The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
We estimate the elasticity of private-sector employment to non-oil GDP in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for GCC nationals and expatriates using a Seemingly Unrelated Error Correction (SUREC) model. Our results indicate that the employment response is lower for nationals, who have an estimated short-run elasticity of only 0.15 and a long-run response of 0.7 or less. The elasticity is almost unity for expatriates in the long run and 0.35 in the short run. We interpret low elasticities as indirect evidence of labor market adjustment costs, which could include hiring and firing rigidities, skills mismatches, and reluctance to accept private sector jobs. Forecasts suggest that, absent measures to reduce adjustment costs, the private sector will only be able to absorb a small portion of nationals entering the labor force.