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Service sector restrictiveness and economic performance: an estimation for the MENA region

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This article aims to assess barriers to service provision in the banking and telecom sectors of four Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, and the impact of these barriers on firm performance. Our methodology involves the computation of aggregate and modal trade restrictiveness indices (TRIs) by sector, and utilisation of these TRIs as regressors of firms' economic performance. Our analysis shows that significant regulatory reforms have taken place in the service sectors over the last decade in the MENA region, but that a broad range of restrictions still remain. The most significant change in these service sectors has been the lifting or softening of constraints on foreign equity participation. These regulatory reforms, however, have had varying degrees of impact on market structure depending on the country, the sector and the mode. Moreover, service restrictions have had an impact on economic performance in the three studied sectors. While a rent-creating effect seems to dominate restrictions on banking and fixed telecom sectors, a cost-inefficiency effect seems to dominate the mobile telecom sector. Finally, we find evidence of interactions between modal restrictions for banking services. Our results suggest a complementarity between Modes 3 and 1, as well as a substitution effect between Modes 3 and 4 in the banking sector.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/39025/

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