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The Sociology of the Gulf Rentier Systems: Societies of Intermediaries

  • Steffen Hertog (a1)

Theories about the politics and economics of resource-rich or “rentier” states have been around for almost four decades now (Mahdavy 1970; Beblawi 1987; Chaudhry 1997; Humphreys et al. 2007). Political scientists and economists have argued that rents have a negative impact on levels of democracy (Luciani 1987; Ross 2001), on the quality of institutions (Chaudhry 1997; Isham et al. 2005), and on economic growth (Sachs and Warner 2001). Although much debate has been conducted over these macro-correlations, far less attention has been devoted to the causal mechanisms behind them. There is still no unified theory of rentier states, and the micro-foundations of rentier systems in particular have gone largely unexplored.

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