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The end of the old social contract in the Gulf - and what could replace It

Hertog, Steffen ORCID: 0000-0002-6758-9564 (2023) The end of the old social contract in the Gulf - and what could replace It. Middle East Centre Blog (06 Mar 2023). Blog Entry.

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Abstract

The old social contract in the Gulf oil monarchies is gradually coming apart: in Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia, countries with relatively lower oil income per capita, young citizens have lost access to the de facto government job guarantee that their parents enjoyed. At the same time, they are faring badly on private labour markets due to acute competition with large numbers of low-wage migrants. The other three GCC countries have relatively larger fiscal resources to maintain government employment but are likely to face similar challenges in the long run. What could replace the old contract? In this blog post, I first outline the new insider-outsider cleavages that have emerged on labour markets for GCC citizens. I then discuss how these could be overcome through new forms of wealth distribution that would help integrate young citizens into private jobs at acceptable incomes while maintaining fiscal stability. I illustrate these policies with the example of Bahrain, a case at the sharp end of the region’s fiscal challenges where labour market cleavages are further complicated through sectarian biases in the social contract. The general arguments are applicable to the whole GCC, however.

Item Type: Online resource (Blog Entry)
Official URL: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/mec/
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Government
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2023 23:21
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 10:48
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/118609

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