1283 Items

Workers stand on a platform at a Saudi Aramco oil separator processing facility in Abqaiq, near Dammam, Sept. 20, 2019.

AP Photo/Amr Nabil

Paper

Reversal of Fortune for Political Incumbents after Oil Shocks

    Authors:
  • Simeon Djankov
  • Ha Nguyen
  • Ivan Yotzov
| March 2021

This paper explores the effect of oil shocks on electoral outcomes. Using a new polling and election data set for 207 elections across 50 democracies, the paper shows that oil price increases systematically lower the odds of reelection for incumbents. The analysis verifies that these shocks—which reduce consumption growth—are associated with worsening performance for incumbents in the runup to reelection and a reversal in the leaning of the political party in power post-election.  

People stand in a line outside a bank in Beirut, Lebanon, amid a financial crisis and a lockdown imposed by the government to help stem the spread of the coronavirus in Lebanon, March 28, 2020.

AP Photo/Zeina Karam

Paper

Reform Chatter and Democracy

    Authors:
  • Simeon Djankov
  • Ha Nguyen
  • Ivan Yotzov
| March 2021

This paper explores the dynamics of media chatter about economic reforms using text analysis from about a billion newspaper articles in 28 languages. The paper shows that the intensity of reform chatter increases during economic downturns. This increase is more significant in democracies. Using instrumental variable techniques, the analysis finds the relationship to be causal. The paper also documents that reform chatter is followed by actual reforms, suggesting that democracies benefit from a “self-correcting” mechanism stemming from changing popular attitudes toward reform. 

View from the Arab World

Fall 2020

In the fall, the Middle East Initiative (MEI) launched a new event series titled USA 2020: The View from the Arab World. Co-hosted by MEI Faculty Director Tarek Masoud, Sultan Qaboos Bin Said of Oman Professor of International Relations, and MEI Visiting Fellow Karim Haggag, Professor of Practice at The American University in Cairo, the series features dialogues with Arab thought leaders on the 2020 US elections and America’s changing role in the Middle East. Here we focus on Mina Al-Oraibi, Editor-in-Chief of The National, an English language newspaper based in Abu Dhabi. 

President-elect Joe Biden and his climate envoy, John Kerry, at The Queen theater.

Carolyn Kaster/AP

Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

What Does Success Look Like for a Climate Czar?

| Dec. 02, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden’s decision to create a new cabinet-level position for climate-related issues — and to choose so prominent a figure as former Secretary of State John Kerry to fill it — demonstrates Biden’s sincerity over putting climate at the very center of U.S. foreign policy. It is easy to understate the importance of this appointment, given the flurry of czars created by most new administrations.

Then-Defense Secretary James N. Mattis meets with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Pentagon on March 22, 2018.

Department of Defense/Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kathryn E. Holm

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Program: Separating Real Concerns from Threat Inflation

| Oct. 08, 2020

In the highly charged political atmosphere surrounding nuclear initiatives in the Middle East, legitimate concerns are sometimes blown out of proportion, with potentially problematic results. This has been the case with recent coverage and commentary on Saudi Arabia’s nuclear activities, which have been characterized by a degree of what can be described as “threat inflation.”

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Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

After Oil: Throwing Money at Green Energy Isn’t Enough

| Sep. 17, 2020

The geopolitical and geo-economic forces wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, as examined previously in this series, are likely to slow the transition to a more sustainable global energy mix. Fortunately, the pandemic has also resulted in governments gaining vastly greater influence over whether this shift stalls or accelerates.

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Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

Pandemic Is Hurting, Not Helping, Green Energy

| Sep. 16, 2020

For most people, there was nothing to celebrate when the International Monetary Fund downgraded its outlook for global economic growth in June, anticipating a contraction of 4.9% for 2020. Yet for others, such as the small but persistent group of economists and others known as the degrowth movement,” the Covid-induced economic slowdown has a silver lining.