Social Dictatorships: The Political Economy of the Welfare State in the Middle East and North Africa

ISBN : 9780198834274

Ferdinand Eibl
432 Pages
153 x 234 mm
Pub date
Feb 2020
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Why have social spending levels and social policy trajectories diverged so drastically across labour-abundant Middle Eastern and North African regimes? And how can we explain the marked persistence of spending levels after divergence? Using historical institutionalism and a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods Social Dictatorships: The Political Economy of the Welfare State in the Middle East and North Africa develops an explanation of social spending in authoritarian regimes. It emphasizes the importance of early elite conflict and attempts to form a durable support coalition under the constraints imposed by external threats and scarce resources.

Social Dictatorships utilizes two in-depth case studies of the political origins of the Tunisian and Egyptian welfare state to provide an empirical overview of how social policies have developed in the region, and to explain the marked differences in social policy trajectories. It follows a multi-level approach tested comparatively at the cross-country level and process-traced at micro-level by these case studies.


1 Welfare states in the Middle East and North Africa: Puzzles and answers

2 Welfare efforts in comparative perspective

3 Divergent paths: The coalitional origin of authoritarian welfare states

4 Social pacts over time

5 Tunisia: An authoritarian welfare state

6 Egypt: Between warfare and welfare

7 MENA welfare states: Explanations and broader implications


Appendix A: Introduction

Appendix B: Social pacts over time

Appendix C: Tunisia

Appendix D: Egypt

Appendix E: List of interviews in order of appearance

About the author: 

Ferdinand Eibl is a Lecturer in Political Economy at King's College London. He was previously a Postdoctoral Research Officer at the London School of Economics, and his research focuses on the political economy of authoritatian rule in the Middle East and North Africa, in particular in the areas of distributive politics, cronyism, and the political economy of coup-proofing.

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