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Title: Protest, Social Policy, and Political Regimes
Authors: Berman, Chantal E
Advisors: Jamal, Amaney A.
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: democratization
Middle East
social policy
Subjects: Political science
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Where party systems and welfare institutions are weak or co-opted, protest movements become a primary means by which citizens make redistributive demands on the state. This project examines determinants of elites concessions to socioeconomic protest movements in late-developing states, asking in particular how revolutions and regime transitions transform the logic of elite response to mobilization. Through structured, focused comparison of Tunisia and Morocco, this project contributes novel conceptual and empirical perspective towards a global question: why many contemporary democratic transitions – despite prevailing expectations – fall short of redressing popular claims for economic opportunity and social protection. I argue that “failed” revolutions – uprisings that do not succeed in catalyzing regime change, as in Morocco – amplify the threat perceptions of surviving elites vis-a-vis protest, lowering the threshold of mobilization at which elites will grant concessions. Surviving elites use broad-based, social concessions to demobilize mass opposition while avoiding political reforms. In cases of successful democratizing revolution – as in Tunisia – elites no longer uniformly aim to demobilize protest movements in service of regime longevity. Imperatives of coalition-building in a new democracy prompt elites to undermine opponents' attempts at social negotiation and to channel exclusive concessions to smaller, well-organized protest groups who may lend political support. Thus, while democratization may amplify mobilization by a number of measures, concessions to protest are few and insignificant. I develop these arguments through comparative case studies of mobilization and state response surrounding the Tunisian and Moroccan phosphate mining industries – the largest mineral export sector in both countries. I then test and generalize these expectations using original protest event datasets sourced from local Arabic-language newspapers (n = 12,000). Conditional on protest levels, I show that failed revolutions raise the likelihood of social concessions to protest movements, while successful revolutions lower the likelihood of concessions.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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