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Education, neopatrimonialism, and revolutions

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Abstract

The occurrence of some revolutionary episodes seems initially puzzling. For example, before the 'Arab Spring', macroeconomic conditions were improving, the political leaders had been in power for a long time, and the autocrats had shown an apparent interest in the welfare of their population by investing in human capital. We argue that such a paradox can be solved by considering that high education levels are incompatible with the features characterising strong neopatrimonial states. We develop this intuition in a simple theoretical model and we test our prediction in a sequential empirical study of regime changes and regime breakdowns in a large panel of countries. We indeed find that a regime change is more likely in countries combining high neopatrimonialism and high education levels. Moreover, when a regime change happens under these circumstances, a revolution is the most likely type of regime breakdown. These results help to understand the 'Arab Spring' but are not specific to the Arab world.

Suggested Citation

  • Raouf Boucekkine & Rodolphe Desbordes & Paolo Melindi-Ghidi, 2020. "Education, neopatrimonialism, and revolutions," AMSE Working Papers 2017, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France.
  • Handle: RePEc:aim:wpaimx:2017
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    Keywords

    education; neopatrimonialism; regime breakdown; regime change; revolution;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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