Keyword in Focus

Keyword in Focus: Tunisia

Too few jobs or too many graduates? Image: courtesy of Stefano Benetti

“A socio-economic oasis in a political desert”: this is how Diogo Noivo describes Tunisia in a 2009 briefing paper for the Portuguese Institute of International Relations and Security (IPRIS). It got about by now that the notorious tourist destination is not a paradise for critical spirits and democratically-minded people. But now it seems that even the socio-economic oasis Tunisia was supposed to be is drying out.

A desperate, unemployed university graduate, who was denied the right to have a vegetable stall on the local market in a provincial town and slapped and insulted by the police, burnt himself in protest. Demonstrations organized by otherwise loyal trade unions were not crushed by the government’s security forces for a change and the autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali reacted to the protests by firing his youth minister and allocating more money for the country’s youth programs. However, the angry crowd didn’t let itself calm down by this and Ben Ali returned to his old methods: guns and batons.

In this excellent report, the German-language Swiss public radio reveals the socio-economic causes of this unrest: Tunisia’s good education system brings out tens of thousands of university graduates every  year, which the country’s low-tech industries such as textiles and cheap tourism can’t absorb.


ISN Quiz: Unemployment

This week’s Special Report dealt with the issue of unemployment in the wake of the financial crisis. How much do you know about the topic?



Elusive Employment

Sign of a sickly job market in Chicago, photo: ChiBart/flickr

With unemployment in many parts of the world the worst of the post-World War II era, policymakers are scrambling for solutions. This week the ISN examines the long-term unemployment trends of this ‘Great Recession’ and puts forward some potential policy prescriptions.

This ISN Special Report contains the following content:

  • An Analysis by Dr Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, on the worst US unemployment figures in the post-World War II era – and why Europe is faring better.
  • A Podcast interview with Dr Johannes Jütting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development examines how workers in developing countries are adjusting to increasing job insecurity – namely by moving deeper into the informal labor market.
  • Security Watch articles about job security crises from Spain to Honduras, the US to India, and much more.
  • Publications housed in our Digital Library, including an analysis from the US Congressional Research Service on the current trend in long-term unemployment compared with that during previous recessions.
  • Primary Resources, like the US Bureau of Labor Statistics report on how governments measure unemployment.
  • Links to relevant websites, such as the International Labor Organization’s Youth Employment Network.
  • Our IR Directory, featuring Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing, a global research-policy network that seeks to improve the status of the working poor, especially women, in the informal economy.