- President Mohamed Morsi's Constitutional Decree - December 9, 2012 (Arabic) (English)
- Final Draft of Constitution, published November 29, 2012 (Arabic) (English) (Audio)
- President Mohamed Morsi's Constitutional Decree - November 22, 2012 (Arabic) (English)
- Draft of the Constitution, published October 24, 2012) (Arabic)
- Draft of the Constitution, published October 16, 2012 (Arabic) (English)
- President Mohamed Morsi's Decree Pardoning January 25 Prisoners - October 8 (English) (Arabic)
- President Mohamed Morsi's Constitutional Declaration - August 12 (English) (Arabic)
- President Mohamed Morsi’s Decree reinstating the dissolved parliament – July 8 (English) (Arabic)
- Renaissance (Nahda) Project (English)
- Morsi Meter (English) (Arabic)
- SCAF Amendments to Interim Constitution - June 17, 2012 (English) (Arabic)
- Interim Constitution (full text, English and Arabic), ratified by popular referendum on March 23, 2011)
- Law on the Presidential Election, No. 174, 2005 (Arabic)
- Electoral laws for the People’s Assembly and Shura Council (full text, Arabic, amended July 19, 2011)
- Law on Non-Governmental Organizations, No. 84/2002 (English)
- Law on the People’s Assembly, amended October 2011 (PDF, Arabic)
- Supra-Constitutional Principles (English) (Arabic)
- The Final Draft Wording of the Articles on Defense and National Security in the New Constitution (English) (Arabic)
- Leaked Articles of the Draft Constitution (English)
Egyptian Government Resources
- Official Facebook page of President Mohamed Morsi (Arabic)
- Official Facebook page of Prime Minister Hesham Qandil (Arabic)
- Official Facebook page of Presidential Spokesman Yasser Ali (Arabic)
- Official Facebook page of the Supreme Council of the Armed forces (Arabic)
- Official website of the Cabinet (English) (Arabic)
- Ministry of Interior (English) (Arabic)
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (English) (Arabic)
- Ministry of Finance (English) (Arabic)
- Ministry of International Cooperation (Arabic)
- Ministry of Social Solidarity (Arabic)
- Ministry of Information (Arabic)
- Ministry of Industry & Foreign Trade (English) (Arabic)
- Ahram Weekly (English)
- Egypt Independent (English)
- Daily News Egypt (English)
- Ahram Online (English)
- Akhbar al-Youm (Arabic)
- Ahram (Arabic)
- Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
- al-Masry al-Youm (Arabic)
- al-Shorouk (Arabic)
- al-Wafd (Arabic)
- Masrawy (Arabic)
- EGYNews (Arabic)
Think Tanks and NGOs:
- al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (English)
- Arab Forum for Alternatives (English) (Arabic)
- Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (English) (Arabic)
- Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (English) (Arabic)
- Adl (Justice)
- al-Asala (Authenticity)
- Building and Development
- Democratic Front
- al-Dostour (Constitution)
- Freedom and Justice
- Ghad (Tomorrow)
- Ittihad (Union)
- Karama (Dignity)
- al-Masriyin al-Ahrar (Free Egyptians)
- Masr al-Hurriya (Egypt Freedom)
- Nour (Light)
- Popular Alliance
- Reform and Development
- Social Democratic
- Sufi Liberation
- al-Tayar al-Masry (Egyptian Current)
With presidential elections in Egypt looming, candidates are competing to attract voters’ support in what is expected to be the most challenging and competitive race in the country’s electoral history. One of the most appealing campaign pledges announced by many candidates is their intention to put a ceiling on public and government sector wages, in what is seen as a way to achieve social justice and, at the same time, help the government reduce public expenditure.
As appealing as it might seem, implementing a maximum wage as a way to resolve the problem of disparity in government wages may do more harm than benefit. As the country enters a critical phase in its economic development and urgently needs an ambitious development strategy, imposing maximum wages would cause qualified workers to reject public sector jobs, further lowering the standards of its performance compared to the private sector. Why would highly specialized and skilled employees want to work in the public sector if they could earn significantly more elsewhere? A legal cap on public wages would, on a practical level, hamper the ability of government institutions to both attract and keep the most talented employees.
In that sense, wage inequality is not necessarily a social evil. When based on merits, wage differentials are considered a social good, spurring individuals to aspire, work hard and succeed. How people are paid should be more significant than how much they get. In the current design of the Egyptian pay system, the real problem is the absence of a clear linkage or correlation between performance and pay. It is also the lack of transparency regarding specific jobs requirements, rules of appointment and eligibility criteria.
For disparities to be reduced and equal opportunity to be ensured, a new framework should be created in which public salaries are determined on the basis of academic attainment, qualifications and expertise. Instead of imposing a limit on what people earn, adopting a transparent and merit-based wage framework is the most efficient way to rebalance Egypt’s economy and society. The social justice argument does not hold here, as equality does not have to mean uniformity. In other words, those who are equal should be treated equally, but those who aren’t can (and should) be treated differently.
Indeed, the problem with the current seniority-based wage structure is that pay is not determined by achievement or performance. Human resources experts say that incentives are maximized when individualized. Hence, instead of imposing a limit on individual ambitions, the public sector employment scheme in Egypt needs to be redesigned in a way that attracts the best elements and motivates them to work harder. While a system that links compensation proportionally to individual performance is not easy to implement in a society where work culture has been historically evolving around grouped remuneration and evaluation, the seniority model is too static and does not meet the country’s needs for accelerated development.
Egypt’s legislators and policy makers need to understand that, if the Egyptian public compensation system is to be improved and optimized, it needs more than a hint of meritocracy and a huge deal of transparency. While laws are always a necessary component of any reform efforts, relying on them solely cannot guarantee the achievement of their purpose. Incentives are the forgotten ingredients that will make people abide by these laws and respect them, without rejecting the whole framework or circumventing it. “Incentives” is the key word for the post-revolutionary Egypt and the recipe for the rejuvenation of the national economy.
Hoda Youssef is a postdoctoral research associate at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Sciences Po Paris school. Her research work focuses on monetary and fiscal policy, and on the political economy of the MENA region, with a focus on Egypt.
Photo Credit: al-Ahram
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EgyptSource, a project of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, follows Egypt’s transition and provides a platform for Egyptian perspectives on the major issues – economic, political, legal, religious and human rights – that are at stake in the post-Mubarak era.
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Faces of Egypt
Journalist and videographer Abanoub Emad explains the drive behind his work: “I want to cover the truth..If it was just a job for me I wouldn't risk my life, but this is what I want to do…and this is what differentiates the quality of work. You can tell who's doing it for the sake of doing it, and who's doing it because it's what they love to do”
At twenty-two, Amr El Salanekly has won the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative fellowship, co-founded a social incubator and an educational platform for underprivileged kids, turned down a job with Bangladeshi Nobel Laureate Mohammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank, and raised hundreds of thousands of Egyptian pounds for community projects in Egypt.
Check out the rest of the Faces of the New Egypt series here.
About the Contributors
Alaa Al Aswany, the Arab world's bestselling novelist, is the author of The Yacoubian Building, Chicago, and Friendly Fire. His work is published in thirty-one languages worldwide. Read his EgyptSource posts here.
Yussef Auf is an Egyptian judge and 2012 Humphrey Fellow at American University’s Washington College of Law. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Constitutional Law and Political Systems at Cairo University. Read his EgyptSource posts here.
Amr Hamzawy joined the Department of Public Policy and Administration at the American University in Cairo in 2011, where he continues to serve today. He is a former member of parliament and a member of the National Salvation Front. Read his EgyptSource posts here.
Haitham Tabei is a special correspondent for the Washington Post and Asharq Saudi newspaper in Cairo.
Read his EgyptSource posts here.
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