Financial Market Integration and Macroeconomic Volatility in the MENA Region: An Empirical Investigation
Simon Neaime ()
Review of Middle East Economics and Finance, 2005, vol. 3, issue 3, 59-83
Using panel data regression models this study examines empirically the impact of regional and international financial integration on macroeconomic volatility in the developing economies of the MENA region over the period 1980–2002. Our empirical results indicate that financial openness is associated with an increase in consumption volatility, contrary to the notions of improved international risk-sharing opportunities through financial integration. Our empirical findings emphasize the role of sound fiscal and monetary policies in driving macroeconomic volatility. In regard to structural reforms, the development of the domestic financial sector is critical, as a high degree of financial sector development is significantly associated with lower macroeconomic volatility. We argue that enhancing regional financial integration might constitute a venue to circumvent the vulnerability of the small open MENA economies to external shocks, and a mean to enhance consumption smoothing opportunities, as well as international financial integration.
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