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Limited Statehood and Informal Economy

  • Ruth Hanau Santini
Chapter
Part of the Reform and Transition in the Mediterranean book series (RTM)

Abstract

The informal sector has traditionally accounted between a third and half of the national GDP, and since the 2011 uprising, given the slow growth experiences, this trend has further consolidated. In marginal areas of the country, in particular the southeast area bordering with Libya and interior regions bordering with Algeria, cross-border smuggling has represented a social and economic safety valve. Until 2010, this occurred under the benevolent eye of the regime, which simultaneously controlled it through local notables and security forces and profited from it, by letting smugglers bribe state officials, be they notables or security forces. It also allowed the regime to concentrate resources and investment in the so-called useful Tunisia, the coastal areas, further increasing socio-economic regional disparities. The political and economic discrimination of these regions has been an established practice since the creation of modern Tunisia in 1956 and increasingly so since the 1990s. Since the 2011 uprisings, the increasing number of non-state actors involved in this sector and the incapacity and/or unwillingness of the central authority to enforce and implement laws, both in terms of curbing this trade and also of implementing the constitutional provisions related to positive discrimination and investment in marginalized regions, have further cemented limited statehood vis-à-vis these geographical areas and this policy arena.

Keywords

Smuggling Transnational Resistance Accumulation Tunisia Informal economy 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Hanau Santini
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Naples - L’OrientaleNaplesItaly

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