Economic and political change in Tunisia: From Bourguiba to Ben Ali

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9780333735008: Economic and political change in Tunisia: From Bourguiba to Ben Ali

'...this study of contemporary Tunisia is an important contribution to a growing literature of both the political problems of North Africa and the contentious issue of economic development there.' - George Joffé, London School of Economics

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Economic liberalization is the catchphrase of development economics at the end of the twentieth century. While its socio-economic virtues and costs are still debated, its political implications are equally unclear. This book examines the relationship between economic liberalization and political reform, developing a theoretical approach towards understanding the dysfunction of the corporatist state in the Arab world and the apparent retreat into authoritarian, rather than democratic, political systems.

The book examines the case of Tunisia, a country which has undergone profound economic liberalization and simultaneous political change. The roots of those changes are traced back to the failures of the corporatist political system developed by Habib Bourguiba, the father of the post-independence state. The presidency of his successor, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, is analysed in terms of the policies and problems of reform. In conclusion, the book seeks to explain why the Tunisian state seems unable to combine its economic transformation with meaningful progress towards democratization.

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