Isobel Coleman

Democracy in Development

Coleman maps the intersections between political reform, economic growth, and U.S. policy in the developing world.

Inclusive Economic Growth and Brazil’s Protests

by Isobel Coleman Thursday, June 20, 2013
Demonstrators march toward the Mineirao Stadium, where Nigeria was playing Tahiti in the Confederations Cup, during one of the many protests around Brazil's major cities in Belo Horizonte June 17, 2013 (Pedro Vilela/Courtesy Reuters). Demonstrators march toward the Mineirao Stadium, where Nigeria was playing Tahiti in the Confederations Cup, during one of the many protests around Brazil's major cities in Belo Horizonte on June 17, 2013 (Pedro Vilela/Courtesy Reuters).

Brazil’s weeklong protests, which have brought hundreds of thousands of people into the streets across the country, have scored their first victory: officials in the major cities of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro have agreed to rescind the 20 cent bus fare hike that sparked the protests in the first place. But this conciliatory move, far from placating the crowds, seems to have energized their demands. Large marches are planned for today with demands now focused on better education and health care and greater efforts to tackle corruption. Read more »

Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons From Democratic Transitions

by Isobel Coleman Wednesday, June 19, 2013
A man casts his vote at a polling station in Ciudad Juarez on July 1, 2012 (Jorge Luis Gonzalez/Courtesy Reuters). A man casts his vote at a polling station in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on July 1, 2012 (Jorge Luis Gonzalez/Courtesy Reuters).

Today marks the publication of a new Council on Foreign Relations book, Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons From Democratic Transitions, which I co-edited with my colleague Terra Lawson-Remer; other CFR colleagues, John Campbell, Joshua Kurlantzick, and Shannon O’Neil contributed chapters, as did scholars from other institutions. The book looks at eight different countries–Mexico, Brazil, Poland, South Africa, Indonesia, Thailand, Ukraine, and Nigeria–that have been through democratic transitions, some successful, others less so. Read more »

Youth Unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa

by Isobel Coleman Thursday, June 13, 2013
Graph by author. Data are from ILO's Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 report. Regional data are from ILO's 2012 preliminary estimates; U.S. and E.U. data are from the OECD's second quarter 2012 data. Graph by author. Data are from ILO's Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 report. Regional data are from ILO's 2012 preliminary estimates; U.S. and E.U. data are from the OECD's second quarter 2012 data.

As the graph above makes painfully clear, the Middle East and North Africa face significant challenges when it comes to youth unemployment. A World Economic Forum report from 2012 notes, “Unemployment in the MENA region is the highest in the world…and largely a youth phenomenon.” Read more »

Rached Ghannouchi and Tunisia’s Transition

by Isobel Coleman Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Ennahda movement, Tunisia's main Islamist political party, speaks during a demonstration in Tunis on February 16, 2013 (Anis Mili/Courtesy Reuters). Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Nahda movement, Tunisia's main Islamist political party, speaks during a demonstration in Tunis on February 16, 2013 (Anis Mili/Courtesy Reuters).

Last week, my colleague Ed Husain and I hosted a meeting with Rached Ghannouchi—the cofounder and president of Tunisia’s Islamist Nahda party—at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. The audio is available here. Read more »