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Economic Inclusion in the Arab Gulf

Carnegie Project Working Group 2 — Economic Inclusion in the Arab Gulf

The Economic Inclusion in the Arab Gulf working group, led by Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, Ph.D., examines how a series of cross-cutting economic reforms may impact the social contract in Arab Gulf states and Yemen, as ‘traditional’ redistributive welfare models transition into extractive political economies. Focusing on the six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as well as Yemen makes possible a rigorous comparative analysis of the challenges that face policymakers in a wide range of resource-rich and resource-poor settings with different political backgrounds and economic structures. The urgency of the interlocking political, economic and humanitarian crisis in Yemen also gives this working group an opportunity to advance practitioner options for how the countries of the Arabian Peninsula can come together in the eventual post-conflict phase of reconstruction and development.

This working group is part of a two-year project that confronts the governance crisis in the Middle East and identifies effective and lasting policy interventions to foster more inclusive and pluralistic states in the region.

Group Members


Coates Ulrichsen       

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, Ph.D., Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy

Ulrichsen is a fellow for the Middle East at the Baker Institute. His research examines the changing position of the Persian Gulf states in the global order and the emergence of non-military challenges to regional security. He is currently writing two books, "Qatar and the Arab Spring" and "The Gulf States in International Political Economy."


Alanoud al-Sharekh, Ph.D., SOAS University of London

Al-Sharekh is a research associate at the London Middle East Institute at SOAS University of London. She conducts research on sociopolitical, cultural and security issues in the Arab Gulf. She has been a consulting researcher on gender and gender politics for several academic, governmental and nongovernmental institutions. She is the author of several books and articles on gender and kinship policies in the GCC.

Al-Sharekh’s research focuses on the approach taken by Kuwait and the GCC countries to tackle popular discontent with economic stagnation and rising unemployment, mainly through reactivating the private sector’s economic role by setting up small and medium enterprise funds and incubators to create jobs and lessen dependency on government welfare.


Peter Salisbury, Chatham House

Salisbury is an associate fellow at the Chatham House MENA Program. Previously a journalist and analyst writing on political economy issues in the MENA region, Salisbury is an active contributor to prominent publications such as Foreign Policy. His work on the Yemen Forum at Chatham House culminated in the report "Yemen: Corruption, Capital Flight and Gobal Drivers of Conflict."

Salisbury’s research examines what lessons — if any — have been learned from ‘state-building’ exercises in Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, and how the Gulf states’ response to intervention in these countries helps explain their approach to domestic state-society relations.


Mohamed Evren Tok, Ph.D., Hamad Bin Khalifa University

Tok is the program coordinator of the Public Policy in Islam Program and an assistant professor for the Faculty of Islamic Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University. Tok is the co-lead investigator for a research project on the Qatari perspective on natural resource governance in Africa. His most recent publication, "Policy-making in a Transformative State," explores how public policy is made in Qatar through a series of case studies.

Tok is performing a comparative analysis of the efforts among GCC states to develop sustainable solutions to their finite hydrocarbon-based growth patterns by promoting state-led entrepreneurship ecosystems, which result in sustainable economic diversification and development.


Karen Young, Ph.D., Arab Gulf States Institute

Young is a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, D.C., and a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics Middle East Center. Her research interests include the GCC, Gulf states' foreign policy, the political economy of transition, and identity and state formation. She is the author of a book and numerous articles on the Arab Gulf states.

Young's research seeks to determine how a series of cross-cutting economic reforms may impact the social contract in the Arab Gulf states and Yemen as ‘traditional’ redistributive welfare models transition into extractive political economies, focusing on three cases: the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.



Economic Inclusion in Gulf Cooperation Council States
Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, Baker Institute for Public Policy


Check back in the coming months for additional research papers and briefs.