Caring for the Urban Middle Class: The Political Economy of Social Protection in Arab Countries
15 Pages Posted: 17 May 2013
Date Written: May 17, 2012
Social protection schemes in Arab countries show deficits regarding efficiency and social fairness. Some Arab countries spend a fifth of their GDP on social protection but the bulk of funds goes to a relatively small group of urban middle income earners or is lost on half-way for administrative and other purposes. This phenomenon is not due to financial or managerial constraints but to the fact that Arab governments tended to use social policies at least until recently to legitimise their rule. They allocated social benefits specifically to their clientele as well as to potential opposition groups in order to buy the goodwill of the politically most active parts of the population.
Keywords: Social security / social protection, political economy of, social assistance, social insuarnce, pensions, health systems, commodity subsidies, Middle East and North Africa, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria
JEL Classification: P16, H53, H55, I30, G22, E62
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