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Economics: Middle East


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.

Limited places are also open for exchange students. Please note: this course takes place in The Hague.


This course examines the economy/ies of the contemporary Middle East. It seeks to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the political economy of the region and its economic conditions and equip them to analyse these in a sound and critical manner. The course begins with a broad overview of the ways scholars have conceptualized Middle East economy and an exploration of the economic history of the region. It then tackles particular economic concerns in a thematic way, connecting these with the pertinent historical framework while rooting the discussion in relevant theoretical debates.

1. Introduction: Conceptualising the Middle East Economy
2. Framing the Middle East Economy: Economic History and Development
3. Patterns of Economic Growth
4. The State and the Economy
5. Charting Neoliberalism
6. Economic Nationalism and Political Regimes
7. Demographic Change and Urban Political Economy
8. Labour Markets and the Environment
9. Oil and Rentierism
10. Gulf Hydrocarbon Wealth, FDI, and Aid
11. (A) Islam and the Economy (B) Gender and the Economy
12. The Financial Crisis and the Uprisings

Course objectives

  • Evaluate the course of capitalism throughout the region

  • Examine legacies of imperialism and their impact on current economic and political conditions

  • Deepen understanding of demographic challenges and opportunities

  • Articulate the costs and benefits of import-substitution industrialisation, neoliberalism, state-led capitalism

  • Discuss the impact of oil on the region and understand the resource curse debate

  • Examine income stagnation, poverty, and rising unemployment

  • Explore gender inequities in the region and the potential development benefits of closing the gender gap

  • Interpret the region’s economy in both state/civil society and state/class paradigms


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction (in principe staat dit gewoon vast, tenzij anders aangegeven)

Lecture and tutorials

Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC x 28 hours is 140 hours, broken down by:

  • 12 lectures: 24 hours

  • 4 tutorials: 8 hours

  • Preparation lectures and tutorials: 44 hours

  • Prrepation exams: 64 hours

Assessment method

Tutorials 30%;
Midterm exam 30%;
Final exam 40%

If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier mid- and endterm grades. No resit for the tutorials is possible.

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:
the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

1. Alan Richards and John Waterbury. A Political Economy of the Middle East, 3rd Edition. Boulder: Westview Press, 2008
2. Adam Hanieh. Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2013.
3. Other course readings are available in electronic format through the library website or from other online sources.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. C.A. Ennis, email

For tutorials Middle East:
Economics Middle East


Students are advised to familiarize themselves with Leiden University’s policies on plagiarism:
Violations of academic integrity will be met with severe penalties.