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Working Paper

Unhappy Development : Dissatisfaction with Life on the Eve of the Arab Spring

SANITATION LIVING STANDARDS JOBS EMPLOYMENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATES WORKFORCE ECONOMIC GROWTH OLD AGE POLITICAL ACTION ELEMENTARY EDUCATION INFORMAL SECTOR PUBLIC EDUCATION ECONOMIC JUSTICE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES PERSONAL HEALTH GOOD GOVERNANCE DEVELOPING COUNTRIES PUBLIC SERVICES PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT INDIVIDUAL CHOICES HEALTH CARE YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT RATES JOB DEPRESSION EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS POLICY DISCUSSIONS DEVELOPMENT GOALS ADULT POPULATION PERSISTENT UNEMPLOYMENT JOB INSECURITY NATIONAL LEVEL SOCIAL SCIENCES GOVERNMENT SUPPORT PAID MATERNITY DRIVERS MATERNAL MORTALITY INEQUITIES KNOWLEDGE LABOR MARKET SOCIAL CONDITIONS OWNERSHIP STRUCTURES JOB OPPORTUNITIES LIFE EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT EXOGENOUS VARIABLES WORKER PUBLIC SECTOR JOBS DEMOCRACY LIMITED JOB OPPORTUNITIES UNEMPLOYED MIGRATION MODERNIZATION JOB MARKET HOUSEHOLD INCOME SERVICE PROVISION MARRIAGE LABOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT RULE OF LAW MORTALITY EARNINGS GROWTH POLITICAL SUPPORT RESPECT PROGRESS UNEMPLOYMENT MIGRANT REGULATORY FRAMEWORKS WORKERS LABOR MARKET CONDITIONS POLICIES DOMESTIC MARKETS JOB STATUS BASIC NEEDS POLICY RESEARCH WORKING PAPER CROSS-SECTIONAL DATA POLICY MAKERS LEVEL OF DEVELOPMENT SOCIAL POLICY PERSONAL FREEDOM WORKSHOP EMPLOYMENT STATUS EMPLOYMENT GROWTH PRIVATE SECTOR COUNTRY-SPECIFIC FACTORS QUALITY SERVICES BULLETIN POLICY QUALITY OF LIFE CITIZENS CHILD MORTALITY PUBLIC SECTOR EMPLOYMENT HUMAN RIGHTS ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES LEVEL OF EDUCATION DRINKING WATER NATURAL RESOURCE HUMAN NEEDS NUMBER OF CHILDREN ECONOMIC PROGRESS EMPLOYEE SOCIAL UNREST POLICY IMPLICATIONS YOUNG PEOPLE SOCIAL UPHEAVAL POPULATION MARITAL STATUS HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT POLITICAL SCIENTISTS STUDENTS LIVING CONDITIONS POLICY RESEARCH FOREIGN POLICY WOMEN YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT LABOR MARKETS MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS POLITICAL INSTABILITY FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS HUMAN DEVELOPMENT DEVELOPMENT POLICY EMPLOYEES
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World Bank, Washington, DC
Middle East and North Africa | Middle East | North Africa
2015-12-18T20:21:29Z | 2015-12-18T20:21:29Z | 2015-11

Despite progress in economic and social development in the 2000s, there was an increasing dissatisfaction with life among the population of many developing Arab countries. At the end of the decade, these countries ranked among the least happy economies in the world—a situation that fits the so-called “unhappy development” paradox. The paradox is defined as declining levels of happiness at a time of moderate-to-rapid economic development. This paper empirically tests the strength of association of a range of objective and subjective factors with life evaluation in the Middle East and North Africa region in the years immediately preceding the Arab Spring uprisings (2009–10). The findings suggest a significant, negative association between life satisfaction levels in the region during this period and each of the main perceived reasons for the 2011 uprisings—dissatisfaction with the standard of living, poor labor market conditions, and corruption.

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