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The sixth anniversary of the Arab Spring uprisings this year came and went largely unnoticed.One of the most important is why economists failed to anticipate the unrest.Forecasting political upheaval is no easy feat. This particular forecasting failure may reflect a deeper problem with economic assumptions and frameworks.Were economists focused on the wrong indicators?Nonetheless, this represented a significant improvement from the 1980s and 1990s, when the MENA economies lagged far behind other regions.Even so, the fact remains that the MENA countries were experiencing improvements in relative prosperity, not economic downturns or stagnation. This flies in the face of much conventional thinking, which links mass revolts to economic hardship and assumes that periods of relative prosperity are correlated with mass political quiescence.The Arab Spring suggests that improved economic performance cannot be viewed as an insurance policy against political instability.
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