Economic discontent fueled the political dissatisfaction that erupted in the Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen in 2011. Demonstrators blamed repressive authoritarian governments for slow economic growth, increasing poverty and social inequality, high youth unemployment and rampant corruption. Alongside demands for increased political freedom, greater participation in politics, and an end to repression were calls for economic freedom and improved well-being. The uprisings, which spawned democracy in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, continue to reverberate across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by opening up previously closed public spaces to wider popular participation in national debates over the prospects for democracy in Arab countries.

Note on the Author

Sandra Popiden is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science.