The Arab spring : economic causes and consequences of the Arab spring : an empirical socio-economic analysis
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- Master Thesis 
The purpose of this thesis is to elaborate on the prelude and postlude of widespread protests across the Middle East and North Africa in 2010 and subsequent years. These series of events became known as the Arab Spring. The thesis will elaborate on economic conditions at the doorstep of the Arab Spring to assess potential economic motivations for protestors. Furthermore, we evaluate its aftermath, and whether conditions have improved. Both parts will focus on the same macroeconomic indicators. In addition, the thesis includes an assessment of institutional quality to supplement our understanding of the Arab Spring. When analyzing Arab economies along macroeconomics indicators, we apply the seven-step dynamic crisis model by Ola H. Grytten and Arngrim Hunnes, as well as drawing on elements from crisis theories by Hyman Minsky and Charles P. Kindleberger. In the first part of our analysis, we evaluate the development of eight selected macroeconomic indicators in four specific countries prior to the preliminary Tunisian protests in December 2010. In the second part of our analysis, we evaluate the same indicators in the same countries for the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Upon doing so, we apply the Hodrick-Prescott-filter to separate cycles components from the trend and evaluate these cycles along the eight indicators prior to and after protests erupted. Cycle values for other Arab states are presented for comparison. The purpose is to evaluate whether things have changed for the better, the worse, or not at all in the region. The third part of our analysis elaborates the institutional quality of Arab countries. This is done to shed light on the Arab Spring from a societal perspective. In the fourth part of our analysis, we implement empirical findings from foregoing sections into the seven-step dynamic crisis model. The purpose of this is to direct attention towards important dynamics of economic crisis stemming from an exogenous shock. Furthermore, we seek to assess whether we find evidence for the occurrence of the seven elements stipulated in the model. Our analysis shows that macroeconomic cycles alone cannot be blamed for the eruption of protests. We do, however, emphasize that economic circumstances were poor although business cycles in 2010 imply otherwise. Poor overall institutional quality is also likely a contributor to grievance and unrest. Furthermore, our findings indicate a worsening of conditions along several macroeconomic indicators since 2010. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, we find indications for the occurrence of disruption, nervousness, turning point, crisis, and spread.