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The Power of the Street: Evidence from Egypt's Arab Spring

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  • Acemoglu, Daron
  • Hassan, Tarek
  • Tahoun, Ahmed

Abstract

During Egypt's Arab Spring, unprecedented popular mobilization and protests brought down Hosni Mubarak's government and ushered in an era of competition between three groups: elites associated with Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP), the military, and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Street protests continued to play an important role during this power struggle. We show that these protests are associated with differential stock market returns for firms connected to the three groups. Using daily variation in the number of protesters, we document that more intense protests in Tahrir Square are associated with lower stock market valuations for firms connected to the group currently in power relative to non-connected firms, but have no impact on the relative valuations of firms connected to other powerful groups. We further show that activity on social media may have played an important role in mobilizing protesters, but had no direct effect on relative valuations. According to our preferred interpretation, these events provide evidence that, under weak institutions, popular mobilization and protests have a role in restricting the ability of connected firms to capture excess rents.

Suggested Citation

  • Acemoglu, Daron & Hassan, Tarek & Tahoun, Ahmed, 2014. "The Power of the Street: Evidence from Egypt's Arab Spring," CEPR Discussion Papers 10262, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10262
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    Cited by:

    1. Wisniewski, Tomasz Piotr, 2016. "Is there a link between politics and stock returns? A literature survey," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 15-23.
    2. Rougier, Eric, 2016. "“Fire in Cairo”: Authoritarian–Redistributive Social Contracts, Structural Change, and the Arab Spring," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 148-171.
    3. Marco Manacorda & Andrea Tesei, 2016. "Liberation Technology: Mobile Phones and Political Mobilization in Africa," HiCN Working Papers 217, Households in Conflict Network.
    4. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:2:p:656-682 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Nelly El-Mallakh & Mathilde Maurel & Biagio Speciale, 2016. "Arab Spring Protests and Women's Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from the Egyptian Revolution," Working Papers hal-01309651, HAL.
    6. El-Mallakh, Nelly & Maurel, Mathilde & Speciale, Biagio, 2018. "Arab spring protests and women's labor market outcomes: Evidence from the Egyptian revolution," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 656-682.
    7. Lehne, Jonathan & Shapiro, Jacob N. & Vanden Eynde, Oliver, 2018. "Building connections: Political corruption and road construction in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 62-78.
    8. Bob Rijkers & Leila Baghdadi & Gael Raballand, 2017. "Political Connections and Tariff Evasion Evidence from Tunisia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(2), pages 459-482.
    9. Halberstam, Yosh & Knight, Brian, 2016. "Homophily, group size, and the diffusion of political information in social networks: Evidence from Twitter," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 73-88.
    10. Fuchs-Schündeln, N. & Hassan, T.A., 2016. "Natural Experiments in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    11. Bei Qin & David Strömberg & Yanhui Wu, 2017. "Why Does China Allow Freer Social Media? Protests versus Surveillance and Propaganda," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 117-140, Winter.
    12. Krause, Thomas & Noth, Felix & Tonzer, Lena, 2016. "Brexit (probability) and effects on financial market stability," IWH Online 5/2016, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    13. Petrova, Maria & Sen, Ananya & Yildirim, Pinar, 2017. "Social Media and Political Donations: New Technology and Incumbency Advantage in the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 11808, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Zhu, Haikun, 2018. "Essays on political economy of finance and fintech," Other publications TiSEM 93f94423-e671-4041-bb24-8, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    15. Diffo Lambo, Lawrence & Pongou, Roland & Tchantcho, Bertrand & Wambo, Pierre, 2015. "Networked politics: political cycles and instability under social influences," MPRA Paper 65641, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. repec:eee:poleco:v:53:y:2018:i:c:p:13-58 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Diwan, Ishac & Jamal Ibrahim Haidar, "undated". "Do Political Connections Reduce Job Creation? Evidence from Lebanon," Working Paper 414186, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    18. Hendel, Igal E & Lach, Saul & Spiegel, Yossi, 2015. "Consumers' Activism: the Facebook boycott of Cottage Cheese," CEPR Discussion Papers 10460, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Davide Cantoni & David Y. Yang & Noam Yuchtman & Y. Jane Zhang, 2017. "Are Protests Games of Strategic Complements or Substitutes? Experimental Evidence from Hong Kong's Democracy Movement," NBER Working Papers 23110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Diffo Lambo, Lawrence & Pongou, Roland & Tchantcho, Bertrand & Wambo, Pierre, 2015. "Networked Politics: Political Cycles and Instability under Social Influences," MPRA Paper 65598, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. repec:eee:reveco:v:56:y:2018:i:c:p:238-257 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    corruption; de facto political power; institutions; mobilization; protests; rents; value of connections;

    JEL classification:

    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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