Economic Features of the Arab Spring

David Cobham, Abdallah Zouache

Research output: Working paper


This paper analyzes the economic factors that lie behind the upheavals commonly known as the ‘Arab Spring,’ and the economic policy opportunities that a genuine Arab Spring might open up. The evidence suggests that the upheavals were unlikely to have been responses to economic downturns resulting from the global financial crisis, and more likely to have been influenced by the longer term performance of the Arab countries, which has been characterized by relatively slow economic growth as well as failure to move away from authoritarian political systems. The principles of Islamic economics have not provided the basis for a distinctive set of economic policies for new governments. The actual economic programs of some major Islamist political parties turn out to be typically centrist, not very well-developed, but not very different from the policies which non-Islamist (and non-authoritarian) parties might propose. The paper concludes by appealing for more research on specific economic policies that post-Arab spring reformist governments could implement.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEconomic Research Forum
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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