01 Sep 2018

WVSA completes a joint research project with the World Bank

In July 2018 WVSA has completed a research project in the Middle East in cooperation with the World Bank. Within the framework of this project, WVSA team developed and implemented a module of questions exploring the issues of social contract; the module was introduced into the WVS-7 survey fieldwork in 4 MENA countries: Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Egypt. Samples of N=1200 respondents have been interviewed in each of the 4 countries using face to face interview method. WVSA expects to continue the study of social contract in other countries in the Middle East. WVS-7 fieldwork will be completed in December 2019; over 10 MENA countries are expected to join WVS wave 7.

What is the social contract and why does the Arab world need a new one? (Abstract from the full text; full text available: HERE)

The ‘social contract’ is an idea that dates back to the ancient Greeks, and refers to the implicit agreement among members of a society that defines their relationship with each other and the state. That relationship holds the key to unravelling the puzzle of the ‘Arab Spring.’ The uprisings that started in Tunisia and spread to several countries in the Arab world in 2010-11 came as somewhat of a surprise.  For the previous decade, almost all the indicators of economic well-being were strong and improving. Yet, as various Gallup and World Values Surveys indicate, there was growing dissatisfaction in these societies, which erupted in revolutions in four countries and popular protests in several others.  While much of the protests were about voice and political accountability, there is still a puzzle of how there could have been so much discontent in the face of seemingly strong and improving economic conditions. The solution lies in the nature of the social contract in these countries that, on the one hand, delivered the favorable indicators mentioned above, but on the other hand failed to meet the aspirations of the growing middle class, and especially its youth.


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