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Diffusion of Dissidence in Arab Public Opinion

Mohamad Al-Ississ () and Samer Atallah ()

No 900, Working Papers from Economic Research Forum

Abstract: We are investigating the contagion effect in dissidence in public opinion. In other words, the question is whether the behavior of dissidence in neighboring countries interacted through public opinion or not. We also investigate whether the diffusion dynamics changed after the start of the uprisings in the spring of 2011. We exploit data from Gallup polls conducted over seven waves during the period from 2009 to 2012 covering 22 Arab countries. Respondents were asked several questions ranging from their opinion on government role, employment, financial sector and role of women in society. We focus our study on three areas that are potential precursor to public dissidence. These are perception of corruption, economic inclusion, and physical wellbeing. Interestingly, our results suggest that there is indeed diffusion in public dissidence across Arab countries in the economic inclusion and wellbeing but not in perception of corruption. Additionally, the evolvement of the uprisings affected diffusion dynamics. Diffusion of dissidence was quite present prior to the start of the Arab uprisings and ceased to exist post the uprisings.

Pages: 12
Date: 2014, Revised 2014
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Published by The Economic Research Forum (ERF)

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