Economics

Lebanese protesters don’t trust their government to reform. Here’s why.

In Lebanon, mass anti-government protests that started last Thursday are now a multiday general strike. These demonstrations appear to be the largest and widest-reaching in the country’s history. On Monday, Prime Minister Saad Hariri responded with proposed concessions, saying that protesters have shaken the political parties and challenged blind loyalties to sect. But protesters aren’t buying it. And while Hariri…

Economic self-interest, information, and trade policy preferences: evidence from an experiment in Tunisia

We address a central question about the integration of developing countries into the global economy: what factors affect public support for such globalization. Do public preferences toward trade correlate with its economic consequences or sociocultural resonances? Using a nationally representative survey experiment in Tunisia, a majority Muslim, developing country, we investigate whether providing information about trade’s distributional consequences causes respondents…

The impact of the Arab Spring on democracy and development in the MENA region

In evaluating the consequences of the Arab Spring 8 years later, this paper not only focuses on the short‐term consequences of the uprisings that swept through a number of countries in the Middle East and North African region but also analyzes the long‐term prospects for democratization and development in the MENA region. The impact of the Arab Spring, despite its…

Protests and the Arab Spring: An Empirical Investigation

This article discusses a variety of major explanations for the intensity of recent protests in Arab states and investigates whether there is empirical support for them. We survey various political, economic, and social factors and develop a comprehensive empirical model to estimate the structural determinants of protests in 19 Arab League states between 1990 and 2011, measured using events data….

Divergent opposition to sub-Saharan African and Arab migrants in Morocco’s Casablanca Region: prejudice from the pocketbook?

Since the early 2010s, the global migrant crisis has led to the mass inflow of foreign migrants, refugees, and other displaced persons into numerous countries. Whereas some native citizens have welcomed these migrants, a large number have expressed opposition. Most theories explaining why citizens express opposition to migrants emerged from evidence collected in developed, European countries. Yet, developing, non-Western countries…

Poverty and Divine Rewards: The Electoral Advantage of Islamist Political Parties

Political life in many Muslim‐majority countries has been marked by the electoral dominance of Islamist parties. Recent attempts to explain why have highlighted their material and organizational factors, such as the provision of social services. In this article, we revive an older literature that emphasizes the appeal of these parties’ religious nature to voters experiencing economic hardship. Individuals suffering economic…

How humiliation is fueling the Arab street

…Consequently, many Arabs say in surveys that they wish to emigrate or are thinking about this. The Arab Barometer project that surveys the entire region every few years recently released the results of its 2018-19 fieldwork. In a June 2019 report entitled Migration in the Middle East and North Africa, by Michael Robbins of Princeton University, it noted that about…

Youth driving opposition to Iraqi corruption

…. Like other Arab countries that are going through transition and crises, it is the youth that are the main drivers of protests and change. A recent survey of youth in the region by the Arab Barometer found that less than half of Iraqi youths identify as religious and only 21 percent are interested in politics. Only 6 percent are…

Ben Ali: the Tunisian autocrat who laid the foundations for his demise

…..Still not out of the woods Following the initial euphoria after he went into went into exile, Tunisians have become increasingly disillusioned with their government. In the most recent survey by Arab Barometer in late 2018, 79% of adults thought that government performance was poor, 92% that the state of the economy was bad and 90% that the government was…