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Why Was the Arab World Poised for Revolution? Schooling, Economic Opportunities, and the Arab Spring


  • Filipe R. Campante
  • Davin Chor


What underlying long-term conditions set the stage for the Arab Spring? In recent decades, the Arab region has been characterized by an expansion in schooling coupled with weak labor market conditions. This pattern is especially pronounced in those countries that saw significant upheaval during the first year of the Arab Spring uprisings. We argue that the lack of adequate economic opportunities for an increasingly educated populace can help us understand episodes of regime instability such as the Arab Spring.

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  • Filipe R. Campante & Davin Chor, 2012. "Why Was the Arab World Poised for Revolution? Schooling, Economic Opportunities, and the Arab Spring," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 167-188, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:26:y:2012:i:2:p:167-88 Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.26.2.167

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Willa Friedman & Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2016. "Education as Liberation?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(329), pages 1-30, January.
    2. Marcus Noland & Howard Pack, 2007. "Arab Economies in a Changing World, The," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 3931.
    3. Campante, Filipe R. & Chor, Davin, 2014. "“The people want the fall of the regime”: Schooling, political protest, and the economy," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 495-517.
    4. Bobba, Matteo & Coviello, Decio, 2007. "Weak instruments and weak identification, in estimating the effects of education, on democracy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 301-306, September.
    5. Moral-Benito, Enrique & Bartolucci, Cristian, 2012. "Income and democracy: Revisiting the evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 844-847.
    6. Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2011. "Rain and the Democratic Window of Opportunity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 923-947, May.
    7. Milligan, Kevin & Moretti, Enrico & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2004. "Does education improve citizenship? Evidence from the United States and the United Kingdom," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1667-1695, August.
    8. Rohini Pande, 2011. "Can Informed Voters Enforce Better Governance? Experiments in Low-Income Democracies," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 215-237, September.
    9. Dee, Thomas S., 2004. "Are there civic returns to education?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1697-1720, August.
    10. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong Wha, 2013. "A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 184-198.
    11. Filipe R. Campante & Davin Chor & Quoc-Anh Do, 2009. "Instability And The Incentives For Corruption," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 42-92, March.
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    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements


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