Research Initiative for Arab Development (RIAD) Archives - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Research Initiative for Arab Development (RIAD)


The Arab World faces complex challenges. It needs to address problems such as a burgeoning labor force, severe environmental issues and difficulties in ensuring that women are allowed to reap the benefits of substantial investments made in education and health over the past few decades.

However, the region suffers from a severe knowledge gap, drastically damaging its ability to address challenges like these. Research capacity in the areas of economic and social development is weak or non-existent and has had a very limited contribution to policy-making.

Accordingly, ERF has chosen to address the above issues. In 2008, ERF launched the Research Initiative for Arab Development (RIAD), a multi-year, multi-topic research agenda designed to enhance the quality of economic research in the Arab World and to bridge the glaring knowledge gaps in the economic sciences. Funded predominantly by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) and the World Bank Global Development Facility (WB GDF), this initiative aims to help achieve the economic, social and institutional reforms needed for sustainable development in the region. In light of the recent regional political changes, the initiative has become doubly relevant, since the probability of greater government accountability enhances governments’ need for solid research to better inform policy. In addition to the research, RIAD also tackles the above issues through seminars, conferences and capacity-building sessions and produces a series of publications to disseminate research findings.

The RIAD initiative covers six priority themes: equity and inequality, regional integration, natural resources and economic diversification, environmental economics, institutional dynamics and political and economic transformation. The last theme is part of ERF’s contribution to addressing the regional developments brought about by the Arab Spring. Each of the themes has a designated Thematic Leader who works with ERF management to guide research.

Completed Projects

Research Initiative for Arab Development (RIAD)
The Human Opportunity Index in the Middle East

Using the household income and expenditure Surveys gathered by ERF from the different national statistical ... read more

Research Initiative for Arab Development (RIAD)
Political Economy of Macroeconomic Policy in Resource-Rich Arab Economies

This paper aims at understanding how the nature and evolution of political institutions have shaped ... read more

Research Initiative for Arab Development (RIAD)
Do Natural Resources Inhibit Transparency?

This study tries to understand the relationship between natural resources and transparency, with a focus ... read more

Research Initiative for Arab Development (RIAD)
Private Sector Development and Economic Diversification in the GCC Countries

This project examines why GCC economies did not succeed in diversifying their economies and reducing ... read more

Research Initiative for Arab Development (RIAD)
Exports Diversification: New Evidence Using Customs Data

In collaboration with the World Bank, this research project aims at providing a micro-perspective on ... read more

Research Initiative for Arab Development (RIAD)
Democracy, Democratic Consolidation and Military Spending

This paper develops an analytical framework that predicts military spending to be associated with national ... read more

Research Initiative for Arab Development (RIAD)
The Political Economy of Fiscal Policy (in non-GCC) MENA Countries

This project examines the composition and evolution of fiscal policy in MENA countries since the ... read more

Research Initiative for Arab Development (RIAD)
The Egyptian Labor Market in a Revolutionary Era

Following the data collection phase of the new labor market survey, which was carried out ... read more

Research Initiative for Arab Development (RIAD)
The Elusive Quest for Arab Economic Development

This paper reviews the development experience of the Arab countries since World War II, arguing ... read more