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Democracy in the Arab World: Explaining the Deficit

Ibrahim Elbadawi and Samir Makdisi
Routledge, IDRC

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Despite notable socio-economic development in the Arab region, a deficit in democracy and political rights has continued to prevail. This book examines the major reasons underlying the persistence of this democracy deficit over the past decades and touches on the prospect for deepening the process of democratization in the Arab world.

Contributions from major scholars of the region give a cross-country analysis of economic development, political institutions and social factors, and the impact of oil wealth and regional wars, and present a model for democracy in the Arab world. Case studies are drawn from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan, and the Gulf region; they build on these cross-country analyses and look beyond the influence of oil and conflicts as the major reason behind this democracy deficit. The chapters illustrate how specific socio-political history of the country concerned, fear of fundamentalist groups, collusion with foreign powers and foreign interventions, and the co-option of the elites by the state also contribute to these problems of democratization facing the region.

Situating the democratic position of the Arab world in a global context, this book is an important contribution to the field of Middle Eastern politics, development studies, and studies on conflict and democracy.

The editors

Ibrahim Elbadawi, formerly Lead Economist at the Development Research Group of the World Bank, is currently Director of the Macroeconomics Research and Forecasting Department at the Dubai Economic Council and has published widely on macroeconomic and development policy and the economics of civil war. His regional specialization covers Africa and the Middle East, where he is widely networked with academic research and policy forums in the two regions. He is also a visiting research fellow with the Center for Global Development and an Associate Editor of the Middle East Development Journal.

Samir Makdisi is Professor Emeritus of Economics, Founder of the Institute of Financial Economics, and Distinguished Senior Fellow, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut. He has served as Deputy President of AUB; as chair of the Board of Trustees at the Economic Research Forum for the Arab Countries, Iran and Turkey; on the Board of the Global Development Network; and as Minister of Economy and Trade for the Republic of Lebanon. He has published widely on macroeconomic, financial and developmental issues in the Arab World.