Structural Change, Resource Misallocation and Growth Dynamics in the MENA Region - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Structural Change, Resource Misallocation and Growth Dynamics in the MENA Region

Structural Change, Resource Misallocation and Growth Dynamics in the MENA Region

ERF is pleased to announce a call for proposals on growth dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region using firm- and sector-level data. Characterized by relative stagnation and high unemployment, especially for the labor-abundant resource-poor countries within the region, there is little understanding of the determinants of the pace of structural transformation in the region, and its implications for economic growth. At the macro level, long-term growth depended on the extent of allocative efficiency within sectors. Resource misallocation at the firm/sector level can indeed explain productivity differentials across sectors, as well as more aggregately across countries in the region.
In this regard, new research is needed to better understand the micro aspects of the region’s growth dynamics. Accordingly, ERF invites innovative research proposals that enhance the understanding of the structural factors underpinning growth dynamics, which could be explored through extensive analysis at the firm and sector level. Submitted proposals may address any of the following sub-themes, focusing on a specific country over time or a group of countries, as per the guidelines outlined in this downloadable document.
Please submit your proposals through the following link:

Data Sources

Proposals on sub-themes 1 and 2 should be based on empirics drawing on firm- or sector-level data (e.g. the World Bank Enterprise Survey). To facilitate access to firm- and sector-level data, ERF has expanded its depository of specialized datasets on firm-level data. Click here for more information on useful links to micro data.
Proposals on country participation in GVCs are referred to the inter-industry trade databases to extract value-added components from official statistic on annual imports and exports of countries of interest. Supplementary data sources include labor force survey and population census data as well as firm level survey data in addition to the use of industry level data national income account aggregates from the World Development Indicators, and other sources.

Guidelines for Submissions

Authors should submit an original proposal of a maximum length of 10 double spaced pages [excluding appendices, tables, figures, and references]. Proposals should be structured to contain the sections in the following format:

  1. Statement of the research problem: A clear and concise description of the nature and importance of the proposed research, its scope and boundaries, its general context, and its objectives, with explicit reference to feasibility and policy relevance.
  2. Value Added: A selective and analytical review of the relevant literature, with a view to both demonstrating knowledge of past theoretical and empirical work, as well as identifying the knowledge gap that the proposed research is intended to address.
  3. Conceptual Framework and Research Methodology: A clear statement of the conceptual framework should be provided, elaborating on the set of specific, identifiable and concrete questions which the proposed research intends to answer. This is to be followed by an elaboration of the research methods to be employed and why they are best suited to answer the research questions. This section should also indicate the nature of the information required and the data collection techniques, whether primary or secondary or a combination of the two. Finally, it should explain how the information will be analyzed and interpreted using quantitative and/or qualitative methods.
  4. Deliverables: This section should describe the research products that will be delivered at various stages of the research process.
  5. Time Frame: A clear plan of the timing of all stages of the research project taking into account that all projects have to be completed before July 31, 2018. The timetable must specify due dates of draft and final papers as well as any planned events.
  6. Budget: The budget should be submitted in US dollars, itemized and inclusive of all research and dissemination expenses. Research costs should be by deliverables. Other budget items may include travel (if necessary), research assistance, data collection, office supplies and photocopying. The purchase of equipment is not allowed under ERF research grant rules. If planned events are included in the proposal, separate costing is required.
  7. References: A list should be attached to the proposal specifying the suggested references to be used in writing the proposed paper(s).

ERF reserves the right to exclude proposals that are not consistent with these guidelines.

  • At least one of the main researchers should be a national of an Arab country, Iran and Turkey. Cross-country collaborations within MENA are encouraged.
  • Researchers from disciplines other than economics may apply.


Selection Criteria
  • The value added by the project in terms of contributions to existing knowledge.
  • The soundness and viability of the methodological framework.
  • The policy relevance of the expected findings.


Approval Process

All proposals and outputs will be peer reviewed. Authors of accepted proposals will be requested to respond to the comments of the reviewers, prior to approving the research grant.

Important Dates
  • Deadline for submission of proposals: August 20, 2017.
  • Announcement of accepted proposals: September 15, 2017.
  • Submission of draft papers: February 15, 2018.
  • Workshop for discussing draft papers: February 28, 2018.
  • Submission of final papers: July 31, 2018.



Please submit your application online on the following form:

The following documents need to be submitted:

  1. Proposal as per the above mentioned guidelines.
  2. Author(s)’ CV(s).
  3. Two published papers by lead author.

For queries, please contact Jala Youssef: