SOAS University of London

Department of Economics

Economic development of the modern Middle East

Module Code:
Year of study:
Year 3
Taught in:
Full Year

This course is about the economic structures, institutions and policy challenges in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).  The course starts with a broad economic history of the region since the 19th Century and goes on to address selected aspects of economic policy in the contemporary period in these countries.  The contemporary nature of the problems facing the MENA countries are addressed throughout the course.  In the first term the course looks at the role of oil companies in the region, the historical experience of trade liberalisation, labour markets, demography and migration, and growth and industrialization in resource rich economies.  In the second term it looks at the effect of globalisation on the region.  The political economy of aid flows to MENA, the role of IMF and World Bank economic liberalisation in countries of the region and liberalisation in specific sectors such as privatisation of the state enterprises, financial sector liberalisation and agricultural sector reform.  Social welfare issues are examined in the form of food security and social safety net programmes and the second term concludes with case country studies of economic liberalisation.  


(153400123) Macroeconomic Analysis


(153400130) Microeconomic Analysis

(Note: For BSc Economics and BSc Development Economics students both these courses are core courses in year 2 of their degrees, but BA two-subject degree students can only take EITHER of these two courses in their year 2)

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

Objectives of the course: 

  • To familiarise students with the features and structural characteristics of the MENA economies 
  • To enhance their critical analysis of economic problems and policies in the region 
  • To explore and discuss critically specific policy approaches to identified economic problems of the region 
  • To explore key policy options in regional and international contexts.


On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the socio-economic features and structural characteristics of the MENA economies
  • Develop a broad understanding of the economic history of the region in the 19th Century in general, and be able to assess the impact of integration into the international economy, in particular
  • Understand and differentiate between different types of economies within the MENA region (oil and non-oil economies, labour surplus and labour deficit economies, small and large, agrarian and non-agrarian economies
  • Discuss and apply key concepts of economic policy analysis to contemporary problems and opportunities facing MENA countries
  • Focus on thematic policy issues relating to a wide range of topics within the MENA countries
  • Appreciate the position of these countries in the wider context of the international economy

Method of assessment

Assessment weighting: Exam 80% / Coursework 20% (2 essays each of 10%). Resubmission of coursework regulations do not apply to this course.

Suggested reading


There is no textbook which covers the taught lectures, but the following is a useful reference:

  • Cammett, M., Diwan, I., Richards, A. and Waterbury J. (2015), A Political Economy of the Middle East, fourth edition, Westview Press.


Other Useful Texts:
  • Karshenas, M. and V.M Moghadam (2006), Social Policy in the Middle East:  Economic, Political and Gender Dynamics.  Basingstoke:  Palgrave Macmillan publishers, 2006.
  • Harrigan, J. and El-Said, H. (2009), Aid and Power in the Arab World:  The IMF and World Bank Policy-Based Lending in the Middle East and North Africa, Palgrave Macmillan.  
  • Hakiman, H and Z. Moshaver (eds, 2000), The State and Global Change:  The Political Economy of Transition in the Middle East and North Africa, London:  Curzon Press.
  • Harrigan, J. (2014) The Political Economy of Arab Food Sovereignty, Palgrave Macmillan


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules