Reports & Papers

69 Items

One of the parabolic mirrors arrays at the Shams-1 concentrated solar power plant in the UAE, January 2015.

IRENA photo, CC by-nc-sa 2.0

Report

Green Ambitions, Brown Realities: Making Sense of Renewable Investment Strategies in the Gulf

| March 2020

Gulf countries have hailed their investments in renewable energy, but some basic questions remain about the extent to which it makes sense for GCC states to invest aggressively in renewables. The sheer magnitude of such investments will require these countries to mobilize significant public resources.  Therefore, such an assessment requires these countries to focus on national interests, not just a desire to be perceived as constructive participants in the global transition away from carbon energy. 

This report starts by identifying four common strategic justifications for investing in renewable energy in GCC countries. Each of these rationales highlights a different aspect of renewable energy investments. In addition, each rationale is based on different assumptions about the underlying drivers of such investments, and each rationale is based on different assumptions about the future of energy. 
 

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Paper - Harvard Business School

In the Shadows? Informal Enterprise in Non-Democracies

| February 2019

Why do regimes allow some low-income business owners to avoid taxes by operating informally? Electoral incentives are central to prevailing explanations of governments’ forbearance of informal enterprise. Yet many unelected regimes host large informal economies. This article examines forbearance in non-democracies. We argue that unelected regimes forbear their supporters’ informal businesses. We test this argument in Jordan. Using survey data of over 3,800 micro and small enterprises (MSEs), we find that informal businesses are more likely to operate in districts with higher rates of public sector employment, the crown jewel of the Jordanian regime’s patronage. Interviews with over sixty of the surveyed firm owners across four strategically paired districts illustrate that business owners covet forbearance, and that kinship ties to public sector employees limit forbearance to regime supporters. Communities that attract higher rates of public sector employment forfeit higher levels of fiscal revenue by permitting informality. This complementarity between public sector employment and forbearance amplifies inequalities between regime supporters and opponents in non-democracies.

(POMEPS Studies)

(POMEPS Studies)

Report Chapter - Project on Middle East Political Science

A landing strategy for Saudi Arabia

| January, 2019

With rising population and incomes, the “rentier” mode of development in Saudi Arabia has long been unsustainable. While the issue of fiscal stabilization will occupy policy-making in Saudi Arabia in the short and medium terms, the long-term challenge of finding new sources of growth to complement oil has only been made starker by the recent drop in oil prices. Analysis of the prospects for such reforms in KSA has long been divided between two opposite camps: those who believe that the inadequacies of the rentier model will necessarily usher a doomsday scenario sooner or later, regardless of economic policies; and those who believe the impending crisis can be met by moving from the current mono-sector economy to a modern and diversified knowledge based economy OECD-style.

A Tajik conscript looks out over remote stretches of northern Afghanistan from a border outpost near Khorog, Tajikistan.

Photo by David Trilling (c)

Report - Russia Matters

Jihadists from Ex-Soviet Central Asia: Where Are They? Why Did They Radicalize? What Next?

| Fall 2018

Thousands of radicals from formerly Soviet Central Asia have traveled to fight alongside IS in Syria and Iraq; hundreds more are in Afghanistan. Not counting the fighting in those three war-torn countries, nationals of Central Asia have been responsible for nearly 100 deaths in terrorist attacks outside their home region in the past five years. But many important aspects of the phenomenon need more in-depth study.

This research paper attempts to answer four basic sets of questions: (1) Is Central Asia becoming a new source of violent extremism that transcends borders, and possibly continents? (2) If so, why? What causes nationals of Central Asia to take up arms and participate in political violence? (3) As IS has been all but defeated in Iraq and Syria, what will Central Asian extremists who have thrown in their lot with the terrorist group do next? And (4) do jihadists from Central Asia aspire to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction? If so, how significant a threat do they pose and who would be its likeliest targets?

    Report - Project on Middle East Political Science

    POMEPS Studies 31: Social Policy in the Middle East and North Africa

    This spring, major protests swept through Jordan over economic grievances and subsidy reforms. In July, protestors took to the streets in the south of Iraq, demanding that the government address persistent unemployment, underdevelopment, and corruption. Meanwhile, earlier in 2018, Tunisians launched a wave of protests to oppose tax hikes on basic goods and increased cost of living. Such highly politicized responses to social policy concerns are the norm rather than the exception across the Middle East and North Africa.

    (MENARA)

    (MENARA)

    Paper

    The Implications of the Syrian War For New Regional Orders

    | Sep. 12, 2018

    This paper argues that the impact of the eight-year war in Syria will reverberate across the region for years to come, and explores, in particular, four noteworthy legacies. First, it examines the series of interventions in Syria by regional and foreign powers (including Russia, Turkey, Iran, the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) that reconfigured the role of such powers across the region. Second, it reveals the emergence of two opposing alliances in the region, each comprising Arab states, regional Arab and non-Arab powers, global powers and local nonstate actors. These or similar alliances may well reappear in other Middle Eastern conflicts. Third, it analyses the striking number and variety of foreign forces that either directly fought in Syria or indirectly supported warring factions. Since 2012, these forces have included at least twenty states and major non-state players, alongside hundreds of smaller tribal, Islamist and secular rebel and pro-Assad groups. Finally, the paper suggests that the international community’s weak response to the untold war crimes on both sides, and its apparent de facto acceptance of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s incumbency, portend continuing regional authoritarian and violent political systems for the foreseeable future.

    (ESCWA, 2018)

    (ESCWA, 2018)

    Report - United Nations

    Social Development Report 2: Inequality, Autonomy and Change in the Arab Region

    | May, 2018

    This report, the second Social Development Report from ESCWA, documents an increase in inequality of access to good quality education and to good jobs in several countries of the region, which may further entrench income inequalities. 

    A communal charity iftar organised on a street by a local mosque in Dubai, UAE, July 22, 2016.

    Kertu/Shutterstock

    Report - Middle East Initiative, Belfer Center

    Great Expectations: The Growth of Institutional Philanthropy in the United Arab Emirates

      Authors:
    • Paula D. Johnson
    • Taufiq Rahim
    | Apr. 30, 2018

    "As the philanthropic sector in the United Arab Emirates continues to emerge and evolve, there are several key characteristics and trends that are likely to shape its contours and practices, and ultimately, its impact. Some of the most salient trends include increased global collaboration and engagement; a diversification of approaches to practicing philanthropy; involvement of the next generation; participation of family businesses in social investments; and growing use of evaluation and assessment to shape programs. Overall, philanthropic leaders and experts have great expectations for the continued growth of a vibrant, engaged, and globally active philanthropic sector."

     

    The Future of Politics Report

    Credit Suisse Research Institute

    Report Chapter

    An Outlook on Global Politics 2018

    | Jan. 23, 2018

    Nicholas Burns, Professor at Harvard Kennedy School and former US Under Secretary of State, looks at what lies ahead for global politics as well as current geopolitical risks. “The world is experiencing the most profound leadership transition in a generation,” states Burns, who adds that 2018 promises to be a year of significant challenge to global stability and peace.