033: Abdullah Al-Bahrani on the Economy of Oman and How Racial Discrimination Empowered Him to Succeed in Life and in Economics.
Abdullah’s research interests are in the fields of Industrial Organization and Education of Economics. Currently, his primary focus is on innovative approaches to teaching Economics. In Industrial Organization, his research examines market structure and competition in the banking and real estate industries.
Prior to joining academia, Dr. Al Bahrani worked in the mortgage industry from 2003-2006. He has also served as outside economic consult to the Ministry of Education, Sultanate of Oman and new business ventures entering Oman.
Abdullah received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Kentucky in 2010, where he received an award for Best Economics Graduate Teaching Assistant.
His Master degree in Economic Theory was awarded by American University in Washington D.C. in 2003 and he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Economics from the University of Louisville in 2002.
My parents are big advocates of education and they instil the value of education and the value of curiosity – Abdullah Al-Bahrani
Abdullah has a 5am start and gets to the gym most mornings. It is at the gym where Abdullah creates his to-do list, becomes super-organized and listens to Economic Rockstar!
On dealing with racial discrimination:
You roll up your sleeves and you keep on trying – Abdullah Al-Bahrani
Abdullah’s Philosophy and Affirmations:
The thing that I appreciate is people that push the boundaries that create new paths – to me that’s what growth is – Abdullah Al-Bahrani
- why Abdullah decided to do a Phd in Economics in 2006 and left the mortgage industry just before it imploded.
- about Abdullah’s economic consultancy work with the Sultanate of Oman.
- about Abdullah’s connection when reviewing labor market studies in Oman (Hint: She is the Director General of the National Centre of Career Guidance and is as maternal to Abdullah as Oman as a country is to him).
- how Oman are creating an entrepreneurial spirit to drive is economy in the future.
- why Oman is faced with difficulties in transitioning to an entrepreneurial economy.
- how Omani culture is preventing it’s people to take on risk and why incentives do not work.
- about Abdullah’s suggestion that to create an entrepreneurial spirit in Oman, the labor market must first be liberalised.
- how ‘Omanization’ has made it costly for foreign firms to set up subsidiaries in Oman.
- why Omani’s are not hired by foreign firms setting up in Oman.
- why discrimination exists in the Omani labor market and why US and UK ex-pats would be a preferred employee.
- how data limitations for Oman make it difficult to conduct an empirical analysis of the labor market.
- how labor market regulations in Oman is making it costly for firms to hire Omani’s.
- about some economic indicators for Oman.
- about Oman’s free trade agreements, the Gulf Corporation Council and the potential Oman offers.
- about Oman’s tourism initiative to create Oman as an eco-friendly destination.
- how Abdullah is integrating social media into the classroom, making education a more interactive and conducive learning environment for students.
- about Abdullah’s clever way of using a students’ mobile phone in explaining the concept of a negative externality.
- how to create a sense of community in a classroom.
- why Abdullah received an Easter basket of goodies from a student’s mother.
- why Abdullah is ‘helping his students to ‘clean’ their social media footprint.
- how Abdullah encourages his students to connect with him on whatever platform they choose to use.
- how using ESPN 30 for 30 to teach economics and to keep the economics student engaged.
- how to teach economics with no math and no graphs.
- about the research Abdullah is doing on racial discrimination in the labor market.
- how Abdullah is identifying how racial discrimination is evident in online markets where, unlike traditional markets, the color of your skin is not a factor.
- if your last name prevent you from getting a loan, employment or from being priced out of a market.
- how dropping a letter from your name can get you a job if you’re being racially discriminated against.
- how Abdullah was racially discriminated against in both the labor market and when selling mortgage loans in the USA.
- how Abdullah dealt with racial discrimination and how it gave him his Phd dissertation question.
- how online price comparison websites may actually be anti-competitive.
- how online stores are eating into the consumer surplus.
In this interview, Abdullah mentions:
Darshak Patel, Kim Holder, Gary Becker, Steven Levitt, Stephen Dubnar, Frank Scott, Chris Bollinger and Gail Hoyt, Brandon Sheridan and Roland Fryer.
In this interview, Abdullah mentions and discusses:
Labor market, incentives, entrepreneurship, small and medium sized enterprise, venture capital, unintended consequences, business cycle, unemployment, GDP per capita, trade agreements, indigenous industries, multinational companies, Gulf Corporation Council, tourism, factor endowments, negative externality, comparative advantage, search cost, marginal cost, competition and consumer surplus.
- Al-Bahrani, Abdullah and Darshak Patel (2014). Using ESPN 30 for 30 to Teach Economics. Southern Economic Journal. 81:3. 829-842.
- Al-Bahrani, Abdullah. Competition in Online Markets: When Banks, Compete do Consumers Really Win? Journal of Housing Research. Forthcoming (Accepted October 2014).
- Al-Bahrani, Abdullah and Darshak Patel (2015). Incorporating Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in Economics Classrooms. Journal of Economic Education. 44:1. 56-67.
- The Color of Credit: Mortgage Discrimination, Research Methodology, and Fair-Lending Enforcement by Stephen Ross and John Yinger.
- Chicago by Alaa Al-Aswani
Where to find Abdullah: