Readings in the destruction and orientations for reconstruction

August 2006

Orientation document on the reconstruction in Lebanon after the Israeli aggression in July 2006.

The text has been written while the combats were still going on and the field teams were trying to assess the extent of the damage caused by the Israelis. It aims at formulating a strategy for reconstruction that could launch, on the basis of the unexpected military achievement of the Lebanese Resistance, a process of reconstitution of the Lebanese State, on the eve of expected international conferences on Reconstruction and Economic Reforms in Lebanon.

The central idea is that the communitarian character of the war having been imposed by the aggressor, the response should be that of a Unitarian state, rejecting the easy solutions of localised interventions left to the choice of the “donors” and the “friends” of this and that party, and framing the compensations on the basis of “generic” and not exceptional and specific criteria.

PDF - 135.3 kb
12 p. (in arabic)
PDF - 71.5 kb
12 p. (in french)
PDF - 233.1 kb
article in AnNahar (in arabic)

Observatory of the Public Matter in Lebanon – Macha’

Charter of foundation of the association
November 2006

Project of creation of a thinking and research association about the economic and socio-political matters at stake in Lebanon or on the basis of the Lebanese case.

The text presents :

  1. The reasons for creating the association
  2. The proposed formula
  3. The methodology of work
  4. The axes and themes of research


PDF - 131.2 kb
15 p. (in french)
PDF - 129.3 kb
15 p. (in arabic)

“Bases of discussion of the official document presented to the Paris 3 Conference from a union perspective”

February 2007

Note presented to the GCWL (General Confederation of Workers in Lebanon) soon after the holding of the conference


PDF - 52.8 kb
5 p. (in arabic)

Exploring Lebanon’s Growth Prospects

Jean-Claude Berthelemy,Sebastien Dessus & Charbel Nahas

World Bank Policy Research Working Paper Series, number 4332

August 2007
This paper attempts to identify Lebanon ’ s greatest constraints to economic growth, following a growth diagnosis approach. It concludes that fiscal imbalances and barriers to entry are most binding on long-term growth. Macroeconomic imbalances and related perceived risks affect the nature of investment decisions in Lebanon, in favor of liquid instruments rather than longer-term productive investments. Further, many barriers to entry discourage agents from investing in a number of markets: legal impediments to competition, corruption, and a set of fiscal incentives favoring the allocation of resources to non-tradable sectors, where potential demand and investment opportunities are scarcer. In turn, using a steady-state computable general equilibrium model, the paper assesses the long-term growth impact of a selected set of policy reforms envisaged to lift such constraints. Results suggest that 1 to 2 percentage points of additional GDP growth per year could be gained through public expenditure reform, greater domestic competition, and tax harmonization.


PDF - 825.9 kb
32 p. (in english)

Discussion and Approval of the National Budget in Iraq

Document presented to the Iraqi Members of Parliament, within the UNDP “Program on Governance in the Arab Region”

December 2007

The paper is destined for the Iraqi MPs and aims at illustrating the central place of fiscal choices in the economy but also, and mainly, in the consolidation of the functional legitimacy of the state, which is the central concern of Iraq today.

The study insists on the serious and simultaneous challenges that Iraq is facing (the restoration of security and the reconstruction of public facilities, the rise in oil revenues, the setting of rules for federalism and the transition towards market economy) and delineates the risks that are attached to each of them and to their joint occurrence.

It depicts a synthetic image of the effective functional role of public finance and oil revenues in the national economy and shows that, rather than acting as a complement to the economic activity, they tend to represent substitutes. Hence, the problematic of fiscal decisions is envisaged at three levels: their economic and institutional content, their interrelation and sequencing and finally the various processes of decision taking.

It concludes by confronting those theoretical elements with the great challenges that the country is facing, proposing some practical orientations and emphasizing the impact of the choices in public finance and of the processes of decision taking on the form of the state.

PDF - 256.7 kb
22 p. (in arabic)
PDF - 185 kb
27 p. (in English)

Syria: Fiscal Policy Perspectives


The paper aims at analyzing the fiscal situation in Syria in order to help in the formulation of possible alternatives of fiscal policies. Beside their specific technicalities and constraints, fiscal options are approached as being a direct reflection of more general choices regarding the role of the state in managing the social and political balances in the country within its regional environment. In this perspective, Syria presents a challenging case of political economy.

After presenting the basic features of the Syrian economy, attention is devoted to understanding the rationale of the observed behaviors. The elements of choice in terms of trade-offs, management of time and available resources are then described. And finally some major options are sketched, without getting to the design of specific policies.


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Migration and Education Decisions in a Dynamic General Equilibrium Framework

Sebastien Dessus and Charbel Nahas

World Bank Policy Research Working Paper Series, number 4775

With growing international skilled labor mobility, education and migration decisions have become increasingly inter-related, and potentially have a large impact on the growth trajectories of source countries, through their effects on labor supply, savings, or the cost of education. The authors develop a generic dynamic general equilibrium model to analyze the education-migration nexus in a consistent framework. They use the model as a laboratory to test empirical conditions for the existence of net brain gain, that is, greater domestic accumulation of human capital (in per capita terms) with greater migration of skilled workers.

The results suggest that although some structural parameters can favor simultaneously greater human capital accumulation and greater skilled migration—such as high ratio of remittances over domestic incomes, high dependency ratios in migrant households, low dependency ratios in source countries, increasing returns to scale in the education sector, technological transfers and export market access with Diasporas, and efficient financial markets—this does not necessarily mean that greater migration encourages the constitution of greater stocks of human capital in source countries.