The Economics of the Arab Spring
A singular failure of the Arab world is the absence of a private sector that is independent, competitive, and integrated with global markets. This paper argues that private sector development is both a political and regional challenge. In so far as the private sector generates incomes that are independent of the rent streams controlled by the state, it can pose a direct political challenge. It is also a regional challenge, since fragmented markets deny scale economies to firms and entrench the power of insiders. We argue that overcoming regional economic barriers constitutes the single most important collective action problem facing the region since the fall of Ottoman Empire.
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