Using a unique dataset, the study fills an important empirical gap in discussions about labor outcomes in the Arab region by estimating the rates of return to education (RoRE) for all 22 Arab countries. Since we use the same global data set and empirical specification for all countries of the world, our estimates are comparable between countries and between regions of the world. Compared to other regions, our results for the Arab region show that the RoRE are low but, in relative terms, those for Arab women are higher than those for Arab men. Similarly we find that the region has on average a zero public sector wage premium for men but a high one for women. The public sector premium is high for men in the GCC but low, even negative, in the rest of the region. Still, the overall RoRE are lowest in the GCC.
This paper exploits a unique source of data, the Gallup World Poll, and is the first cross-country empirical investigation of veiling patterns in Muslim-majority countries, complementing a rich literature on veiling from other disciplinary perspectives. We find evidence of links between veiling and religiosity, age, education levels, marital status, support for political Islam, and employment status. On the basis of these correlations, we discuss possible reasons for why women veil. These include: to conform to religious beliefs, as a sign of obedience to the patriarchal bargain, to increase their mobility outside the home, to protect against the threat of violence, and to signal their support for political Islam.