Economic reforms as a means to diversification in the Arab Gulf states

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This article is featured in the ORIENT IV 2018

The current economic reform agenda unfolding across the Arab Gulf states is a reaction to the sharp decline in oil prices that began in late 2014. As prices recover, there are threats to the immediacy of the fiscal pressure to reform, but the larger pressures to diversify economies away from resource dependency in ways that build private sectors that can supply jobs and boost productivity remain strong. Governments are at a crossroads. There will be important variation in policy formation, opportunity creation and service delivery in the region. These are experimental times in Gulf policy formation and governance. Economic governance is increasingly connected to ambitious foreign policies and questions on the state’s commitment to citizens, and its reliance on foreign labour.

Karen E. Young is a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She teaches courses on the politics and economics of the Middle East at George Washington University and Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her research focuses on the political economy of the Gulf states and emerging markets.

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