Public Policy & Administration Department

Description or Abstract

A growing number of recent studies on the Egyptian revolution attribute its beginning to a set of socio-economic and political factors. On the political side, explanations includes a) the persistent rule by terror for thirty years through the emergency law, b) the prohibition on political rights and civil freedoms and lack of free and fair elections, c) police brutality against activists– namely the case of Khaled Said) the wide spread corruption, e) the spread of virtual-opposition through social networking websites and the Arabic satellite, f) the success of the Tunisian revolution as a bloodless and fast change, the sacrifice of Mohammed Bouazizi, and finally the spread of wikileaks scandals that threw more mud over the regime's face. . On the socio-economic side, the revolution is largely attributed to the rise of unemployment, inflation of food prices, low income and rising inequality, the lack of health services. In short, the revolution is explained by the increasing density and pervasiveness of social, economic and political grievances that culminated into an uncontrollable anger towards a diminishing legitimacy of Mubarak's thirty-years-rule of the country. This was largely reflected in the main demands of the protestors to end Hosni Mubarak's rule, end emergency law, freedom, social justice and human dignity. This paper suggests a growing significance of the economic motives of social and political change through highlighting the economic dimensions of Egypt before 25th January 2011. It reviews different indicators of the economic conditions in Egypt before the revolution, in a way to answer a main question, “what are the economic motives behind the 25th January revolution in Egypt?” The structural approach followed on this paper slightly touches on the Marxian conception of dependency– by which social, political and cultural structures are perceived as dependent on the economic super-structure. In this paper, these dimensions are seen as rather intertwined and mutually dependent on each other; the economic motives are only one face of a complex web of explanations that generate meaning and resonance to similar experiences elsewhere. Meanwhile, the structural approach is deemed suitable to a leaderless revolution, since it provides a set of ‘totalising' factors that facilitate collective action on massive scales by creating a national narrative of the revolution. This paper is organized around eight sections that circumscribe the economic situation in Egypt; economic stagnation, income inequality and poverty levels, the demographic aspect–population size, unemployment, rise of food prices compared to income levels, education and market matching and wealth and gender gaps.


2011 Egyptian Revolution, Economics, January 25 Revolution

Faculty Advisor

Ali, Hamid Eltgani


PPAD 502

Content Type



17 p.