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Economic Policy and Performance in the Arab World

Paul Rivlin
ISBN: 978-1-55587-932-7
2001/237 pages/LC: 00-046001

"A detailed account of the state of economic policy-making and performance in the Arab countries (in the Middle East and North Africa) in the 1990's....Will benefit a wide range of people including researchers, academics, policy-makers and students of Middle Eastern and Arab studies."—M. Niaz Asadullah, Development and Change

"Rivlin provides ... [an] accessible introduction to recent economic developments in the Arab countries, especially Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Syria, and Tunisia."—Foreign Affairs

"An informative and useful study."—Iliya Harik, Middle East Journal


What drives economic policymaking and performance in the Arab states? Paul Rivlin finds that domestic and international pressures have combined in the past decade to simultaneously foster change and limit available policy options.

Rivlin examines the socioeconomic issues that are major concerns for policymakers, the role of rental incomes and interest groups, and the particular problems facing the industrial and agricultural sectors. Assessing data from Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, and Syria, he devotes two chapters to the results of stabilization and structural adjustment policies. His insightful analysis is situated in the context of the sharp debate about IMF- and World Bank-adjustment policies.


Paul Rivlin is senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle East and African Studies, Tel Aviv University. He is author of The Dynamics of Economic Policy Making in Egypt and The Israeli Economy.


  • Introduction.
  • Economic Policy and Development in the Arab Middle East: The Framework for Discussion.
  • Socioeconomic Conditions in the 1990s.
  • Natural Resources, the Role of Rents, and Interest Groups.
  • The Productive Sectors: Agriculture and Industry.
  • Stabilization and Structural Adjustment in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia.
  • Syria's Hesitant Road to Reform.
  • The International Environment: Economic Relations with the European Union.
  • Conclusion.