Maleke Fourati, Gabriele Gratton, Pauline Grosjean, 14 July 2016

It is typically argued that the rising popularity of Islamist parties in parts of the Arab world reflects votes from the poor and disenfranchised. This column challenges this perspective, arguing that Islamist parties gain political support from the middle classes, due in large part to neoliberal economic policies. Using survey and electoral data from Tunisia, it shows that belonging to the middle class and living in a rich district together affect the decision to vote for the religious party more than actually being religious. These findings suggest that the same framework used to analyse political competition in the West can be fruitfully applied to the Muslim world. 

Jean-Pierre Chauffour, 02 March 2011

Political turmoil has swept across the Arab world. This column argues that the movement towards more open and representative societies could create the conditions for a big push toward greater trade integration within the region – and the rest of the world. A good place to start would be to complete the Pan-Arab Free Trade Agreement.

Marcus Noland, Howard Pack, 01 August 2008

Arab countries face major unemployment problems that must be addressed. This column outlines the challenge and potential means of making progress.

Maarten Bosker, Eltjo Buringh, Jan Luiten van Zanden, 28 June 2008

Baghdad was a wonder of the world in the year 800 while London was an economic backwater. By 1800, London was the largest city in the world while Arab cities languished. Recent research attributes this ‘trading places’ to institutional differences: Arab cities were tied to the fate of the state while European cities were independent growth poles.

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