SOAS University of London

London Middle East Institute

Critical Reflections on Middle East Economics

IMG - Hassan Hakimian 2021
Hassan Hakimian (HBKU and SOAS)

Date: 12 October 2021Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 12 October 2021Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Webinar



The knowledge of Middle Eastern economies as an autonomous field is of relatively recent origins and has evolved in uneven ways. Unlike some other regions, which have played a more active role in the genesis or evolution of development theory and practice (notably Latin America), the contri­bution of Middle Eastern economies has been more limited and to a large extent confined to recent decades. Despite this, Middle East economics has come a long way over the last fifty years to evolve into a specialist field within applied development economics, area studies and development studies.

In this retrospective examination of the genesis and formation of Middle East economics, I sketch out the bumpy road along which it has evolved over three distinct periods: (a) the 1970s’ oil boom, (b) the growth crisis of the 1980s and 1990s and more recently, (c) the tumultuous period after 2010 which saw unprecedented social and political upheavals during the Arab uprisings. 

There are two motivations for my talk:  First, to show how socio-economic and political contexts taint and influence knowledge construction in economics both in its theoretical and applied dimensions. Second, to ascertain whether the region has been merely a playground to external ideas by importing them or it has also contributed to the growth and maturity of economic development theories and policies in this period.

Through critical reflections on this field, I hope to demonstrate that a study of the genesis and development of Middle East Economics offers insights into the evolution of knowledge for area studies in general and the MENA region, in particular.  This is important for understanding and addressing the challenges it currently faces.

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Critical Reflections on Middle East Economics

About the speaker

Hassan Hakimian is Professor of Economics and Director of the Middle Eastern Studies Department (MESD) at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences in HBKU (Qatar). He is also an Emeritus Professor at SOAS where he directed the London Middle East Institute (LMEI) during 2010-2019 and was a Reader in the Economics Department. Prior to that he was Associate Dean at Cass Business School (2003-07), and Director of The Centre for International Education in Economics at SOAS, which was awarded the Queen’s Prize for Higher and Further Education in 1996.

His research focuses on MENA economies, specifically labour markets, economic sanctions, inclusive growth and the economics of Arab uprisings. His most recent publication is an edited volume, The Routledge Handbook on the Middle East Economy, which was published this summer.

He is a Founding Member and past President of the International Iranian Economic Association (IIEA), a Research Fellow and Chair of the Advisory Committee (2016-21) and is elected to serve on the Board of Trustees of Economic Research Forum (ERF), the largest network of Middle Eastern economists based in Cairo. He is the Founder and Series Editor for the “Routledge Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa,” which he launched in 2003.


This webinar will take place online via Zoom. Click here to register

* The webinar will also be live-streamed on our Facebook page for those that are unable to participate via Zoom.

Chair: Narguess Farzad (SOAS) and Dina Matar (SOAS)

Organiser: SOAS Middle East Institute and the Department of Economics, SOAS

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