The article explains how several Gulf rentier monarchies have managed to create highly profitable and well-managed state-owned enterprises (SOEs), confounding expectations of both general SOE inefficiency and the particularly poor quality of rentier public sectors. It argues that a combination of two factors explains the outcome: the absence of a populist-mobilizational history and substantive regime autonomy in economic policy-making. The author concludes that it is necessary to rethink the commonly accepted generalizations both about rentier states and, arguably, about public sectors in the developing world.
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