The Political Constraints on Economic Development in the Middle East

Prevailing discussions about the economic crisis in the Middle East pay inadequate attention to the political constraints that limit the horizon of development. Neither old state-led economic approaches nor the neoliberal templates that replaced them have resolved the chronic underdevelopment of the region.

Newer paradigms today are based upon a reformulated version of state-led capitalism, namely the so-called “Gulf model” as well as the economic dualism practiced in non-rentier states. Yet these templates of development suffer social vulnerability and political limitations, the latter reflecting the elite-centric structures of governance that still characterize political authority.
Imagining a more productive future requires not reformulating technocratic logics that have failed, but rather conceiving of more pluralistic political institutions capable of rendering economic decisions more accountable to popular interests.

HICHAM ALAOUI, Lecturer, University of California Berkeley
ISHAC DIWAN, Research Director, Finance for Development Lab, Paris School of Economics
Welcome remarks by:
STÉPHANIE BALME, Director CERI; Professor PSIA, Sciences Po
Moderated by:
STÉPHANE LACROIX, Associate Professor, CERI, Sciences Po

This event was co-organized by the Centre de recherches internationales and the Paris School of International Affairs.