The revolutionary wave that washed over the Arab world in 2011 swept away the rulers of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen. This article compares the economic policies adopted by the various governments in response to popular dissatisfaction, finding significant similarities between post-authoritarian transition regimes and authoritarian "survivors". Both have relied on a similar mix of economic strategies : a temporary increase in redistribution, direct monetary transfers to what are deemed politically useful sections of the population and an ongoing commitment to preuprising policies of reduced social spending and economic liberalization. This convergence runs counter to expectations that elected transitional governments would be more responsive than their authoritarian predecessors to mass demands for social and economic justice. It also undermines the notion that these authoritarian regimes are inflexible and so unable to adapt their policies to changing circumstances.
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Heydemann, Steven, "After the Earthquake : Economic Governance and Mass Politics in the Arab World" (2013). Middle East Studies: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.