Providing jobs is often seen as a tool through which to reduce protests or demonstrations, as well as riots, terrorism, and armed conflicts. The underlying logic is that those who work are more satisfied and have fewer motives and less time to demonstrate and rebel. This policy brief, however, shows that unemployment predicts neither political violence nor participation in protests. The brief first takes a look at the existing research on the topic globally. Based on survey data from the Middle East and North Africa, it then finds that the unemployed are not more likely to accept political violence or participate in demonstrations. Finally, possible explanations for why unemployment does not appear to be a driver of political protests and instability are mapped.
Paasonen, Kari (2022) Does Unemployment Drive Political Violence and Protest? Focusing On the Case of Middle Eastern and North African Youth, Conflict Trends, 1. Oslo: PRIO.