TRE Spotlight: Lindsay Benstead

Lindsay Benstead of Portland State University recently published “Why do some Arab citizens see democracy as unsuitable for their country?” in Democratization. Benstead received a POMEPS Travel-Research-Engagement grant in spring 2012 to travel to Tunisia and Algeria to study electoral behavior. In her new article, based in part on her TRE research, Benstead argues that Arab citizens’ attitudes toward democracy are shaped by beliefs about democracy’s political, economic, and religious consequences. Her findings, also summarized on The Monkey Cage, suggest “concerns about the consequences of free elections affect support for democracy as much as assessments of the political and economic performance of the current authoritarian regime.”

Benstead’s fieldwork in Tunisia supported the establishment (in collaboration with Ellen Lust of Yale University) of the 2012 Post Election-Survey, which has in turn contributed to the development of the Transitional Governance Project. The TGP aims to “enhance our understanding of the pressures, processes and prospects for transitions in order to support policymakers engaged in improving governance.” Benstead along with Lust, Dhafer Malouche, and Jakob Wichmann summarize findings from a June 2014 TGP poll of Tunisians’ attitudes toward democracy and democratic processes in an October 27, 2014 Monkey Cage article “Tunisian elections bring hope in uncertain times.” TGP also recently published poll data on “Libya’s security dilemma.”

POMEPS is looking forward to reading her current book project “Legislative Connections: Why Diverse Patterns of Parliamentary Clientelism Stabilize Authoritarian Governance in Arab North Africa” when it is published.

For more from Benstead’s TRE research watch POMEPS Conversations 17 and read:

Islamists Aren’t the Obstacle: How to Build Democracy in Egypt and Tunisia.” Foreign Affairs, February 14, 2013 (with Ellen Lust, Dhafer Malouche, Gamal Soltan and Jakob Wichmann)

Winners and Losers after the Arab Spring,” Yale Global Online, August 27, 2013, (with Ellen Lust and Jakob Wichmann).

Tunisian Revolution is Work in Progress,” Yale Global Online, December 19, 2012, (with Ellen Lust and Dhafer Malouche).

Tunisians Frustrated but Engaged,” Foreign Policy, December 11, 2012 (with Ellen Lust and Dhafer Malouche).

To learn more about POMEPS TRE grants click here.

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