Panel Paper: Economic Growth, Youth Unemployment, Political and Social Instability: Study of Policies and Outcomes Post-Arab Spring Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, and Tunisia

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Building 3, Room 207 (ITAM)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Heath Prince, University of Texas, Austin

This study examines youth employment policies implemented in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia following the Arab Spring, asking whether, after this series of massive social protests concluded, new policies and institutions have emerged to address the deep-seated and intensifying crisis of youth unemployment.

Given the importance of youth unemployment in driving the Arab Spring revolts, policy recommendations issuing from national governments and international financial institutions (IFIs) (and from bi-lateral aid agencies, to which we pay less attention in this study) should reflect the dramatically changed environment in the region after 2011. Accordingly, our primary research questions are: what new, innovative policies and programs have emerged since the Arab Spring that address youth unemployment; what factors motivate these policy choices, and; to what extent do economic growth prescriptions affect the domestic youth employment policies in the case study countries?

To answer these questions, we employ a mixed methods study, using a policy prescriptive approach to identify policy change, and to better understand the implications of policies chosen, whether directly related to addressing youth employment, or indirectly related via economic growth-oriented policy choices. We also take advantage of the panel nature of data available for these countries, using fixed effects panel estimators, panel corrected standard errors estimators, and systems of Seemingly Unrelated Regressions to identify the effect that economic growth has had on labor force participation rates among youth in Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt over the period of 1990 to 2013.