Sameh Hallaq

  • Working Paper No. 1007 | May 2022
    Evidence from West Bank Schools
    The current study aims to investigate the impact of academic achievement on child labor. The study utilizes survey data collected from Palestinian children in West Bank schools who are in the primary grades (5th–9th). The results show that increasing a child’s academic achievement is significantly associated with decreasing the probability that a child works for money in the following period. Our findings varied among children according to their gender, age, and parental academic background. Our analyses are subject to different specifications, including two-stage least squares (2SLS) to account for potential endogeneity. The results provide robust evidence about the linkage between school performance and child labor in the West Bank. Further, the study proposes an assessment of the child’s mental health problems by the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) as a potential mechanism through which the child’s achievement at school affects child labor.
    Associated Program:
    Sameh Hallaq Ayman Khalifah
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  • Working Paper No. 976 | November 2020
    This paper consists of three economic literature review essays that survey the Palestinian labor market during the last three decades. The first essay examines the economic return to schooling since 1981 until the recent period, taking into consideration the major shocks that the Palestinian economy experienced, such as the First and Second Palestinian Intifadas (1987–93 and 2000–5), respectively, and the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority in 1993. A special focus is laid on overcoming the potential endogeneity arising from the schooling coefficient. The second essay discusses the economic costs of several conflict measures (e.g., time and geographical variation in fatalities and other conflict incidents, days under curfews, checkpoints, movement restrictions, and substitution of foreigner workers for Palestinian labor) on the labor market and human capital. Earnings and unemployment are the main labor market indicators, while the human capital impact was assessed by educational attainment. The third essay sheds light on the wage differential in the Palestinian labor market due to geographical and employment sector factors.

  • Working Paper No. 965 | July 2020
    This paper attempts to estimate the intergenerational transmission of human capital in Palestine. The main question is whether formal parental education improves their offspring’s cognitive skills and school achievements. I use the instrumental variable (IV) method in the estimations to overcome the potential endogeneity of parental education. The main source of variation in parental educational attainment is parents’ exposure to the First Palestinian Intifada (1988–93) during their middle- and high school ages. During the First Palestinian Intifada, many school days were lost due to frequent school closures and other restrictions. Furthermore, many young people preferred to search for low-skill employment in Israel, since it provided them with better wages than the local labor market and hardly required any level of educational attainment. This study employs two outcomes, namely the standardized cognitive test scores and school achievements during the academic year 2012/13 for students between grade 5 and grade 9 in West Bank schools. Overall, the results support the hypothesis of a human capital spillover but more so for girls than for boys, where the IV results are often insignificant because of their large standard errors.

  • Working Paper No. 955 | May 2020
    Evidence from West Bank Schools
    This study uses rich administrative and survey data to investigate the effects of class size on students’ cognitive tests as well as bullying and violent behavior. I use the maximum class size rule to create a regression discontinuity (RD) relation between cohort enrollment size and class size in the public and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school system in the West Bank. In addition, I provide evidence that there is no violation of the RD assumptions resulting from discontinuities in the relationship between enrollment and students’ household background at cutoff points induced by a maximum class size rule. The main findings suggest that class size has no direct impact on students’ cognitive skills except for those in grade six. However, class size reduction improves the quality of life for children by mitigating the bullying and violent behavior among pupils that may negatively affect their achievements. Finally, I point to peer relations and mental health problems as a potential mechanism through which class size affects children’s self-reported bullying–victim instances and violent behavior.

  • Working Paper No. 941 | December 2019
    This paper measures the wage differential between Palestinian non-refugees and Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza over the years 1999–2012. First, the main individual and occupational differences between the two groups in the two regions are presented. Then, the wage differential is decomposed into two components: a “human capital effect, explained part” and a “coefficient effect, unexplained part.” Second, findings suggest that though the wage gap has always existed and favored non-refugees in the West Bank, it has a more substantial impact among low-skilled workers and those in the private sector. Furthermore, most of this gap is attributed to the unexplained part of the wage decomposition model. In Gaza, the wage gap favored refugee workers. Most of this wage gap among unskilled workers is attributed to the endowment/human capital effect, while for skilled workers most of the wage gap is due to the unexplained part—the “coefficient effect”—after 2006.

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