Political Institutions

Exploring Support for Democracy Across the Globe

This report is the first comprehensive analysis on the state of support for democracy across the globe using data from the Global Barometer Surveys. The focus is on support for democracy both because democracy is at the core of the GBS surveys, and because, as a political system, it is currently facing an uphill battle to defend its legitimacy. By exploring the state of support for democracy…

What Money Can’t Buy: Wealth, Inequality, and Economic Satisfaction in the Rentier State

How do perceived inequalities in allocation impact citizen satisfaction with state-distributed benefits in rentier societies? Resource-rich rentier regimes are widely theorized to maintain the economic and political satisfaction of subjects through wealth distribution. Yet, while qualitative research in the rentier states of the Arabian Peninsula has identified unequal distribution as a source of discontent, the relative importance of objective versus…

Tunisia’s first post-uprisings local elections are Sunday. Can they bolster citizens’ belief in governance?

…. What voters want Economic justice was a central demand of the 2011 uprising, and public opinion data from the Arab Barometer collected in 2011, 2013 and 2015demonstrate that the economy remains at the forefront of Tunisians’ minds. When asked, “What are the most two important challenges your country is facing today?” nearly 75 percent of respondents listed the economic…

Review of Islam and Politics in the Middle East: Explaining the Views of Ordinary Citizens by Mark Tessler

Mark A. Tessler is a prominent political scientist, Samuel J. Eldersveld Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan, who has worked on comparative politics, International Relations and world politics for more than forty-five years. His works have been translated into French and Persian. He is probably the leading authority on public opinion in the Middle East, and has published numerous…

Lebanon’s political system leads to paralysis and corruption

“IT is difficult to escape the grip of religion in Lebanon. The rules that govern marriage, property rights and inheritance are administered by religious courts. Well-to-do secular Lebanese can fly to Cyprus to marry in civil ceremonies. But once back home, if their relationship goes sour, Muslims still have to deal with religious judges, who rule on divorce, alimony and…

Al-Sisi poised for empty victory in Egypt as signs of unrest grow across the region

“Egyptians are voting in presidential elections on March 26-28. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who grabbed power in 2013, is set to win another term by a landslide. Yet this is far from a sign of strength: opposition candidates have been silenced, and even pro-government media are being purged of the slightest undertone of dissent. Al-Sisi’s grip on power may appear firm,…

Borrowing Time: Rents and Reform in Saudi Arabia

One of the most ambitious, well-defined reform plans in the region for reigning in state obligations to citizens while boosting private-sector development is Saudi Vision 2030, a program of economic and social (but not political) change headlined by the Kingdom’s much-profiled Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. While the Kingdom does not presently face the breakdown in public order or empty…

Who Benefits from Consociationalism? Religious Disparities in Lebanon’s Political System

This study examines the extent to which confessional identities in Lebanon are responsible for shaping individual views toward their government. Specifically, I investigate disparities between religious groups in their perceptions of democracy and democratic principles as applied in Lebanon. Using nationally representative data from the Arab Barometer’s survey of Lebanon, I find that when compared to Maronite Catholics, Druze, and…

Implicit Attitudes Toward an Authoritarian Regime

Existing research on public opinion under authoritarianism focuses on the deliberative half of cognition. Yet in psychology, implicit attitudes and subconscious associations are often viewed as foundational, the basis for explicit attitudes and behavior. This paper adapts the well-known Implicit Association Test (IAT) to study Egyptian citizens’ attitudes toward President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Roughly 58% of respondents hold positive implicit…

The Arab Spring: to be continued

…Quite unexpectedly, during that poll, as many as 11.5% of the Tunisians said that their country was democratic against 14% saying that it was ruled by a dictator regime. The key problems were corruption and unemployment. The Tunisians did not believe their leaders – be they political or religious. Most of them said that their economy was worse than it…

Het succesnummer van de Tunesische revolutie is na zeven jaar grijsgedraaid

…Het gevoel dat Tunesië ‘verloren’ is, lijkt breed te worden gedeeld. En tegelijkertijd lijken er maar weinig mensen in te geloven dat ze daarin iets kunnen veranderen. Vooral onder jongeren is de wanhoop groot. Het academisch onderzoeksproject Arab Barometer peilde dat de helft van de jongeren tussen 18 en 24 jaar erover denkt te vertrekken. ‘Ik heb er zelf nooit…

Tunisia’s Revolution, Act 2

…The country’s duly elected prime minister, Youssef Chahed, even went to the streets to talk to demonstrators – a type of accountability hardly imagined elsewhere in the region. He pleaded for people to accept the necessary belt-tightening. Police appeared sympathetic to the cries of youths left jobless by a stagnant economy. And the media covered the public outburst without restraint….

Kiderült, hogy demokráciát csinálni nehéz

“2013 októberében megdöbbent politikusok érkeztek Tunisz egyik konferenciaközpontjába. Az érkező kormánypárti és ellenzéki politikusok közül senki nem számított arra, hogy ennyi kamera előtt kell besétálnia a terembe. Ahogy arra sem, hogy ez a nap alapjaiban határozza majd meg Tunézia sorsát. A médiafigyelem azért lepte meg – és zavarta – a politikusokat, mert a ceremónián egy megállapodást kellett aláírniuk. És ha…

Socio-economic Inequality and the Failure of Development Strategies for the Middle East

The main drivers of the Arab Uprisings were economic grievances and a perceived growth in inequalities. Poor economic growth and lack of inclusive policies are the underlying causes of insecurity in the region The main concerns of people in the MENA are economic security and corruption. People think that the best way in which the EU can help their countries…