Martin Beck / Thomas Richter

Oil and Political Economy in the Middle East: Overcoming Rentierism?

Chapter in edited Volume | 2021

  • Published in

    Oil and Political Economy in the Middle East


    Martin Beck

    Thomas Richter

    Number of Pages



    Manchester University Press









    Whither Rentierism: Trajectories of Adjustment in the Arab Gulf after the Era of Oil Income Abundance

    Workshop 09/11/2021

    This paper looks at key trajectories of adjustment in the Arab Gulf since 2014. We argue that despite a wide range of adjustment measures no deep, structural reform has been initiated in any of the GCC countries. We highlight, however, the importance of several crucial trends which shed light upon the future of reforms in the region. First, while coordination between oil produces was successful at the global level in the context of OPEC+, similarly gainful policy coordination was largely absent within the GCC. Second, migrant workers from the Global South have been the biggest losers from post-2014 adjustment policies, while citizens of the Gulf states – most of whom are employed in the well-paid public sector – were able to maintain their privileges. Third, as typical for rentier states, adjustment policies were characterized by institutional weaknesses. Differences between GCC countries can be explained by looking at distinctive institutional configurations relevant for policy formulation and decision making. In our concluding section we discuss what this means for the advancement of rentierism as key concept to better understand the political economy in the Middle East.


    Book Launch | Oil and the Political Economy in the Middle East

    Middle East Institute, Washington Washington, DC: 26/10/2021

    Following the Arab Spring uprisings, the 2014 downward slide in the global price of crude oil marks a second major shock for the Middle East in the 21st century. It had major repercussions across the region for oil exporters, as well as for importers connected to oil-producing countries from the Gulf. The decline has continued to impose constraints, but also opportunities for policy adjustment strategies potentially leading to strengthened political economies throughout the region.

    A recently published volume, Oil and the Political Economy in the Middle East, offers a comprehensive analysis of the Middle Eastern political economy in response to the 2014 oil price decline with timely contributions on the Covid-19 induced price crash in 2020.


    Vom Überfluss zur Knappheit: Rentierstaatlichkeit im arabischen Golf

    Conference 16/09/2021


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