By Gregory White
Examines how emerging fiscal integration with Europe affects Tunisia and Morocco.
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Additional resources for A Comparative Political Economy of Tunisia and Morocco: On the Outside of Europe Looking in
Economic Policy Reform First, changes in development strategy are rarely momentous, instantaneous transformations. 63 Nonetheless, it is usually possible to identify the start of signiﬁcant changes in domestic economic policy. In middle-income countries, in particular, two circumstances expedite changes in development strategy: (1) a change in domestic regime and/or government and (2) political and economic changes in the nearby advancedindustrialized country or bloc of countries. These changes provide the con- Middle-Income Countries and the Politics of Economic Change 23 straints and opportunities for domestic policy changes.
Yet, such assertions are made in the broader context of comparisons to other countries and to other regions. Within the context of the Maghrib, the differences between countries are quite stark, even regarding so-called similarities. For example, Ottoman rule in Tunisia—absent in Morocco—had a profound impact on Tunisia’s state formation, society, and language. The brief introduction to Tunisian and Moroccan political economy indicates as well that the differences between Maghribi countries in the postindependence era are particularly stark regarding political regimes and economic resources.
After Ben Salah’s downfall, President Bourguiba appointed former Central Bank governor Hédi Nouira as prime minister in 1970. Under Nouira’s leadership in the 1970s (and Mohammed Mzali’s after April 1980) the state turned to a strikingly different, promarket strategy of economic liberalism, called al-inﬁtah. Ofﬁcial policy dismantled barriers to external ﬁnance and trade and pursued a strategy of export-oriented growth in the name of economic liberalism and the “hard law” of the market. In his Discourse-Programme to the National Assembly in November 1970, Nouira stated: In place of an administrative economy, we have to reconstitute an economy obedient to the rules of efﬁciency and proﬁtability.