Exploring the Behavioral Mechanism for the Attitudes of Youth on Democracy and Unemployment

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This Discussion Paper has been presented as a part of the workshop called The Social-Economic Situation of Middle East Youth on the Eve of the Arab Spring, hosted on December 8 - 9th, 2012 at the American University in Beirut. In this paper we explore the interconnectedness and the complex nature of youth bulge on democratization via two routes. First route is a direct effect of the economy on democratization of a state. There is abundant research in the literature showing the democratic transitions as well as democratic stability greatly rely on economic wealth and development (Epstein, Bates, Goldstone, Kristensen and O’Halloran 2006; Inglehart 1997; Lijphart 1999). In order for democracy to establish in a state, the economic conditions need to support this process by all means. Although this is an important factor, it is by itself insufficient. Equally important in this process is the role that youth plays as a mediator between economic conditions and democratic establishment. At this juncture, we argue that given the importance of the youth for the future of these states where Arab Spring was observed, we need to further understand how they perceive democracy and how they are affected by the economic downturn. The other part of this evaluation is the perception of democracy for the youth in the MENA states.

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