Feb 22, 2011

Why are the falling dominoes all Arab?

Since an uprising in Tunisia succeeded in ousting an evil dictator, democratic fever has spread to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and it seems any Arab dictator may be the next domino to fall. But why is this contagion Arab-specific? In predicting which dictator would be the next to fall, The Economist only ranked Arab countries. Why is the same not happening in China or Cameroon?

China's patience may be explained by its 10% growth. But what about Cameroon's? I guess here the answer lies in the contagion determinants rather than the country-specific social unrest ones, such as unemployment and corruption. Cultural and geographic proximity seem key. Facebook and twitter data should capture the former quite adequately.

Update: Justin Wolfers provides insights from prediction markets as to whom will be the next dictator to fall down. He seems to have a paper already in mind: "Is revolution contagious? Evidence from prediction markets". 

1 comment:

Cam said...

All this stuff about the 'Facebook and Twitter revolutions' got me thinking - what were revolutions like in the good old days.

The following is a really nice article which shows up the facility of the Facebook revolution nonsense: