Three essays on institutions and exports in the MENA region
This dissertation contains three essays on the impact of institutions on exports in the MENA region. The first chapter examines the impact that industrial zones have on firm-level exports in Egypt. Industrial zones are designed to help increase firm productivity and raise firm production. I find that industrial zones can have a small but positive effect on the extensive but not intensive margin of exports. The second chapter evaluates the impact of bribe payments on firm-level exports in the MENA region. In the literature, bribe payments are known to have both positive and negative effects on firms. For instance, a bribe payment can be beneficial if it can expedite services and help firms overcome otherwise inefficient institutions. Alternatively, a bribe payment can be a required cost of doing business and charged to firms like a tax. My results support the latter explanation, where I find that bribe payments have a small negative effect on firm exports. Lastly, the third chapter evaluates how the 2012 MERS-CoV virus affected exports in Saudi Arabia. In this paper I find that the MERS-CoV virus had more of an effect on the animal/camel industry than on the overall level of exports in Saudi Arabia.