Paper - Middle East Initiative, Belfer Center

From #Hashtags to Legislation

  • Oussama Belmejdoub
  • Bilal Diab
  • Samira Kalla
  • Ha Nguyen
  • Abdulla Saif
  • Ivan Yotzov
| February 2023

Engagement and Support for Economic Reforms in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries

Ownership of reforms by citizens is often presented as important for success. This paper explores media engagement and support for economic reforms in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries using text analysis techniques on publicly available sources. Results show that while reform efforts have intensified in recent years in the GCC, these efforts tend to focus on stronger rather than weaker policy areas, potentially limiting the growth-enhancing effect of reforms. Social media analysis using Twitter shows that the population’s support for reforms has been declining. The analysis of traditional news media points to more engagement by international than by local media. However, sentiment from international media is less positive about economic reforms in the GCC. Sentiment in international media and social media matters, as evidenced by its positive and strong correlation with FDI inflows into the GCC.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Arezki, Rabah, Oussama Belmejdoub, Bilal Diab, Samira Kalla, Ha Nguyen, Abdulla Saif and Ivan Yotzov. “From #Hashtags to Legislation.” Paper, Middle East Initiative, Belfer Center, February 2023.

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