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Report - Project on Middle East Political Science

POMEPS Studies 31: Social Policy in the Middle East and North Africa

This spring, major protests swept through Jordan over economic grievances and subsidy reforms. In July, protestors took to the streets in the south of Iraq, demanding that the government address persistent unemployment, underdevelopment, and corruption. Meanwhile, earlier in 2018, Tunisians launched a wave of protests to oppose tax hikes on basic goods and increased cost of living. Such highly politicized responses to social policy concerns are the norm rather than the exception across the Middle East and North Africa.

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Report

Introduction: Social Policy in the Middle East and North Africa

Social policy refers to policies shaping life concerns such as education, health, housing, and employment. It concerns the ways that polities and societies meet the basic needs of their citizens and residents for human security and well-being, broadly defined, and face the challenges of poverty, unemployment, demographic and socioeconomic change. National and local governments are the main actors in crafting and enforcing social policy, but non-state actors, such as international and domestic organizations, civil society groups, for-profit entities, and families, among others, are also key.