The Middle East and North Africa’s Resilient Monarchs
Journal of Politics, Volume 74(3), July 2012
34 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2010 Last revised: 12 Dec 2012
Date Written: September 16, 2011
This paper helps explain the variation in political turmoil observed in the MENA during the Arab Spring. The region's monarchies have been largely spared of violence while the "republics" have not. A theory about how a monarchy's political culture solves a ruler's credible commitment problem explains why this has been the case. Using a panel dataset of the MENA countries (1950-2006), I show that monarchs are less likely than non-monarchs to experience political instability, a result that holds across several measures. They are also more likely to respect the rule of law and property rights, and grow their economies. Through the use of an instrumental variable that proxies for a legacy of tribalism, the time that has elapsed since the Neolithic Revolution weighted by Land Quality, I show that this result runs from monarchy to political stability. The results are also robust to alternative political explanations and country fixed effects.
Keywords: Middle East & North Africa, Arab Spring, Revolution, Political Economy of Oil, Monarchy
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