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"The People Want the Fall of the Regime": Schooling, Political Protest, and the Economy

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  • Campante, Filipe R.

    (Harvard University)

  • Chor, Davin

    (Singapore Management University)

Abstract

We examine several hypotheses regarding the determinants and implications of political protest, motivated by the wave of popular uprisings in Arab countries starting in late 2010. While the popular narrative has emphasized the role of a youthful demography and political repression, we draw attention back to one of the most fundamental correlates of political activity identified in the literature, namely education. Using a combination of individual-level micro data and cross-country macro data, we highlight how rising levels of education coupled with economic under-performance jointly provide a strong explanation for participation in protest modes of political activity as well as incumbent turnover. Political protests are thus more likely when an increasingly educated populace does not have commensurate economic gains. We also find that the implied political instability is associated with heightened pressures towards democratization.

Suggested Citation

  • Campante, Filipe R. & Chor, Davin, 2011. ""The People Want the Fall of the Regime": Schooling, Political Protest, and the Economy," Working Paper Series rwp11-018, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp11-018
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    3. Krieger, Tim & Brockhoff, Sarah & Meierrieks, Daniel, 2012. "Great Expectations and Hard Times The (Nontrivial) Impact of Education on Domestic Terrorism," VfS Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62083, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Bharati, Tushar & Jetter, Michael & Malik, Muhammad Nauman, 2022. "Types of Communications Technology and Civil Conflict," IZA Discussion Papers 15311, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Mohammad Reza Farzanegan & Reza Zamani, 2022. "The Effect of Corruption on Internal Conflict in Iran Using Newspaper Coverage," Working Papers 1606, Economic Research Forum, revised 20 Nov 2022.
    8. Thomas Bassetti & Raul Caruso & Friedrich Schneider, 2018. "The tree of political violence: a GMERT analysis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 839-850, March.
    9. Binzel, Christine, 2011. "Decline in Social Mobility: Unfulfilled Aspirations among Egypt's Educated Youth," IZA Discussion Papers 6139, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Raouf Boucekkine & Rodolphe Desbordes & Paolo Melindi-Ghidi, 2019. "Social Divisiveness and Conflicts: Grievances Matter!," AMSE Working Papers 1906, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France.
    11. Stephen L. Parente & Luis Felipe Sáenz & Anna Seim, 2022. "Income, education and democracy," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 193-233, June.
    12. Dagaev, Dmitry & Lamberova, Natalia & Sobolev, Anton, 2019. "Stability of revolutionary governments in the face of mass protest," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    13. Zahraa Barakat & Ali Fakih, 2021. "Determinants of the Arab Spring Protests in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya: What Have We Learned?," Social Sciences, MDPI, vol. 10(8), pages 1-15, July.
    14. Wu Fengyu & Nugent Jeffrey B., 2018. "Explaining Gender Differences in Socioeconomic and Political Objectives in the Middle East," Review of Middle East Economics and Finance, De Gruyter, vol. 14(1), pages 1-22, April.
    15. 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.
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    17. Daniel Treisman, 2011. "Income, Democracy, and the Cunning of Reason," NBER Working Papers 17132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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