next years.

The team will document industry specific productivity shifts in tradable goods as explained by the variation in the international movement of people looking at how migration figures correlate with home and destination country’s extensive and intensive margins of trade. The effects which they also will explore are the role of migration in the overall productivity growth as well as the reduction of inequality both within and between countries.

The findings will provide useful inputs for improving the policy making process in the host countries, especially in the field of migration policy, with the aim of enhancing the understanding of trade creation effects of networks of migrants. In this way integration processes between countries would be showing some positive externalities in the side of trade flows and diffusion of tacit knowledge spread between the two areas.

FEM44-12 “Social Entrepreneurs’ Responses to the Refugee Crisis in Jordan and Lebanon”, CASE- Center for Social for Social and Economic Research (Poland) and Royal Scientific Society (Jordan)

With the Syrian refugee crisis in its eighth year and no end in sight, two Syria’s immediate neighbours, Jordan and Lebanon, struggle to provide safe heaven to the large number of Syrians who fled their home country and sought refuge within their borders. With governments struggling despite assistance on part of the international community, private sector has been observed to enter the stage as well, no just as a provider of donations but also active agent. One example of such engagement is on part of a growing number of social entrepreneurs “tackling social issues with a business-like approach” (Dees, 2001) operating in Jordan and Lebanon.

Against this background, the aim of this exploratory study is to provide an overview of the social entrepreneurship scene working in the field of refugee crisis mitigation in both countries. The assumption, grounded in preliminary background research, is that social entrepreneurs positively –if not on a large scale – contribute to the alleviation of the refugee crisis by virtue of working with and for refugees, and indeed deriving from the refugee community themselves. Specifically, the aim is to explore whom, how, and with what results is applying social enterprise business model to alleviate the refugee crisis in both countries under research.

As a result, a report will be prepared containing an overview of the refugee-oriented social entrepreneurship scene in Jordan and Lebanon that will serve as a first point of reference for everyone interested in the subject.

FEM44-13 “L’inadequation formation-emploi et son impact sur le marché du travail dans les pays du Maghreb (Algerie, Maroc et Tunisie)”, Centre de Recherche en Economie Appliquee pour le Developpement (CREAD) (Algeria), Institut National de Statistique et d’Economie Appliquee (INSEA) (Morocco) and IEDES, Universite Paris 1 – PANTHEON SORBONNE (France)

 L’instabilité socioéconomique qui a éclaté en 2011 dans de nombreux pays arabes a mis en évidence la vulnérabilité et la fragilité de leurs marchés du travail, caractérisés par des taux de chômage globaux élevés notamment pour les jeunes.

Les pays de la région du Moyen orient et Afrique du nord (MENA) ont enregistré une hausse significative des taux de chômage ces dernières années, sous l’effet du ralentissement économique. Celui-ci est dû à la chute des prix des hydrocarbures pour les pays exportateurs de pétrole et à la baisse du tourisme et de l’investissement étranger sous l’effet des conflits que connaît la région. Les jeunes (surtout diplômés) et les femmes sont les premiers à être touchés par la détérioration de la situation sur le marché du travail.

Par ailleurs, les écarts entre hommes et femmes sont particulièrement préoccupants. En moyenne, les femmes sont moins susceptibles de participer au marché du travail comparées aux hommes

Une analyse rapide de la situation du marché du travail dans les pays du Maghreb montre la coexistence de réservoirs d’offres d’emplois non satisfaits et des taux de chômages persistants. Ce constat pose naturellement la problématique de l’inadéquation entre l’offre et la demande de travail. Celles-ci auraient diverses causes, lesquelles peuvent être de nature conjoncturelle, frictionnelle ou structurelle plus ou moins profondes selon le pays.

Ces inadéquations sur le marché du travail constituent un problème à la fois social, en raison du chômage ou de l’inactivité qui en résulte et économique tant à l’échelle de l’entreprise qu’à celles des ménages et du pays dans son ensemble.

Ce projet de recherche tentera d’apporter un éclairage sur l’impact de l’inadéquation formation-emploi sur le développement économique dans les trois pays du Maghreb (Algérie, Maroc et Tunisie). Une meilleure compréhension de l’appariement des emplois et de l’intermédiation du marché du travail peut améliorer l’élaboration de politiques du marché du travail, notamment en ce qui concerne la sélection d’instruments efficaces pour l’emploi des jeunes. Pour ce faire, et dans une étape préliminaire, des analyses de l’efficacité en termes de préparation à l’emploi des systèmes éducatifs des trois pays considérés semble incontournable. Les mécanismes formels et informels d’intermédiation sur le marché du travail de ces pays est aussi nécessaire. Le traitement de ces deux dimensions permettrait de mieux approcher les problèmes de l’insertion des jeunes dans le marché du travail.




The financial contribution of FEMISE towards these research proposals is made in the context of the FEMISE –EU project on Support to Economic Research, studies and dialogues of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership » . Any Views expressed in these reserches are the sole responsability of the authors.