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International DevelopmentIdeas, Experience, and Prospects$
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Bruce Currie-Alder, Ravi Kanbur, David M. Malone, and Rohinton Medhora

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199671656

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199671656.001.0001

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Economic Development in the Arab Region: A Tale of Oil and Politics

Economic Development in the Arab Region: A Tale of Oil and Politics

Chapter:
(p.750) Chapter 44 Economic Development in the Arab Region: A Tale of Oil and Politics
Source:
International Development
Author(s):

Ahmed Galal

Hoda Selim

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199671656.003.0045

This chapter reviews the development experience of the Arab countries since the Second World War, arguing that extractive economic and political institutions are the primary cause of the current state of underdevelopment in the region. While macroeconomic mismanagement and oil abundance are important determinants of performance, these factors are shaped primarily by the prevailing political institutions, which predate the discovery of oil. In the oil-poor Arab countries, limited progress is attributed to an authoritarian bargain in which the rulers offered economic benefits to the poor and the middle class in exchange for political acquiescence. The chapter concludes by speculating about whether the recent Arab revolts will spread to the rest of the region and whether or not these revolts will be remembered in the future as a critical juncture toward more inclusive institutions and shared progress. It does not offer a conclusive answer, but suggests that early indications are positive.

Keywords:   Middle East, Arab Spring, economic development, institutions, oil curse, authoritarian bargain, modernization

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