Tom Moerenhout

OIES-Saudi Aramco Fellow

Tom Moerenhout is a PhD Candidate at the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. His dissertation is on the political economy of resource valuation reform, with a specific focus on energy subsidy reform in MENA countries. He is also an associate at the Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). Before joining as an OIES-Saudi Aramco fellow, Tom was a visiting research fellow at Columbia University’s Political Science Department and Center for Global Energy Policy.

Tom is mainly interested in resource valuation and regulation, and the role of trade, investment and subsidy policies in sustainable development. He has a keen interest in international economic law and behavioral economics, which he both integrates in his research programs and PhD dissertation. At GSI, Tom cooperated and managed (research) projects commissioned by, among others, the World Bank, OECD, IRENA, UNEP, OPEC, ICTSD, WTI, GIZ, Nestle and Greenpeace. He has worked on institutional and policy reform related to fossil fuels, renewables and biofuels.

In his free time, Tom enjoys sports, writing, poetry and ill-fated attempts at playing music.

Research

Harnessing Social Safety in a Context of Changing Social contracts: Compensation Schemes and Subsidy Reforms in the GCC

At the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015, multiple GCC countries increased energy prices and hinted at a longer-term reform of the subsidy system. Truly reforming the subsidy system (as opposed to a one time increase due to favourable political economy conditions) would signify a remarkable shift in the implicit social contract that governed the Gulf region for decades. In that social contract, Government distributed welfare from oil revenues by offering low-cost or free-of-charge goods and services. Energy subsidies were and remain a critical corner stone in this social contract. Increasing energy prices will therefore not only inevitably affect household welfare, but might also be considered as a sign of government breaking its part of the deal.

It is therefore that reforming governments are investigating how they can develop sound and targeted social safety nets as to offer timely compensation for energy subsidy reforms. This is a daunting task, as it requires innovations in, among others, intra-governmental coordination, social data collection, social security institutions and general political culture. Many countries in the MENA region have implemented subsidy reforms earlier (and continue to do so today). They have already investigated and implemented various compensation schemes. Whereas there are notable political economy and other differences within the MENA region, it is useful to review the compensation schemes used in the MENA region and verify their potential usefulness and feasibility in a GCC context.

The proposed paper will first review compensation schemes used in the MENA region, to then identify their level of applicability in a GCC context. The paper will evaluate how the schemes operated, what their respective strengths and weaknesses are, and how governments developed the political culture and institutional capacity to deliver more targeted social assistance. I will focus on developing social data collection and registries, successfully tightening coverage and the necessary financing to implement schemes. It will particularly discuss the political economy challenges associated to setting up the institutional framework from planning over coordinating to implementing social assistance. It will evaluate these challenges in a GCC context and make specific recommendations as to what are the key next steps for GCC countries to better target social assistance.

WP_Query Object
(
    [query] => Array
        (
            [post_type] => publications
            [posts_per_page] => -1
            [meta_query] => Array
                (
                    [0] => Array
                        (
                            [key] => author
                            [value] => 29365
                            [compare] => LIKE
                        )

                )

        )

    [query_vars] => Array
        (
            [post_type] => publications
            [posts_per_page] => -1
            [meta_query] => Array
                (
                    [0] => Array
                        (
                            [key] => author
                            [value] => 29365
                            [compare] => LIKE
                        )

                )

            [error] => 
            [m] => 
            [p] => 0
            [post_parent] => 
            [subpost] => 
            [subpost_id] => 
            [attachment] => 
            [attachment_id] => 0
            [name] => 
            [static] => 
            [pagename] => 
            [page_id] => 0
            [second] => 
            [minute] => 
            [hour] => 
            [day] => 0
            [monthnum] => 0
            [year] => 0
            [w] => 0
            [category_name] => 
            [tag] => 
            [cat] => 
            [tag_id] => 
            [author] => 
            [author_name] => 
            [feed] => 
            [tb] => 
            [paged] => 0
            [meta_key] => 
            [meta_value] => 
            [preview] => 
            [s] => 
            [sentence] => 
            [title] => 
            [fields] => 
            [menu_order] => 
            [embed] => 
            [category__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_name__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [ignore_sticky_posts] => 
            [suppress_filters] => 
            [cache_results] => 1
            [update_post_term_cache] => 1
            [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1
            [update_post_meta_cache] => 1
            [nopaging] => 1
            [comments_per_page] => 50
            [no_found_rows] => 
            [order] => DESC
        )

    [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                )

            [relation] => AND
            [table_aliases:protected] => Array
                (
                )

            [queried_terms] => Array
                (
                )

            [primary_table] => wp_posts
            [primary_id_column] => ID
        )

    [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                    [0] => Array
                        (
                            [key] => author
                            [value] => 29365
                            [compare] => LIKE
                        )

                    [relation] => OR
                )

            [relation] => AND
            [meta_table] => wp_postmeta
            [meta_id_column] => post_id
            [primary_table] => wp_posts
            [primary_id_column] => ID
            [table_aliases:protected] => Array
                (
                    [0] => wp_postmeta
                )

            [clauses:protected] => Array
                (
                    [wp_postmeta] => Array
                        (
                            [key] => author
                            [value] => 29365
                            [compare] => LIKE
                            [alias] => wp_postmeta
                            [cast] => CHAR
                        )

                )

            [has_or_relation:protected] => 
        )

    [date_query] => 
    [request] => SELECT   wp_posts.* FROM wp_posts  INNER JOIN wp_postmeta ON ( wp_posts.ID = wp_postmeta.post_id ) WHERE 1=1  AND ( 
  ( wp_postmeta.meta_key = 'author' AND wp_postmeta.meta_value LIKE '%29365%' )
) AND wp_posts.post_type = 'publications' AND (wp_posts.post_status = 'publish' OR wp_posts.post_status = 'acf-disabled') GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC 
    [posts] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 30558
                    [post_author] => 111
                    [post_date] => 2017-08-11 16:10:03
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-11 15:10:03
                    [post_content] => Due to the sustained low oil price in international markets and the resulting fiscal stress, GCC countries have begun reforming their energy prices. Some of these reforms are structural, and intended to last beyond the low-oil-price period. However, so far, most GCC countries have not used compensation measures to mitigate the negative impacts on households from the reforms. While the social contract proved sufficiently resilient to allow for the initial price increases from a very low base, new pricing reforms should be accompanied by the introduction of new distributive welfare methods to compensate for the adverse impact of higher energy prices on households. In their absence, growing income inequalities and public discontent could very well lead to the reversal of reforms. This paper analyses the complex nature of the development and implementation of new social safety mechanisms. It argues that while cash transfers seem the best option to compensate for loss of household welfare as a result of energy pricing reforms in the GCC, they are not a panacea to resolve the structural deficiencies of these states. The success of cash transfers will depend on their design and implementation, as well as on the introduction of complementary short-term mitigation measures. The paper concludes with key considerations for the development of more targeted and cost-effective social safety nets in the medium term. The conclusion emphasizes that a combination of subsidy reforms and cash transfers are a good start, but are still insufficient to move rentier states to productive states. This would require policy reforms in the areas of, inter alia, labour market, migration, education, and social insurance.
                    [post_title] => Harnessing Social Safety in a Context of Changing Social Contracts: Compensation Schemes and Subsidy Reforms in the GCC
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => harnessing-social-safety-context-changing-social-contracts-compensation-schemes-subsidy-reforms-gcc
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2017-11-16 12:36:46
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-16 12:36:46
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => https://www.oxfordenergy.org/?post_type=publications&p=30558
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => publications
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

        )

    [post_count] => 1
    [current_post] => -1
    [in_the_loop] => 
    [post] => WP_Post Object
        (
            [ID] => 30558
            [post_author] => 111
            [post_date] => 2017-08-11 16:10:03
            [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-11 15:10:03
            [post_content] => Due to the sustained low oil price in international markets and the resulting fiscal stress, GCC countries have begun reforming their energy prices. Some of these reforms are structural, and intended to last beyond the low-oil-price period. However, so far, most GCC countries have not used compensation measures to mitigate the negative impacts on households from the reforms. While the social contract proved sufficiently resilient to allow for the initial price increases from a very low base, new pricing reforms should be accompanied by the introduction of new distributive welfare methods to compensate for the adverse impact of higher energy prices on households. In their absence, growing income inequalities and public discontent could very well lead to the reversal of reforms. This paper analyses the complex nature of the development and implementation of new social safety mechanisms. It argues that while cash transfers seem the best option to compensate for loss of household welfare as a result of energy pricing reforms in the GCC, they are not a panacea to resolve the structural deficiencies of these states. The success of cash transfers will depend on their design and implementation, as well as on the introduction of complementary short-term mitigation measures. The paper concludes with key considerations for the development of more targeted and cost-effective social safety nets in the medium term. The conclusion emphasizes that a combination of subsidy reforms and cash transfers are a good start, but are still insufficient to move rentier states to productive states. This would require policy reforms in the areas of, inter alia, labour market, migration, education, and social insurance.
            [post_title] => Harnessing Social Safety in a Context of Changing Social Contracts: Compensation Schemes and Subsidy Reforms in the GCC
            [post_excerpt] => 
            [post_status] => publish
            [comment_status] => closed
            [ping_status] => closed
            [post_password] => 
            [post_name] => harnessing-social-safety-context-changing-social-contracts-compensation-schemes-subsidy-reforms-gcc
            [to_ping] => 
            [pinged] => 
            [post_modified] => 2017-11-16 12:36:46
            [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-16 12:36:46
            [post_content_filtered] => 
            [post_parent] => 0
            [guid] => https://www.oxfordenergy.org/?post_type=publications&p=30558
            [menu_order] => 0
            [post_type] => publications
            [post_mime_type] => 
            [comment_count] => 0
            [filter] => raw
        )

    [comment_count] => 0
    [current_comment] => -1
    [found_posts] => 1
    [max_num_pages] => 0
    [max_num_comment_pages] => 0
    [is_single] => 
    [is_preview] => 
    [is_page] => 
    [is_archive] => 1
    [is_date] => 
    [is_year] => 
    [is_month] => 
    [is_day] => 
    [is_time] => 
    [is_author] => 
    [is_category] => 
    [is_tag] => 
    [is_tax] => 
    [is_search] => 
    [is_feed] => 
    [is_comment_feed] => 
    [is_trackback] => 
    [is_home] => 
    [is_404] => 
    [is_embed] => 
    [is_paged] => 
    [is_admin] => 
    [is_attachment] => 
    [is_singular] => 
    [is_robots] => 
    [is_posts_page] => 
    [is_post_type_archive] => 1
    [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => eb4f66d136d22726fe689b70d8d2b6d4
    [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 
    [thumbnails_cached] => 
    [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => 
    [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array
        (
            [0] => query_vars_hash
            [1] => query_vars_changed
        )

    [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array
        (
            [0] => init_query_flags
            [1] => parse_tax_query
        )

)

Latest Publications by Tom Moerenhout

Latest Tweets from @OxfordEnergy

  • A new OIES paper on outlook of Russia’s gas productive capacity: ruble depreciation in 2015-18 helped Gazprom turn… https://t.co/BFnUnoazVe

    December 18th

  • Shrinking surplus – the outlook for Russia’s spare gas productive capacity https://t.co/25GVSHw2Qo

    December 17th

  • Rogers on Pacific Coast LNG plans and Shell’s approval to construct a $30 billion export terminal in British Columb… https://t.co/koheAUcCNa

    December 17th

Sign up for our Newsletter

Register your email address here and we will send you notification of new publications, comment, articles etc. automatically.