Mottaghi, Lili

Office of the Chief Economist for Middle East and North Africa
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Macroeconomics, Economic growth, Trade policy
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Last updated: January 31, 2023
Lili Mottaghi is a Senior Economist in the office of the Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa Region of the World Bank. She leads the work on regional macroeconomic outlook and has developed two semi-annual flagship publications MENA Economic Monitor and MENA Quarterly Economic Brief which presents the World Bank Group’s views on regional economic developments and prospects, growth forecast, and policy challenges. She also leads the impact evaluation research in the newly established MNA Gender Research Hub at the World Bank. Ms. Mottaghi is the author and co-author of numerous publications including articles published in international journals and World Bank reports. Her research covers a wide range of topics in macroeconomics and development including inclusive growth, technology, and the digital economy, commodity market forecast, inequality, forced displacement, and conflict. Before joining the Bank, she worked at the Management and Planning Organization in Iran where she held senior positions in the areas of economic growth, development, and macroeconomic modeling. Ms. Mottaghi received her Master and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from Claremont Graduate University and University of Tehran.

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 34
  • Publication
    Middle East and North Africa Economic Monitor, October 2017: Refugee Crisis in MENA, Meeting the Development Challenges
    (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2017-10-11) Devarajan, Shantayanan; Mottaghi, Lili
    The pickup in economic activity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is expected to continue in 2018 and 2019. MENA's oil exporters and oil importers both are benefitting from improved global growth; increased trade with trading partners in Europe and Asia; more stabilized commodity markets, especially oil; and some reforms undertaken in the region. The World Bank estimates that growth will accelerate to above 3 percent in 2019. Growth, however, remains below potential as crises and conflicts continue to damage output and reduce employment. While MENA has experienced more frequent conflicts than any other part of the world, by its magnitude, the refugee crisis represents something new. The protracted stay of refugees in hosting communities, now in its sixth year, not only has increased the risk to MENA's economic outlook but also has brought refugees' long-term development challenges to the forefront. Meeting these enormous challenges requires collective efforts.
  • Publication
    MENA Quarterly Economic Brief, January 2016: The Economic Effects of War and Peace
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2016-02-03) Devarajan, Shantayanan; Mottaghi, Lili
    This report estimates economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to fall short of expectations, at 2.6 percent in 2015, below the 2.8 percent predicted in October. Being constrained by war, terrorism and to some extent cheap oil, short term growth prospects in MENA remain “cautiously pessimistic.” Not only have the civil wars caused untold damage to human and physical capital, in Yemen the number of poor people has almost doubled after the war, but they have created one of the biggest forced displacement crises since World War II. The report examines the different ways in which civil wars are affecting the economies of the region, including the important channel of forced displacement. We also explore how economic fortunes will turn around if there is peace. A peace settlement in the war-torn Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen could lead to a swift rebound in oil output and exports, allowing them to increase fiscal space, improve current account balances and boost economic growth in the medium term with positive spillovers to the neighboring countries.
  • Publication
    Middle East and North Africa Economic Update, April 2010: Recovering from the Crisis
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-04-01) Ianchovichina, Elena; Mottaghi, Lili; Farazi, Subika; Silwal, Ani
    This edition of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regional economic update concerns the region recovering from the financial crisis along with the global economy. Growth in 2010 is expected to be 4.4 percent region-wide, driven by domestic absorption as well as a positive contribution from external demand. The recovery from the crisis differs by country depending on initial conditions and the intensity of the impact via the three principal channels through which the global financial crisis affected MENA economies-the financial sector, the price of oil, and the balance of payments, reflecting the impact on trade, remittances and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are leading the regional recovery as oil prices have rebounded and the GCC financial sector is stabilizing. Developing oil exporters felt the impact of the crisis, and now the recovery, largely through the oil price channel, due to the limited integration of their banking sectors into global financial markets and the importance of oil in their exports. The oil importers were affected by the crisis through the secondary effects on trade, remittances, and FDI flows, so their recovery will depend crucially on the recovery in key markets, especially the EU and the GCC countries. High unemployment has been a problem in MENA for years, and the crisis has dimmed prospects for improvements in the near term. Ample oil and gas resources, a youthful and growing workforce, and a growing momentum to look for ways to diversify their economies imply that the growth potential of the region is high, but MENA countries continue to face formidable longer term challenges. Ensuring access to finance without compromising financial stability will be a major challenge in MENA, although issues related to weak regulatory systems, corporate governance and overdependence on the banking system also loom large. Key problems of the business environment in MENA include policy and regulatory uncertainty and discretion in implementing reforms which prevent a level playing field for all firms and encourage the pursuit of privileged access. These problems, coupled with barriers to entry and exit, have created an environment of stagnation. Addressing these issues will require applying rules and regulations consistently and without discrimination among firms and introducing reforms that promote business dynamism, private investment, and innovation.
  • Publication
    Middle East and North Africa Economic Monitor, October 2016: Economic and Social Inclusion to Prevent Violent Extremism
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2016-10-05) Devarajan, Shantayanan; Mottaghi, Lili; Joubert, Clement; Bhatia, Kartika; Abdel-Jelil, Mohamed
    The year 2016 appears to be one of the toughest for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as their governments face serious policy challenges. The biggest challenge for oil exporters is managing their finances and diversification strategies with oil below $45 a barrel. Fiscal consolidation in a difficult sociopolitical environment and spillovers from conflicts are creating challenges for oil importers as well. Real GOP growth in MENA for 2016 is projected to fall to its lowest level since 2013 -- 2.3 percent -- lower than last year's growth by half a percentage point and about one percentage point lower than predicted in April 2016. It is clear that the disappointing performance of the MENA economies, and possibly the global economy, is partly due to the rise of terrorist attacks and spread of violent extremism. In this report, we attempt to shed light on the underlying causes of this phenomenon by applying an economic perspective to the demand for and supply of violent extremists. Looking at a dataset on foreign fighters joining Daesh, we find that the factors most strongly associated with foreign individuals' joining Daesh have to do with a lack of inclusion -- economic, social and religious -- in their country of origin. Promoting greater inclusion, therefore, could not only bring down the level of violent extremism, but it could improve economic performance in the MENA region.
  • Publication
    MENA Economies Hit by Conflicts, Civil Wars, and Lower Oil Prices
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-10) Mottaghi, Lili
    Against the backdrop of a slowing global economy and lower commodity prices, economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is stagnating. The World Bank 2015 MENA economic monitor report projects overall gross domestic product (GDP) growth to be less than 3 percent for the third year running - about 2.8 percent for 2015. Low oil prices, conflicts, and the global economic slowdown make short-term prospects of recovery unlikely. In a positive scenario of decreasing tensions in Libya, Iraq, and Syria, together with recovery in the Euro area that can boost external demand, growth in the region can rebound to 4.4 percent in 2016 and the following year. However, if current circumstances persist, overall growth is not expected to recover any time soon. Since the 2011 Arab spring, though not necessarily because of it, the MENA region has seen a slowdown in economic growth, an escalation of violence and civil war and, more recently, substantial macroeconomic imbalances from lower oil prices.
  • Publication
    What Can MENA Governments Expect in 2016?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-10) Mottaghi, Lili
    This year will be the fifth consecutive year with global growth below its long-term trend of 3.5% observed during 2000-07, standing at last year’s 2.4%. This is 0.5% below January’s forecast. Many countries are plagued by recession, several others suffer from terrorist attacks and refugee crises, while some are mired in civil wars together with extremely uncertain commodity markets, especially oil. The result has been lower potential output and investment, and weaker global demand. In advanced economies, real growth remained uncomfortably low, almost 1% below the long term average from 2000 to 2007.
  • Publication
    MENA Quarterly Economic Brief, July 2014 : Predictions, Perceptions and Economic Reality
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2014-07) Devarajan, Shanta; Mottaghi, Lili
    This issue of the MENA quarterly brief assesses the macroeconomic performance of seven of the MENA countries: Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen and Libya. All of these countries experienced rapid economic growth during 2000-10, and suffered a sharp economic slowdown in the aftermath of 2011. The brief focuses on the challenges facing these countries with a closer look at the actual growth performance in comparison with their forecasts and highlights the limitations of forecasting in the wake of the 2011 uprisings; and at the consequences of the growth slowdown, including unemployment, where perceptions may diverge from reality. The story is told in fourteen charts.
  • Publication
    Middle East and North Africa Economic Monitor, April 2015: Towards a New Social Contract
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015-04) Devarajan, Shantayanan; Mottaghi, Lili
    The economic outlook for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in 2015 is slightly more favorable than in 2013-14, when the region as a whole grew at 3 percent a year. The World Bank group’s latest MENA Economic Monitor projects MENA’s economic growth to average 5.2 percent in 2015 driven by domestic consumption, easing political tensions crowding-in investments in Egypt and Tunisia, and full resumption of oil production in Libya. However the violent conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Gaza, Yemen and Libya with their spillovers to Lebanon and Jordan could make MENA’s economic prospects bleak. The report has a special focus on the corrosive nature of the large energy subsidies in MENA. The MENA region is currently experiencing growth below potential, high unemployment, urban air pollution and congestion, and severe water scarcity that is undermining agriculture. The report shows how energy subsidies have contributed to these development challenges. Reforming these subsidies, therefore, should be one of the highest priorities of policymakers.
  • Publication
    Child Care Subsidies, Employment Services and Women's Labor Market Outcomes in Egypt: First Midline Results
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-07) Caria, Stefano; Crepon, Bruno; ElBehairy, Hala; Fadlalmawla, Noha; Krafft, Caroline; Nagy, Abdelrahman; Mottaghi, Lili; Zeitoun, Nahla; El Assiouty, Souraya
    This paper contributes to the existing literature in several important ways. The existing literature on the impact of childcare subsidies is from contexts with relatively higher rates of female labor force participation. This work is thus an important test of whether alleviating care responsibilities and reducing the opportunity cost of women working through childcare subsidies can increase women’s participation in contexts and populations with lower participation. Likewise, although there is a sizable body of literature on employment services interventions, there is less evidence on whether they can help married women with young children. Lastly, recognizing that women in Egypt face a multitude of employment constraints, our experiment tests whether a combination of employment services and childcare subsidies has important complementarities, by alleviating multiple constraints at the same time. This paper examines the impact of the interventions on job search outcomes for women 3-4 months after the baseline survey and assignment to treatment for approximately half the planned sample. The first midline survey examines specifically job search behaviors: reservation wages, reservation job quality, and job search effort. The authors also discuss take-up of the two interventions and contextualize take-up and outcomes with information on norms about women’s work and childcare.
  • Publication
    Middle East and North Africa Region Little Data Book, April 2012
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-04) Mottaghi, Lili
    The data in this book are based on World Bank's World Development Indicators (WDI) 2011. The data are for 2009 and 2010 or the most recent year unless otherwise noted. Glossary contains definitions of the terms used in the tables.