State-society relations and industrial sustainable growth: The case of post-Revolution Tunisia

Mohamed Ismail Sabry*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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This paper investigates the effect of state-society relations (SSR) in the industrial sector on the sustainable economic growth of post-Revolution Tunisia. The empirical part of the paper depends mainly on qualitative data collected from fieldwork interviews with the most important actors and publications of civil society organizations. The paper suggests the presence of state capture as the defining characteristic of SSR in post-Revolution Tunisia. The combination of having powerful tycoons, weaker state, and ineffectively organized social actors produced conditions that harmed sustainability. These settings allowed tycoons to violate environmental regulations and prevented Green innovation through the adoption of Green technologies. Yet, factors such as low value-added creation, increased labor-intensity, and low environmental awareness or prioritization all interact with state capture to lower sustainability. In those sectors where tycoons are active and dominant, competing social actors are incapable of effectively exploiting the presence of a freer political system, ultimately failing to successfully organize resisting coalitions, as evident in the textile sector. While higher resistance is witnessed where tycoons are not dominant as was the case in the phosphate sector, tycoons could still use the situation to their advantage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1792-1810
Number of pages19
JournalSustainable Development
Issue number3
Early online date11 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research was partly funded by MECAM where part of the qualitative data was collected during the author's fellowship as a postdoctoral research affiliate at MECAM for the period between March and June 2022. This work was also sponsored by the Economic Research Forum (ERF) and has benefited from both financial and intellectual support. The views expressed in this work are entirely those of the author(s) and should not be attributed to ERF, its Board of Trustees, or donors. Special thanks go to Dr. Bernard Hoekman for his valuable comments on an earlier version of the paper as well as for the esteemed anonymous reviewer and Dr. Van Miller, the chief editor, for their important feedback and comments that helped shape the final version of this paper. 1

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author. Sustainable Development published by ERP Environment and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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