This volume brings together empirical studies of labour markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In recent years, governments in the MENA region have increasingly come to recognize human resource development as the driving force behind economic growth. They have, however, been hampered by a lack of empirical studies based on microeconomic data - the tools that are needed to formulate and evaluate sound policies. Calls for governments to improve education, create jobs, and equalize opportunities need to be strongly backed by empirical research. The studies in this book use modern techniques of microeconometrics to provide insights into the human resources problems facing MENA countries. Contained here are surveys on the performance of the markets for labour and human capital in the region, as well as in-depth studies of specific policy issues using micro data . The empirical chapters discuss family decision-making in fertility and human capital accumulation, returns to education, and the efficiency of labour markets.
They help raise the level of policy debate in the areas of education, gender equity, population, and employment by providing a deeper understanding of the micro foundations of these policy debates, and by pointing out the extent to which individual and household decision-making determines the outcomes of public policy. It is hoped that this book will stimulate further research based on microeconomic data as well as demonstrate to policy makers and the statistical agencies of the region the value of strengthening the empirical foundation of an area of public policy that may well be crucial in shaping the region's economic and social development.