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.