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Princes, Brokers, and Bureaucrats: Oil and the State in Saudi Arabia

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In Princes, Brokers, and Bureaucrats, the most thorough treatment of the political economy of Saudi Arabia to date, Steffen Hertog uncovers an untold history of how the elite rivalries and whims of half a century ago have shaped today's Saudi state and are reflected in its policies. Starting in the late 1990s, Saudi Arabia embarked on an ambitious reform campaign to remedy In Princes, Brokers, and Bureaucrats, the most thorough treatment of the political economy of Saudi Arabia to date, Steffen Hertog uncovers an untold history of how the elite rivalries and whims of half a century ago have shaped today's Saudi state and are reflected in its policies. Starting in the late 1990s, Saudi Arabia embarked on an ambitious reform campaign to remedy its long-term economic stagnation. The results have been puzzling for both area specialists and political economists: Saudi institutions have not failed across the board, as theorists of the "rentier state" would predict, nor have they achieved the all-encompassing modernization the regime has touted. Instead, the kingdom has witnessed a bewildering m�lange of thorough failures and surprising successes. Hertog argues that it is traits peculiar to the Saudi state that make sense of its uneven capacities. Oil rents since World War II have shaped Saudi state institutions in ways that are far from uniform. Oil money has given regime elites unusual leeway for various institutional experiments in different parts of the state: in some cases creating massive rent-seeking networks deeply interwoven with local society; in others large but passive bureaucracies; in yet others insulated islands of remarkable efficiency. This process has fragmented the Saudi state into an uncoordinated set of vertically divided fiefdoms. Case studies of foreign investment reform, labor market nationalization and WTO accession reveal how this oil-funded apparatus enables swift and successful policy-making in some policy areas, but produces coordination and regulation failures in others.


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In Princes, Brokers, and Bureaucrats, the most thorough treatment of the political economy of Saudi Arabia to date, Steffen Hertog uncovers an untold history of how the elite rivalries and whims of half a century ago have shaped today's Saudi state and are reflected in its policies. Starting in the late 1990s, Saudi Arabia embarked on an ambitious reform campaign to remedy In Princes, Brokers, and Bureaucrats, the most thorough treatment of the political economy of Saudi Arabia to date, Steffen Hertog uncovers an untold history of how the elite rivalries and whims of half a century ago have shaped today's Saudi state and are reflected in its policies. Starting in the late 1990s, Saudi Arabia embarked on an ambitious reform campaign to remedy its long-term economic stagnation. The results have been puzzling for both area specialists and political economists: Saudi institutions have not failed across the board, as theorists of the "rentier state" would predict, nor have they achieved the all-encompassing modernization the regime has touted. Instead, the kingdom has witnessed a bewildering m�lange of thorough failures and surprising successes. Hertog argues that it is traits peculiar to the Saudi state that make sense of its uneven capacities. Oil rents since World War II have shaped Saudi state institutions in ways that are far from uniform. Oil money has given regime elites unusual leeway for various institutional experiments in different parts of the state: in some cases creating massive rent-seeking networks deeply interwoven with local society; in others large but passive bureaucracies; in yet others insulated islands of remarkable efficiency. This process has fragmented the Saudi state into an uncoordinated set of vertically divided fiefdoms. Case studies of foreign investment reform, labor market nationalization and WTO accession reveal how this oil-funded apparatus enables swift and successful policy-making in some policy areas, but produces coordination and regulation failures in others.

52 review for Princes, Brokers, and Bureaucrats: Oil and the State in Saudi Arabia

  1. 4 out of 5

    Arfan Ismail

    Excellent insight.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tari

    Far and away, the best-researched and most insightful book ever written on Saudi politics. Having worked extensively with multiple Saudi government institutions, I can personally vouch that his findings are spot-on.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Riyadhonline

    good account of policy making in saudi

  4. 4 out of 5

    Reef Al

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elle

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ruby Khaja

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

  8. 4 out of 5

    Khalid

  9. 5 out of 5

    Graham

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Webster

  11. 4 out of 5

    Zain Syedain

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anna Thomas

  13. 4 out of 5

    S J Menser

  14. 5 out of 5

    Camo

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jenazepol

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cboucek

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ahmed Alowfi

  18. 4 out of 5

    Samar

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    Abdulrahman

  20. 5 out of 5

    Claudscam

  21. 5 out of 5

    Counterinsurgent

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tallie Hausser

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Rue

  24. 4 out of 5

    Łukasz

  25. 5 out of 5

    Luis Miguel Bueno

  26. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Seifert

  27. 5 out of 5

    Majid

  28. 4 out of 5

    Fahima Jaffar

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alhusayn Hamidaddin

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jake Berlin

  31. 4 out of 5

    Fatima Al-emadi

  32. 4 out of 5

    Suliman

  33. 4 out of 5

    Lizzie

  34. 5 out of 5

    ArwaAziz

  35. 4 out of 5

    Omar Alnuaimi

  36. 5 out of 5

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  37. 4 out of 5

    khalid alhaider

  38. 5 out of 5

    Khalid

  39. 4 out of 5

    Norah

  40. 5 out of 5

    Thamer

  41. 5 out of 5

    Talal

  42. 5 out of 5

    عبدالرحمن القصير

  43. 4 out of 5

    محمد

  44. 4 out of 5

    Mohammed

  45. 5 out of 5

    Alison Baily

  46. 5 out of 5

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  47. 5 out of 5

    Arwa

  48. 4 out of 5

    SC

  49. 5 out of 5

    B

  50. 4 out of 5

    Alain

  51. 5 out of 5

    Hesham

  52. 4 out of 5

    Faisal Althubaiti

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