Political Institutions

Infrastructure Provision, Politics and Religion: Insights from Tunisia’s new democracy

This paper analyzes the relationship between access to infrastructure services and support for religious parties based on the evidence produced by a recent democratic experience in Tunisia in which a religious political party, Ennahdha, governed from 2011 to 2014. The experience points to a complex relationship. In the 2011 election, areas with higher access are associated with higher support for…

Parties in an era of change: membership in the (re-)making in post-revolutionary Tunisia

In the current era of rapid and radical evolution in the institutions of partisan politics, one of the best-documented and most discussed changes in established and more recent democracies has been the decline of membership enrolment, and yet its resilience. By contrast, comparative research on Maghrebi political parties, and on this aspect in particular, has for a long time been…

Political Attitudes of Arab Citizens in North Africa

Theories of social capital, government performance, Islamic values, and globalization are among the most important tools that can be used to help explain individuals’ political attitudes. The present research attempts to address the effects of the above-mentioned factors on the political attitude of Arab citizens using the Arab Barometer Wave IV data. The results showed that only 23.2% of citizens…

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….

Social Trust in the Middle East and North Africa: The Context-Dependent Impact of Citizens’ Socio-Economic and Religious Characteristics

Our knowledge of social and political trust’s drivers in the MENA region is limited and there are good reasons to expect that Western-based theories cannot be copied to the MENA one-to-one. Arguing for a broader and at the same time context-sensitive comparative approach, I translate the ‘societal winners’, social capital, and religious beliefs mechanisms explaining trust to the MENA context….

Do democratic revolutions ‘activate’ participants? The case of Tunisia

The democratic transition in Tunisia and free and fair elections that followed offer a unique opportunity to assess whether the experience of participating in successful political efforts translates into subsequent political participation. We consider whether participation in a democratic revolution is associated with greater rates of participation in nascent ‘normal’ democratic processes. Leveraging data from two surveys fielded in the…

Regionalism in New Democracies: The Authoritarian Origins of Voter-Party Linkages

We investigate the path-dependent effects of sub-national variation in authoritarian state-building policies on voter-party linkages after regime change. We argue that long-term patterns of regional favoritism and marginalization produce patterned regional heterogeneity in the attitudes and preferences linking voters with parties. Post-colonial state-building policies create “winners” and “losers” from particular interventions, in turn shaping local citizens’ preferences over these policy…

Never out of Now: Preference Falsification, Social Capital and the Arab Spring

Could the Arab Spring have led to a rise in support for authoritarian governments in some states? Discussions of revolutionary diffusion during the Arab Spring focused on whether expressions of discontent spread to different states. Such discussions, however, neglect the potential for there to be a decrease in expressions of discontent in the wake of spreading revolutionary sentiment in certain…

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 article adapts the well-known Implicit Association Test to study Egyptian citizens’ attitudes toward President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Roughly 58% of respondents hold positive implicit attitudes…

Down and Out: Founding Elections and Disillusionment with Democracy in Egypt and Tunisia

Which electoral losers become the most disillusioned with democracy following the first free and fair elections? Exploiting surveys before and after founding elections in post-Arab Spring Egypt and Tunisia, we find that the most disillusioned losers were those residing in areas where the losing parties were strongest. We argue that expectations matter. Losers whose parties are strong locally tend to…

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…

The myth of stability in Algeria

The image of Algeria as an island of stability in an otherwise turbulent region was shattered, once and for all, when mass protests erupted in mid-February this year, after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced that he would run for a fifth presidential term, despite having been seriously disabled ever since he suffered a stroke in April 2013 and rarely appearing in…

Disentangling an Elusive Relationship: How Democratic Value Orientations Affect Political Trust in Different Regimes

The question whether democratic values are on the rise or in decline has received much attention in political-culture research. Yet, few scholars have studied the consequences either of these trends has for political trust. Although political trust has long been attributed a central role for the functioning and stability of any political system, we still know little about the relationship…

What We (Do Not) Know about the Diffusion of Democracy Protests

In “Why Democracy Protests Do Not Diffuse,” we examine whether or not countries are significantly more likely to experience democracy protests when one or more of their neighbors recently experienced a similar protest. Our goal in so doing was not to attack the existing literature or to present sensational results, but to evaluate the extent to which the existing literature…