Ferdinand Eibl

OIES-Saudi Aramco Fellow

‘Ferdinand’s research lies at the intersection of politics and economics, in particular in the areas of distributive politics, social policies, cronyism, and trade in the Middle East and North Africa.  More recently, he has started to work on civil-military relations and coups, and the electoral sociology of Islamism. His work has been published, amongst others, in Studies of Comparative International Development and the European Political Science Review. He holds an MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies and a PhD in Politics from the University of Oxford.’

Research

Subsidy Reform in the Middle East: The Untold Story

The standard political economy explanation for the persistence of energy subsidies in the Middle East has emphasised governments’ fear of political unrest as the main obstacle to reform. This paper sheds a new light on the issue by analysing how unintended beneficiaries, such as the military, traders, and crony businessmen have reaped major benefits from the subsidy system and, in turn, vested their interests in the continuation of the status quo. Using a novel dataset on crony entrepreneurs and military enterprises in Egypt and Tunisia, the paper employs a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods to show how regime insiders have captured a major social safety mechanism in the Middle East and undermined the establishment of a fairer and more efficient system of social protection.

Contact

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