Jeff Nugent

Professor of Economics and Business
Pronouns He / Him / His Email Office KAP 318C Office Phone (213) 740-2107

Research & Practice Areas

Empirical research assessing the impacts of development programs and policies,political economy of policy reform. Special emphasis on labor market and trade reforms and on applications to the MENA region.

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • Center for International Studies (USC), Member, had served on Board
  • Economic Research Forum, Senior Research Associate
  • Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Research Fellow
  • Populational Research Laboratory (USC),


Jeffrey B. Nugent is Professor of Economics at University of Southern California in Los Angeles where he teaches Development Economics. He has applied a variety of analytical techniques to a wide variety of development issues to countries from all parts of the developing world. Recent interests include: trade, foreign investment, household investments, health program assessments, income distribution, new institutional economics and political economy of development. His books include: Economic Integration in Central America: Empirical Investigations, Economics of Development: Empirical Investigations (with Pan Yotopoulos), New Institutional Economics and Development: Theory and Applications to Tunisia (with Mustapha Nabli), Fulfilling the Export Potential of Small and Medium Firms (with Albert Berry and Brian Levy). He has written over one hundred articles in refereed journals, numerous chapters in edited volumes and edited or co-edited four books, the most recent being a volume (with Hashem Pesaran) Explaining Growth in the Middle East. He serves on the Board of Directors of several economic associations, editorial boards of several journals and is president of the Middle East Economic Association.


  • Ph.D. Economics, New School for Social Research, 1/1965
  • M.A. Economics, New School for Social Research, 1/1961
  • B.A. American Studies, Amherst College, 1/1957
    • Visiting Scholar, Syracuse University, Maxwell School, 05/1961-08/1961
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Professor of Economics, University of Southern California, 01/01/1976 –
    • Associate Professor of Economics, University of Southern California, 01/01/1969 – 01/01/1976
    • Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Southern California, 01/01/1964 – 01/01/1969

    Visiting and Temporary Appointments

    • Visiting Lecturer, GRIPS, Tokyo, Japan, 07/29/2007-08/08/2007
    • Visting Lecturer, University of Calabria, 05/2000-06/2000
    • Visiting Scholar, CERGE-EI, Charles University, 05/1998-07/1998
    • Visiting Research Scholar, Inst. National de la Recherche Agronomique, Toulouse,
    • Visiting Research Fellow, Korea Development Institute,
    • Visiting Research Scholar, University of Barcelona,
    • Visiting Research Scholar, Cairo University, 05/1988-06/1988
    • Visiting Professor, Graduate School of the People’s Bank of China, 07/1988-08/1988
    • Visiting Research Scholar, Visva Bharati University, 11/1986-01/1987
    • Visiting Fellow, University of Warwick, 06/1986-07/1986
    • Linkage Coordinator , University of Tunis, 06/1982-08/1986
    • Lecturer, UCLA, 1972-1973
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Professor Nugent researches institutions and development, the political economy of growth, small- and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises, contractual choice, old age security and fertility and regional (supranational) coordination of industrial development in developing countries. He is also interested in economic integration, the role of exchange rate movements in the rise and fall of civilizations, empirical investigations in economic development and China’s TVEs and their incentive structure. Currenlty, professor Nugent is studying econometric modelling of the development process, inflation in Latin America, and the determinants and effects of institutional change.Much of his most recent research involves trade, institutions, industrial development and political economy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. In this region, he is currently especially interested in the effects on health of Syrian refugees in Turkey of the violence inflicted on them, and differences between parents and their children . Also in Asia more generally, I am interested in the effects of China’s huge and very controversial Belt and Road Initiative on both Chia and the other countries involved

    Research Keywords

    institutions and development, political economy of reform, functions of business associations, small and medium sized manufacturing enterprises, contractual choice, old age security and fertility, economic integration, oil prices and their effects, management of oil revenues, and effects on democratic and other institutions.
    Also identifying the determinants of aggressive behavior between pairs of trading partners and the relevance of their institutional characteristics .

    Detailed Statement of Research Interests

    Some of my most recent research involves identifying the determinants and effects of labor market reforms, specifically changes the labor market laws, and sources of corruption. The determinants included include both background factors like, the type of legal system, the level of development, size of country, trade patterns and crises, different types of permits that firms need, both several types of economic crises and political crises and governance types. The effects include those in unemployment rates, growth, the size of the informal sector, female labor sorce participation, the incidence of corruption and interactions of the laws with their enforcement are also considered.
    Another project concerns labor market issues in MENA cxountries, including those resulting from the demographic bulge emanating from the huge increases in relatively well educated new entrants to the labor market.that MENA countries have been witnessing, the mismatch between the skills coming out of the educational system and those demanded by modern business.
    Still another area of deep concern for me are the costs and benefits of alternative mechanisms for promoting peace and decreasing conflict between nations or regions thereof, such as between Israel and Palestinians and its neighboring Arab countries, on the one hand, and on the other hand, the determinants and costs of international refugees, such as those from Syria.

  • Conference Presentations

    • “Oil Prices and Life Satisfaction: Are There Asymmetries between Oil Exporting and Importing Countries?” Lecture/Seminar, Baylor University, Invited, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, 10/21/2011
    • “A First Look at the Dynamics of Labor Market Regulations in MENA Countries” , CREMED-MEEATalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Barcelona, 06/21/2011 – 06/24/2011
    • “A Quiz on on the QIZs of Jordan and Egypt with Israel” Lecture/Seminar, Speyer, Invited, Speyer University, Germany, 06/02/2011
    • “Korea’s Industrial Development: Views from Afar” , 60 Years of Development of the Korean EconomyTalk/Oral Presentation, The Korea Development Institute, Invited, Seoul, Korea, 08/29/2010 – 08/31/2010
    • “A Quiz on QIZs: Trade Diversion, Trade Creation and Other Effects” , 16th Annual Conference of ERFTalk/Oral Presentation, ERF, Invited, Cairo, Egypt, 2009-2010
    • “”Firm Litigation in Commercial Disputes: Who Litigates, When and Why? Any Role for Institutional Influences? : Evidence from Transition Economies”, ” , Western Economic Association International Talk/Oral Presentation, WEAI, Invited, Portland, Oregon, 06/29/2010 – 07/02/2010
    • “A Quiz on the QIZs of Jordan and Egypt: Have They Achieved Their Objectives?” , 85th Annual Conference of the Western Economic Association InternationalLecture/Seminar, WEAI, Invited, Portland, Oregon, 06/29/2010 – 07/02/2010
    • “A Quiz on the QIZs of Jordan and Egypt: Have They Achieved Their Objectives? ” , Ninth International Conference of the MEEATalk/Oral Presentation, Middle East Economic Association, Invited, Istanbul Technical University, 06/24/2010 – 06/26/2010
    • “The Economic Effects of Aging throughout the World” , Economics Honors SocietyyTalk/Oral Presentation, Economics Honors Society, Invited, West Los Angeles College, 05/26/2010
    • “Midwives and Maternal Mortality: How Effective Has Indonesia’s Village Midwife Program Been? ” Lecture/Seminar, University of California, Riverside , Invited, 04/30/2010
    • “”Firm Litigation in Commercial Disputes: Who Litigates, When and Why? Any Role for Institutional Influences? : Evidence from Transition Economies”, ” , First Turgut Ozal International Conference on Economics and Politics. Keynote Lecture, The Conference , Invited, Inonu University, Malatya, Turkey, 04/15/2010 – 04/16/2010
    • “”Signaling Quality: How and to What Effect on Firm Finance in Weak Institutional Environments” ” , Pacific Coast Development Conference Talk/Oral Presentation, Pacific Coast Development Conference, Invited, USC, 03/13/2010
    • “A New Dataset of Labor Market Rigidity and Reform Indexes for up to 145 Countries Since 1960 in Some Cases (LAMRIG)* ” , Labor Market Measures and Reform in Developing and Transition CountriesTalk/Oral Presentation, IZA, Invited, Bonn, Germany, 09/08/2009 – 09/10/2009
    • “Signalling Quality: What Effect on Firm Finance in Weak Institutional Environments? ” , WEAI Annual ConferenceTalk/Oral Presentation, WEAI, Invited, Vancouver, 2008-2009
    • “”Quality of Primary Education and Inequality among MENA Countries ” , Western Economic Association International Talk/Oral Presentation, WEAI, Invited, Vancouver, 07/01/2009 – 07/03/2009
    • “Revisiting Carlos Diaz Alejandro on the Ability of Latin American Countries to Get out of the Great Depression” , Western Economic AssociationTalk/Oral Presentation, WEAI, Invited, Vancouver, 07/01/2009 – 07/03/2009
    • “The Economic Implications of Aging around the World” Keynote Lecture, Whitman College , Invited, Whitman College, 04/28/2009 – 05/02/2009
    • “Business Associations and their Functions: Do They Matter for Firm Performance?” , Univ. of San FranciscoLecture/Seminar, USF, Invited, San Francisco, 12/06/2008
    • “Intergenerational Transmissio of and Returns to Human Capital and Changes Therein Over Time: Empirical Evidence from Egypt” , 15th Annual Conference of the Economic Research Forum, Cairo EgyptTalk/Oral Presentation, ERF, Invited, Cairo, 11/20/2008 – 11/22/2008
    • “Assessing Maternal Mortality Effects of Indonesia’s Village Midwife Program ” , Advances In Development Economics, University of TokyoTalk/Oral Presentation, University of Tokyo, Invited, Tokyo, 2007-2008
    • “”Quality of Primary Education and Inequality among MENA Countries” , Middle East Economic AssociationTalk/Oral Presentation, 2006-2007
    • “A Model of Labor Markets in GCC Countries” , Middle East Economic AssociationTalk/Oral Presentation, 2006-2007
    • “Crises, What Crises?” , Turkish Economic Association (TEA)Talk/Oral Presentation, ICE TEA, Invited, Ankara, 2006-2007
    • “The Effects of Aging on Economic Structure” , Conference on Aging, TokyoTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, 2006-2007

    Other Presentations

    • “Lobbying or Information Provision: Which Functions of Associations Matter Most for Member Performance? “, Seminar Presentation, Guelph, Ontario, CA, 2009-2010
  • Book

    • Nugent, J. B., Pesaran, H. (2006). Explaining Gowth in the Middle East, Amsterdam: Elsevier, Contributions to Economic Analysis Series. Amsterdam: Elsevier, Contributions to Economic Analysis Series.
    • Nugent, J. B., Hakimian, H. (2003). Trade Policy and Economic Integration in the Middle East and North Africa. London and New York: Routledge.
    • Levy, B., Berry, A., Nugent, J. B. (1999). Fulfilling the Export Potential of Small and Medium Firmswith Brian Levy and Albert BerryBoston, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publisher, 1999. Boston: Kluwer.
    • Nugent, J. B. (1991). Theory of Development and Transitions to Market Economies (in Vietnamese)Hanoi: Central Plan Committee, 1991.
    • Nabli, M. K., Nugent, J. B. (1989). New Institutional Economics and Development: Theory and Applications to Tunisiawith Mustapha K. Nabli and OthersAmsterdam: North-Holland, Contributions to Economic Analysis Series, 1989. (Nabli and Nugent, Ed.).Amsterdam: Elsevier.

    Book Chapter

    • Agostino, M., Giunta, A., Scalera, D., Nugent, J. B., Trivieri, F. (2010). “Italian subcontractor manufacturing firm in the global value chains. A comparison of productivity performance. Reti di Imprese e territorio:tra vincoli e nuove oBologna, Italy: Il Mulino.
    • Nugent, J. B. (2010). Old Age Security: Families vs Governments or Families and Governments. Demographic Transition: An Asian PerspectiveNew Delhi: Konark.
    • Nugent, J. B. (2010). “Korea’s Industrial Development: Views from Afar”. The Korean Economy: Six Decades of Growth and DeveSeoul: Korea Development Institute.
    • Nugent, J. B., Glezakos, C. (2010). To What Extent Does Greece Underperform in its Efforts to Attract FDI Relative to Its Regional Competitors and Why?”. 50th Anniversary Volume of the Founding of the CenAthens: Center of Planning and Economic Research.
    • Nugent, J. B. (2009). Bahrain-US Relations. pp. 139-162. London/Routledge: Handbook of US-Middle East Relations.
    • Nugent, J. B., Armey, L. (2009). Civil Wars and Their Determinants: Are MENA Countries Different?.
    • Nugent, J. B., Miniesy, R. (2008). Are There Shortfalls in MENA Trade? If So, to What Can They Be Attributed?. pp. 197-238. Naples: Sprint Campania: Bridging the Gap: The Role of Trade and FDI in the Mediterranean.
    • Nugent, J. B. (2008). Bridging the EU-Southern Mediterranean Gap through Trade and FDI: Are They Doing It and What Have We Learned?. pp. 715-722. Naples: Sprint Campania: Bridging the Gap: The Role of Trade and FDI in the Mediterranean ..
    • Kuran, T., Nugent, J. B. (2007). Economic Development. London: Oxford University Press: Encyclopedia of Islam.
    • Nugent, J. B., Glezakos, C. (2007). Why Does It Take So Long to Collect on a Bad Check through the Courts? A Case of Institutional Path Dependence?.
    • Nugent, J. B., Pesaran, M. H. (2007). Introduction Explaining Growth in the Middle East. Contribution to Economic Analysis (Vol. 278) pp. p.1-30. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
    • Miniesy, R., Nugent, J. B. (2006). With Whom To Trade? An Examination of the Effects of Intra-national and Between -Country income Inequality on Bilateral Trade. pp. p.119-152. London: Routledge.
    • Nugent, J. B., Swaminathan, S. (2006). Household Investments in Education and Income Inequality at the Community Level. pp. p.109-130. London: Routledge.
    • Nugent, J. B., Swaminathan, S. (2006). Voluntary Contributions to Informal Activities Producing Public Goods: Can These be Induced by Goverment and other Formal Sector Agents. pp. Ch. 14. London: Oxford University Press.
    • Nugent, J. B. (2005). Jordan’s Patterns and Prospects of Trade and FDI: Some Inplications of Euro-Med GAFTA and the QIZ. pp. p.273-297. Amman: University of Jordan: Center for Strategic Studies.
    • Datta, S. K., Howe, L., Nugent, J. B. (2005). Joint Forest Management Experience and Modelling. pp. p.223-252. Dordrecht: Springer.
    • Nugent, J. B. (2005). The Role of Institutions in Development Performance. pp. p.11-36. Kuwait: Arab Planning Institute.
    • Nugent, J. B., Miniesy, R. (2005). Egyptian Compettiveness in International Trade: Evidence from a Gravity Model of Bilateral Trade and Various Institutional Indicators. pp. p.122-136. Cairo: Cairo University Press, Center for Economic and Financial Research and Studies.
    • Nugent, J. B., Hakimian, H. (2004). Introduction. pp. p.1-10. London, UK / New York, NY: Routledge.
    • Miniesy, R. S., Nugent, J. B., Yousef, T. M. (2004). Intra-regional Trade Integration in the Middle East: Past Performance and Future Potential. pp. p.41-65. London, UK / New York, NY: Routledge.

    Journal Article

    • Nugent, J. B. (2011). Institutions and Development: Generalizations that Endanger Progress. Journal of Institutional Economics.
    • Sukiassyan, G., Nugent, J. B. (2010). Lobbying or Information Provision: Which Functions of Associations Matter Most for Member Performance?. Eastern European Economics.
    • Bhaumik, S., Dimova, R., Nugent, J. B. (2010). Off-farm Labor Supply and Labor Markets in Rapidly Changing Circumstances: Bulgaria during Transition. Economic Systems.
    • Nugent, J. B. (2010). Crises, What Crises?. Journal of Development Studies.
    • Nugent, J. B., Robinson, J. A. (2010). Are Endowments Fate?. Journal of Iberian and Latin America Economic History,Revista Hispanic. Vol. 28 (1), pp. 45-82.
    • Nugent, J. B. (2009). Alternative Strategies for Firms in Oppressive and Corrupt States: Informality or Formality via Business Associations. Contemporary Economic Policy. Vol. 27 (4), pp. 423-439.
    • Bhaumik, S., Nugent, J. B. (2009). Real Options and Demographic Decisions: Empirical Evidence from East and West Germany Children?: Evidence from Eastern Germany”. Applied Economics.
    • Nugent, J. B., Sukiassyan, G. (2009). Small Firms and Formality: The Influence of Judicial Efficiency and Regulations Costs. Review of Industrial Organization. Vol. 34, pp. 349-371.
    • Hsiao, C., Nugent, J. B., Shen, Y. (2008). Foreign Direct Investment and the Importance of Institutions — A Reconciliation of Cross-Sectional and Panel Data Analysis. India Macroeconomics Annual 2008. pp. 39-58.
    • Nugent, J. B. (2008). Institutions and Economic Performance: The Use and Abuse of Culture in New Institutional Economics: Response to Steven Heydemann. Studies in Comparative International Development. Vol. 43 ((2)), pp. 206-217.
    • Motiram, S., Nugent, J. B. (2008). Economic and Political Inequality and the Quality of Public Education: An Empirical Analysis*. International Journal of Development Issues. Vol. 6 (2), pp. 142-167.
    • Nugent, J. B., Sukiassyan, G. (2008). Associations vs. Registration with Authorities as Alternative Strategies of Small Firms for Dealing with Contract Enforcement Problems in the Presence of Judicial Inefficiency,. Small Business Economics. Vol. 31, pp. 147-165.
    • Nugent, J. B. (2007). Inequality, Quality of Primary Education and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Well Being and Social Policy. Vol. 3 ((1)), pp. 5-24.
    • Cheng, H., Hsiao, C., Nugent, J. B., Qiu, J. (2006). Managerial Autonomy, Contractual Incentives and Productivity in a Transition Economy: Some Evidence from China’s TVEs. Pacific Economic Review/Blackwell. Vol. 11 (3), pp. 323-349.


    • Nugent, J. B.Nueva Economia Institucional
      Special Issue V 19, No 56, September-December 1991, Cuadernos de Economia
      with Samar Datta and Others
      Barcelona: University of Barcelona.
    • The Dudley Seers Award (with Nauro Campos and Cheng Hsiao) for the best article published in the Journal of Development Studies in 2010, 2011-2012
    • Advances in Development Economics (conference in honor of Jeffrey Nugent), 2011/04/14-2011/04/16
    • Best Article Award of Contemporary Economic Policy, 2010/06/29-2010/07/02
    • Conference and Award Comemorating 30th Anniversary of Economis of Development: Empirical Investigations co-authored with Pan A. Yotopoulos in 1976, 2007/11/08
    • Teaching and Service Award, Omicron Delta Epsilon, 1995
    • USC Raubenheimer Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, 1986
  • Committees

    • Committee on Academic Recognition, 2010-2011
    • Committee on Academic Recognition, 2009-2010
    • Raubenheimer Award Selection Committee,
    • Committee on Academic Recognition, 2008-2009
    • Committe on Academic Recognition, 2007-2008

    Other Service to the University

    • Board Member, CIBER , Marshall School of Business, 2010-2011
    • Represent USC and the United States on the PEO/Structure Committee of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, 2008-2009
    • Board of Directors of CIBEAR, Marshall School of Business, 2008-2009
  • Committees

    • “Committee on Academic Recognition”, 2010-2011
    • “Committee on Academic Recognition”, 2009-2010
    • “Raubenheimer Award Selection Committee”, 2009-2010
    • “Committee on Academic Recognition”, 2008-2009
    • “Committe on Academic Recognition”, 2007-2008

    Conferences Organized

    • Co-Organizer, Iranian Economy at a Crossroads”,

    Editorships and Editorial Boards

    • Member, Board of Editors, Middle East Development Journal”, 2008-2009
    • Member, Board of Editors, International Journal of Development Studies”, 2007-2008
    • Member, Board of Editors, Pacific Economic Review”, 2007-2008
    • Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Political Economy of the Middle East, Routledge”, 2007-2008
    • Member of Board of Editors, Emerging Markets, Finance and Trade”, 2006-2007
    • Associate Editor, Review of Middle East Economics and Finance”, 2006-2007

    Professional Offices

    • Member of the Board of Directors, Economic Research Forum”, 2006-2007