Chapter

The Origins of the Arab Spring

Magdi Amin, Ragui Assaad, Nazar al-Baharna, Kemal Derviş, Raj M. Desai, Navtej S. Dhillon, Ahmed Galal, Hafez Ghanem, Carol Graham, Daniel Kaufmann, Homi Kharas, John Page, Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, Katherine Sierra and Tarik M. Yousef

in After the Spring

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199924929
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949427 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199924929.003.0002
The Origins of the Arab Spring

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Arab states have traditionally secured the loyalty of their subjects through an authoritarian bargain by which government jobs and a generous welfare state were provided to Arab citizens in exchange for restrictions on political behavior. This social contract-under stress for the past two decades-began to erode prior to the Arab spring. For Arab youth, in particular, employment is scarce, and standards of living are declining or stagnant. In the end, decades of slow and piecemeal reforms could not prevent the eventual unraveling of the Arab social contract and the unmaking of the Arab polity. This chapter explores the proximate sources of the regime changes in the Arab world and explains how the legacies of Arab political development will shape the possibilities for economic reform.

Keywords: arab spring; welfare state; social contract; authoritarian bargain; regime change; political development

Chapter.  5602 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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