While the MENA region is impacted by large oil rents in that the state has monopolized its dependence on this industry this is not the only explanation nor the most important of studying the political and social outcomes in the region.

One factor of importance is the relationship between large oil rents in the region in relation to the different population sizes of countries. Rulers in countries with smaller populations find it easier to maintain their rule because their labor comes largely from outside of the country which means that income generated from the industry by laborers goes outside and therefor means revenue generated by the state does not need to come in the form of taxation. Because citizens don’t pay taxes there is little incentive for the people to pay attention to the government and little incentive for government to listen to the opinions of its people. Revenues will go to investing in a welfare state and there is a weakened middle class and private sector present and therefore the state can control without a reliance on the use of repressive tactics. RRLP countries find a greater amount of state capacity as a result of having proportionately more wealth than their number of citizens.

Countries with larger populations still benefit from having large oil rents, but they must also manage controlling more people. Therefore, the employment of individuals is much more of an issue in RRLA countries. The governments in these countries don’t have proportionally the same amount of wealth to spend on placating their citizens so they need to tax. Revenue is also invested much more in the repressive apparatus and patron-client relationships of the state. There is a decreased state capacity in RRLA countries. This meant that these countries despite seeing economic growth were more likely to see uprisings during the Arab Spring. If anything, the actions and problems occurring in the RRLA countries, as the book alludes to, are acting as a warning to RRLP countries who are seeing an increase in their population size and with it heightened educated-youth unemployment.

Another factor worth considering is the history of colonialism and foreign intervention in this region. GCC countries had less interaction with colonialism and foreign intervention and therefore were able to develop more naturally on their own which gave them more of the tools to advance their state capacity. Other countries that did see much more foreign intervention tried to develop a system of government on their own after colonial rule which meant there was more of a trying to take control of the state and use more repressive tactics to assert their rule. This meant that in addition to having a weaker state capacity in states that saw lots of foreign intervention there was also more of a need to invest in repressive tactics.

It is important to look at all factors involved in the political and social outcomes of the MENA region.







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