Poverty, Job Quality and Labor Market Dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa

Unemployment is one of the main economic, social and political problems facing governments in the Middle East and North Africa. The nature and scale of the problem are not captured by aggregate unemployment statistics. Young people constitute 82% of the unemployed (2006) and women are four times more likely than men to be unemployed. The problem is compounded by youthful populations, low quality education, bloated public sectors and low productivity levels in small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

This project will explore links between labour market dynamics and the quality of jobs in three varied settings. Egypt features low job quality and a large gender gap. Morocco conforms to Egypt to a significant degree. Jordan offers an exception, however, apparently related to greater diversification and better industrial export performance. The project aims to update knowledge on labour market functioning and outcomes, and the quality of jobs for women, men and young people in the three counties. The extent of cross country comparison will be determined by data limitations: panel data exist for Egypt for 1998-2006, but data from the other two countries are more limited.

The project will generate policy recommendations for enhancing job quality for the poor.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Sunday, August 26, 2007

End Date

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


24 months

IDRC Officer

Joekes, Susan

Total funding

CA$ 353,700


Middle East, North of Sahara, South of Sahara, Central Asia, Far East Asia, South Asia, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt


Employment and Growth

Project Leader

Dr. Assaad, Ragui


Population Council

Institution Country


Institution Website