I have a short new paper following up the theme of unemployment, developmental legacies, and the Arab Spring. Here is the abstract.
Many analysts of the 2011 political transitions in Egypt and Tunisia looked to Indonesia as a template or model. Yet whereas Islamists in Indonesia have struggled at the ballot box, Islamists emerged as the clear victors in the first competitive post-authoritarian elections in Egypt and Tunisia. A focus on the developmental successes and failures of prior authoritarian regimes reveals the limits of the Indonesian model for the new democracies in the Middle East. New Order Indonesia’s record of sustained economic development has no parallel in the dictatorships of Egypt or Tunisia, and the failure of developmentalism has fostered the movement base and electoral constituency for Islamists in Egypt and Tunisia that Indonesia’s Islamists never have enjoyed.
I’ve written this in a way that should make it more suitable for a popular audience than for a strictly academic one. This is not my specialty, but I’m hoping to contribute to ongoing discussions among practitioners. Comments welcome, of course.