Peterson Institute publications
The Peterson Institute for International Economics is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan
research institution devoted to the study of international economic policy. More › ›
RSS News Feed Search

Working Paper 05-5

Explaining Middle Eastern Authoritarianism

by Marcus Noland, Peterson Institute for International Economics

June 2005
Revised June 2006

View full document [pdf]

Marcus NolandThe ubiquity of stable, undemocratic political regimes in the Middle East is unique. The most important determinants of democracy in the Middle East North Africa region are modernization, British colonial history, the democratic status of neighbors, the share of taxes in government revenue, and Arab ethnic population share (the last is subject to multiple interpretations). But a number of other hypotheses lack explanatory power: the presence of oil rents, the status of women, conflict with Israel or other neighbors, and Muslim population share. Across the region, the odds on liberalizing political transitions are relatively low but rising.


Peterson Perspective: Sanctions on Iran: Why They Worked and Why a 'Snapback' May Not Work July 29, 2015

Op-ed: To Save Egypt's Economy, Move Quickly June 30, 2013

Article: Economic Sanctions Against Iran: Is the Third Decade a Charm? July 2012

Book: The Arab Economies in a Changing World, Second Edition November 2011

Op-ed: Arab Spring Will Not See an Economic Boom February 21, 2011

Paper: Recommendations to Revive Regional Integration in the Maghreb May 29, 2008

Book: A US-Middle East Trade Agreement:
A Circle of Opportunity?
November 2006

Policy Brief 04-4: Islam, Globalization, and Economic Performance in the Middle East June 2004