New book co-edited by Adeel Malik offers detailed picture of ‘crony capitalism’ in Middle East

A new book co-edited by Adeel Malik uses newly available data to create a detailed picture of the nature, extent and implications of 'crony capitalism' in the Middle East.

The popular uprisings in 2011 that overthrew Arab dictators were also a rebuke to crony capitalism – the rulers and their allied businessmen who monopolise economic opportunities.

While the Middle East witnessed a growing nexus between business and politics in the wake of economic liberalisation, little has been discussed about the nature of business cronies, the sectors in which they operate, the mechanisms used to favour them, and the possible impact of such crony relations on the region's development.

Combining inputs from leading scholars in the field, Crony Capitalism in the Middle East: Business and Politics from Liberalization to the Arab Spring presents a wealth of empirical evidence on the specifics of this aspect of the region.

The book is unique in both its empirical focus and comparative scale. Analysis in individual chapters is empirically grounded and based on fine-grained data on the business activities of politically connected actors furnishing, for the first time, information on the presence, numerical strength, and activities of politically connected entrepreneurs.

It also substantially enhances understanding of the mechanisms used to privilege connected businesses, and their possible impact on undermining the growth of firms in the region.

Adeel Malik is Islamic Centre Lecturer in the Economies of Muslim Societies at ODID.

Ishac Diwan, Adeel Malik, and Izak Atiyas (2019) Crony Capitalism in the Middle East: Business and Politics from Liberalization to the Arab Spring, Oxford University Press.

Watch a video and read a write-up of the pre-launch event, hosted by the Alternative Policy Solutions research project at The American University in Cairo.