Céline Carrère, Julien Gourdon, Marcelo Olarreaga, 15 May 2012

Regional integration schemes that include natural-resource-abundant countries have by and large been unsuccessful. Part of the reason is the uneven distribution of gains when resource-poor and resource-rich countries integrate. This column presents new evidence suggesting that the slow progress of regional integration efforts in the Middle East and North Africa can be explained by the reluctance of resource-rich countries to enter into trade agreements that will hurt them.

Jean-Pierre Chauffour, 02 March 2011

Political turmoil has swept across the Arab world. This column argues that the movement towards more open and representative societies could create the conditions for a big push toward greater trade integration within the region – and the rest of the world. A good place to start would be to complete the Pan-Arab Free Trade Agreement.

Heiko Hesse, Tigran Poghosyan, 27 October 2009

Bank balance sheets in oil-exporting economies have been hard hit recently. This column provides the first empirical evidence linking oil prices to bank performance in such economies. It suggests that easily observed oil prices could inform macro-prudential regulation in these countries and mitigate pro-cyclical bank lending.

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