M-RCBG Senior Fellow-Led Study Group: Rabah Arezki

Session 1: A New Economy for the Middle East and North Africa
October 10, 4:00-5:30 pm | M-RCBG Conference Room, B-503
This study group offers a roadmap for unlocking the enormous potential of the region's large and well-educated youth population by embracing the new digital economy. Broader and bolder reforms will be needed to achieve this goal, along with critical investments in digital infrastructure. It will require the reorientation of education systems toward science and technology, the creation of modern telecommunications and payments systems, and a private-sector driven economy governed by regulations that encourage rather than stifle innovation.

Session 2: Rethinking the Macroeconomics of Resource Rich Countries
October 11, 2:40-4:00 pm | M-RCBG Conference Room, B-503
The study group will build on frontier academic and policy research to explore the macroeconomic consequences of boom and bust cycles in resource rich countries. It will also discuss policy options to address these challenges and ways for these economy to transform.

Session 3: Global reform cycles
October 12, 9:00-10:30 am | M-RCBG Conference Room, B-503
This study group will discuss new research on the existence of global reform cycles using “text as data” exploiting over a billion newspaper articles. It first analyzes the effects of shocks on reforms in a simple model where the structure of the polity mediates the willingness of incumbent and opposition to engage in such debate. We then estimate the effects of growth shocks on “reform mention” on a large panel of countries using instrumental variable techniques. Our empirical estimates are consistent with the model predictions that democracies are more responsive to growth shocks than autocracies. We also verify that reform mention sticks more in democracies than in autocracies. The results are robust to a wide array of checks including accounting for elections and degree of press freedom.

Rabah Arezki headshotRabah Arezki is the Chief Economist for Middle East and North Africa Region (MNA) at the World Bank and a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution and an external research associate at the University of Oxford. He received his M.S. in statistics and economics from the Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l’Administration Economique in Paris and Ph.D. in economics from European University Institute, Florence. He has written on energy, commodities, international macroeconomics, and development economics. He has published widely in academic journals including the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Economic Journal, the Journal of International Economics, the Journal of Development Economics, the European Economic Review, Economic Policy, the Journal of International Money and Finance, the World Bank Economic Review, and the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. He is the Editor of the IMF Research Bulletin and an Associate Editor of the Revue d'économie du développement. He has co-edited special issues of academic journals including of the Journal of Money Credit and Banking, the Journal of International Money and Finance, and Oxford Economics Papers. He is the co-author, and co-editor of several books including Beyond the Curse: Policies to Harness the Power of Natural Resources, Commodity Price Volatility and Inclusive Growth in Low-Income Countries, Shifting Commodities Markets in a Globalized World, and Energy Transition and the Post-COP21 Agenda. Many of his research papers have been cited extensively in academic circles and in prominent media outlets such as the Economist, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Project Syndicate, and the Washington Post. His blog posts including on the recent oil price collapse and its global economic consequences have been viewed over hundred thousand times and have been listed as the most read IMF blog posts three years in a row. He is also a frequent contributor to Finance and Development magazine and VoxEU. As a Senior Fellow, his research is entitled The Economics of Sustainability: Causes and Consequences of Energy Market Transformation. His faculty sponsor is William Hogan, Raymond Plank Professor of Global Energy Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. Email: rabah_arezki@hks.harvard.edu