Roy Van der Weide, Christoph Lakner, Elena Ianchovichina, 11 August 2016

Household income surveys underestimate income inequality because they fail to capture top incomes. A popular solution is to combine the household survey with data from income tax records, though for countries like Egypt these records are not available, leading to an underestimate of inequality. This column argues that data on house prices can instead be used to estimate the top tail of the income distribution. Using this method the Gini index for urban Egypt increases from a survey-based figure of 0.36, which suggests that it is one of the world’s most equal countries, to 0.47.

David Atkin, Amit Khandelwal, Adam Osman, 06 January 2015

For a decade the field of international trade has revolved around the notion that exporters are particularly productive. Many policy interventions implicitly assume that exporting causes firms to become more productive, but such causal inference may be dubious. This column presents an experiment designed to verify the existence of learning-by-exporting. Experimental results and detailed observation vindicate this causal channel.

David Atkin, Amit Khandelwal, Adam Osman, 04 December 2014

The WTO’s Aid-for-Trade Initiative, based on the belief that exporting improves the productivity of firms, is meant to bring about growth and reduce poverty. However, we know very little about whether exporting improves firm performance, and if so, through what mechanisms. This column, based on a randomised control trial in Egypt, unravels the channels through which exporting increased the productivity of rug manufacturers.

Jeffrey Frankel, 09 September 2014

Subsidies for food and energy are economically inefficient, but can often be politically popular. This column discusses the efforts by new leaders in Egypt, Indonesia, and India to cut unaffordable subsidies. Cutting subsidies now may even be the politically savvy choice if the alternative is shortages and an even more painful rise in the retail price in future. Ironically, it is India’s new Prime Minister Modi – elected with a large electoral mandate and much hype about market reforms – who is already shrinking from the challenge.

Mohsin Khan, 08 November 2012

Since the Arab Spring, Egypt has seen some political transformation. But what of its economic policy? This column debates whether Egypt, under its newly elected president, will pursue both badly needed short- and long-term economic reform, or succumb to myopic populism.

Yves Zenou, Jackline Wahba, 19 August 2012

Are return migrants more likely to become entrepreneurs than non-migrants? This column, using data from Egypt, argues that although migrants lose their social networks while they are overseas, the savings and human capital accumulation that they acquire abroad more than compensate for this loss. This makes return migrants more likely to start businesses.

Marga Peeters, 02 June 2011

After the drama of Egypt’s revolution comes the economic reality – one of the catalysts for regime change was the country’s high unemployment. This column shows that the growing number of young people entering the job market will only add to the pressure. It argues that job creation in the private sector should be the number one priority for stimulating Egypt’s economic growth.

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