Mobilization, Repression and Policy Concessions in Authoritarian Regimes: The Cases of Egypt and Jordan

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Political Science Department

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Nadine Sika

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Political Studies

Publication Date

Winter 1-4-2023




In 2018 new economic reform measures were implemented in Egypt and Jordan under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund. These measures were met with public outrage in both countries. In Jordan, mass mobilization, demonstrations and strikes took place, lasted for a month and ended in policy concessions. In Egypt, however, only few independent demonstrations erupted, no mass mobilization occurred, and no policy concessions were enacted by the regime. This article seeks to understand, why activists were able to mobilize large numbers of citizens and attain policy concessions in Jordan, while they were not able to in Egypt. I argue that in authoritarian regimes, different types of repressive strategies against activists and their movements impact their ability to develop networks and advance short-term policy concessions. Targeted repression against activists enables the development of formal and informal networks in addition to coalitions, increasing a movements’ bargaining power. However, widespread repression hampers the development of all types of networks, especially formal networks, which impedes activists’ ability to bargain for policy concessions.

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