INFOGRAPHIC: Governance indicators in oil-rich and oil-poor Arab countries.
Despite the potential for economic growth attached to oil, oil-poor Arab countries performed better than oil-rich Arab countries in terms of per capita growth rates. Both, however, suffered negative and even declining governance outcomes, which the authors attribute to exclusive political systems and the domination of authoritarian regimes. Data source: Galal & Hoda (2014). "Economic development in the Arab region: a tale of oil and politics" in International development: Ideas, experience, and prospects. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (French version)

— Abstract

In spite of the resource richness of the region, Arab countries display underdevelopment, poverty and inequality. 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 Arab revolts suggest that change is possible, but it remains to be seen how these will spread in the region and whether these revolts will be remembered in the future as a critical juncture toward more inclusive institutions and shared progress.

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— Suggested Readings

Bellin, Eva. (2004). “The Robustness of Authoritarianism in the Middle East: Exceptionalism in Comparative Perspective,” Comparative Politics, 36(2): 139–59. [PDF 200MB]

Diwan, Ishac. (2012). “A Rational Framework for the Understanding of the Arab Revolutions”. Cairo: Economic Research Forum (ERF).

Elbadawi, Ibrahim and Samir Makdisi (eds.) (2011). Democracy in the Arab World: Explaining the Deficit. New York and Ottawa: Routledge and International Development Research Centre. (Résumé en français disponible ici)

King, Stephen. (2009). The New Authoritarianism in the Middle East and North Africa. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Yousef, Tarik M. (2004). “Employment, Development and the Social Contract in the Middle East and North Africa.” Background paper for Unlocking the Employment Potential in the Middle East and North Africa: Towards a New Social Contract. Washington, DC: The World Bank.

Stevenson, L. (2010). Private sector and enterprise development: Fostering growth in the Middle East and North Africa. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Stevenson, Lois. (2013). Développement du secteur privé et des entreprises favoriser la croissance au Moyen-Orient et en Afrique du Nord. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.