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Omar Ahmad Al-Ubaydli

Omar Ahmad Al-Ubaydli

Omar Al-Ubaydli is an affiliated senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a senior fellow at the Bahrain Center for Strategic, International, and Energy Studies, and an affiliated associate professor of economics at George Mason University.

Articles by Omar Ahmad Al-Ubaydli

Big Football Clubs Skew VAR to Their Own Benefit With the Game’s Integrity Lost

24 days ago

In my last ever game of football in the US in 2012, as a defender with limited technique, I always played within my ability, meaning choosing short passes or aimless punts over attempting to dribble past opponents. But since it was my final game before hanging up my boots, I decided that I would stride into the penalty area and dive in an attempt to secure a penalty. As I hit the deck, the laughter from the remaining 21 players and three officials was raucous.Many professional players are adept at securing penalties by diving much better than me.AdvertisementFootball associations from across the world, today are successfully using video assisted refereeing (VAR) to combat this.For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.However,

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Cousin Marriage and Gender Inequality

May 5, 2021

People in Western countries often cringe at the thought of first or second cousins tying the knot, a practice known as consanguineous marriage. However, in the Middle East and many other regions, such nuptials are natural. Moreover, due to rising gender inequality in the Middle East, consanguineous marriage may actually become more frequent.
There are many reasons why people might seek to marry their relatives. First, due to shared cultural values and social circles, there is a higher likelihood of spousal compatibility. Second, premarital negotiations over financial and living arrangements are usually easier between close relatives. Third, since relatives tend to live close to each other, a marriage between cousins increases the

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Economics 101: Is Energy-Efficient Housing a Waste of Money?

June 13, 2018

Many countries have started to introduce energy-efficient building codes as part of global efforts to reduce pollution and combat global warming. The fact that they can generate financial savings means households and organisations are often willing to implement energy-efficient modifications to their construction projects independent of any broader environmental benefits. But are the sometimes costly investments worthwhile?
A recent study by Lucas Davis from the University of California at Berkley, Sebastian Martinez and Bibiana Taboada – both at the Inter-American Development Bank – suggests that the electricity usage in houses with energy-efficient upgrades may be indistinguishable from that of regular houses. Their findings came as a shock to many observers, since the engineering

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Disaster Relief: Lessons from the Chicago Fire of 1871

September 12, 2017

The damage wrought by Hurricane Harvey has dominated headlines since the end of August and Irma is now garnering similar coverage.
The US president Donald Trump has overseen what has largely been an effective, centralized response to the natural disasters; but with many climate experts claiming that we should prepare for a higher frequency of extreme weather events, does the current emphasis on top-down disaster relief favored in the US and beyond represent the best strategy?
Emily Skarbek, a professor at Brown University, approached this question by studying one of the most famous catastrophes of the 19th century, the Chicago fire of 1871. Prof Skarbek began by noting that scholars and laypeople alike are convinced that there is no substitute for the resources and direction that

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Corporate vs. Government Scandals

May 9, 2017

Recent U.S. presidential administrations are cultivating quite the reputation for scandal, with Donald Trump’s perceived conflicts of interest, Barack Obama’s seemingly unbounded surveillance program, or George W. Bush’s controversial justification for invading Iraq. Corporate scandals, meanwhile — think a United Airlines passenger being assaulted, exploding Samsung telephones, or Bernie Madoff — can arouse similar, or sometimes even greater, public outrage. Yet between a typical political scandal and a garden-variety corporate one, the latter is generally the lesser of two evils.
Many frustrated U.S. citizens feel unable to hold the politicians responsible for government scandals accountable. Voting them out of office is an incredibly coarse — and mild — punishment mechanism, while the

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Enabling Decentralized Gulf Cooperation

September 16, 2016

Expert Commentary

In the wake of falling oil prices and regional instability, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are looking for new economic opportunities. Generally speaking, experts encourage economic integration, because specialization in production, and operating in larger markets, constitute two of the most important sources of prosperity. The GCC governments have subscribed to this view for some time, having launched an economic aggrandizement project following the establishment of the GCC in 1981, comprising a free trade area, a customs union, a single market, and plans for a single currency. The European Union’s (EU) pre-2010 economic achievements played an important role in convincing the GCC countries of the importance of such steps. However, the Gulf countries have also struggled to realize the largest potential gains due to a failure to correctly implement the integration plans. This failure can be attributed to a lack of compliance by the six member states regarding the legislation passed by the GCC Supreme Council, especially in the period after 2000, which included the customs union and the single market. In principle, a GCC citizen should face the same treatment in most of his personal, commercial, educational, etc. affairs in each Gulf country.

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Borrowing in the Present Means Payback in Future

September 7, 2016

Expert Commentary

The UAE offers economic opportunities to the rich and poor. For those with modest means, trying to move up the ladder often requires incurring substantial debt at the outset. That is why, according to one recent estimate, the average UAE resident owes creditors Dh41,000. A mixture of poor planning and bad fortune mean that for a subset, the debt becomes unmanageable. The National’s online Debt Panel is replete with letters from distressed borrowers searching for a way out of debt cycles; what is that makes humans so prone to these difficult episodes? There are two main psychological phenomena that get us into trouble: hyperbolic discounting, and the good news-bad news effect. It is human nature to exhibit a preference for consuming things in the present rather than the future; this is described as discounting the future. To understand hyperbolic discounting, which is a cognitive bias that is useful to economists trying to understand personal debt problems, we first have to grasp its simpler antecedent, exponential discounting. When you make a choice that involves a future act, absent the arrival of any new, relevant information, when that future time arrives, you should stick to what you planned to do. This is known as exponential discounting of the future, and someone conforming to it is being dynamically consistent.

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