Individual Preferences for Democracy In the Arab World Explaining the Gap - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Individual Preferences for Democracy In the Arab World Explaining the Gap

Mohamad Al-Ississ and Ishac Diwan

March, 2016


30 pages

P2. Socialist Systems and Transitional Economies
P1. Capitalist Systems

We take a new look at the question of the Arab democratic exception. We use the new sixth wave of the World Value Survey, which was collected between 2012 and 2013, and which included for the first time 12 Arab countries, up from only four in wave 5. We innovate empirically, by measuring the demand for democracy in a more robust way than past studies, and conceptually, by looking at how the forces of modernist aspirations, economic grievances, social preferences, and attachment to the status-quo interact for particular socio-economic groups to determine their preference for a democratic order over an autocratic one, and how these are affected in the Arab region by specificities related to self-interest, culture, and policy. Our statistical analysis reveals a democratic gap in the Arab region, which is correlated, and thus possibly explained in parts, by lower emancipative effects of education among the educated, compared to global experience. We argue that these effects must have been shaped in parts by the policies of power preservation pursued by the autocratic regimes of the past, rather than by local culture lone.



نلقي نظرة جديدة على مسألة الاستثناء الديمقراطي العربي. نستخدم الموجة السادسة الجديدة من مسح القيم العالمية، حيث شملت 12 دولة عربية للمرة الأولى، ارتفاعا من أربعة فقط في الموجة الخامسة. نقوم بالابتكار تجريبيا، عن طريق قياس الطلب على الديمقراطية بوسيلة أكثر قوة من الدراسات السابقة، والمفاهيمية، والتي تبحث في كيفية قوة تطلعات الحداثة، المظالم الاقتصادية، والأفضليات الاجتماعية، وفى الوضع الراهن تتفاعل مجموعات اجتماعية واقتصادية خاصة لتحديد تفضيلها للنظام الديمقراطي والأطروحة في المنطقة العربية والخصوصيات المتعلقة بالفائدة والثقافة والسياسة. التحليل الإحصائي لدينا يكشف عن وجود فجوة للديمقراطية في المنطقة العربية، مما يفسر ربما جزئيا، الآثار التحررية الأقل من التعليم بين المتعلمين. وعليه فقد تكون تشكلت الأطروحة بسبب سياسات الحفاظ على السلطة المستغلة من الأنظمة الاستبدادية في الماضي، بدلا من السلطة المحلية وحدها.

Research Fellows

Mohamad Al-Ississ

Royal Hashemite Court

Research Fellows

Ishac Diwan

Chair Arab World, Paris Sciences et Lettres, visiting researcher at the Paris School of Economics



There are no Events PAST

Related Publications

Working Papers

Winners and Losers in Industrial Policy 2.0: An evaluation of the impacts of the Tunisian Industrial Upgrading Program

Mohamed Ali Marouani and Michelle Marshalian

Large scale business subsidies tied to national industrial development promotion pro-grams are notoriously difficult to ... read more

Working Papers

Patrons or Clients? Measuring and Experimentally Evaluating Political Connections of Firms in Morocco and Jordan

Robert Kubinec

I use an original survey of firm employees in Morocco and Jordan to construct an ... read more