Service delivery, state legitimacy and conflict in Arab countries: Exploring the key linkages using a social policy perspective

Rana Jawad, Oliver Walton, Walid Merouani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper addresses the question of how service delivery (SD) affects state legitimacy (SL) and conflict (C) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, drawing particularly on frameworks that move beyond a state-centric approach. Focusing on the majority-Arab countries of MENA, the paper aims to: (1) offer a preliminary explanation of the distinctiveness of this region in light of some of the main findings of the introductory paper by the lead guest editor Timo Kivimäki and (2) explore the potential of a social policy perspective in explaining the relationship between SD, SL and C. This is achieved by combining research insights acquired through extensive qualitative social policy research in the MENA region with a re-reading of the existing literature on SD, SL and C. To support a comprehensive re-examination of the issues at hand, the paper also draws on the 5th Wave of the Arab Barometer micro-level survey (ABS) on Arab citizen perceptions of socio-economic conditions in their countries and macro-level social welfare expenditure data from the World Bank World Development Indicators (WDI). By bringing insights from the social policy literature on the MENA region into conversation with broader research on the relationship between SD, SL and C, we identify several distinctive features of service delivery in the MENA context and examine their implications for state legitimacy and conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Article number481
JournalSocial Sciences
Volume10
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Conflict
  • Middle East and North Africa
  • Service delivery
  • Social expenditure
  • Social policy
  • Social protection
  • State legitimacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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