The popular uprisings in 2011 that overthrew Arab dictators were also a rebuke to crony capitalism, diverted against both rulers and their allied businessmen who monopolize all economic opportunities. While the Middle East has witnessed a growing nexus between business and politics in the wake of liberalization, little is discussed about the nature of business cronies, the sectors in which they operate, the mechanisms used to favour them, and the possible impact of such crony relations on the region’s development. Combining inputs from leading scholars in the field, Crony Capitalism in the Middle East: Business and Politics from Liberalization to the Arab Spring presents a wealth of empirical evidence on the form and function of this aspect of the region.
Crony Capitalism in the Middle East is unique in both its empirical focus and comparative scale. Analysis in individual chapters is empirically grounded and based on fine-grained data on the business activities of politically connected actors furnishing, for the first time, information on the presence, numerical strength, and activities of politically connected entrepreneurs. It also substantially enhances our understanding of the mechanisms used to privilege connected businesses, and their possible impact on undermining the growth of firms in the region. It offers a major advance on our prior knowledge of Middle Eastern political economy, and constitutes a distinct contribution to the global literature on crony capitalism and the politics of development. The book will be an essential resource for students, researchers, and policymakers alike… more