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Economies of the Middle East


Admission requirements



This course examines the economy/ies of the contemporary Middle East. It seeks to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the political economy of the region and its economic conditions, and equip them to analyse these in a sound and critical manner. The course begins with a broad overview of the ways scholars have conceptualized Middle East economy and an exploration of the economic history of the region. It then tackles particular economic concerns in a thematic way, connecting these with the pertinent historical framework while rooting the discussion in relevant theoretical debates.

1. Introduction: Conceptualising the Middle East Economy
2. Economic History and Development I
3. Economic History and Development II
4. The Role of the State in the Economy
5. Regime Types and Patterns of Economic Growth
6. Charting Neoliberalism
7. Demographic Change and Urban Political Economy
8. Labour Markets and the Environment
9. Oil and Rentierism
10. Gulf Wealth, Foreign Direct Investment, and Aid
11. Gender and the Economy
12: Islamic finance
13: Economic Crises and Uprisings

Course objectives

  • Evaluate the path of capitalism throughout the region

  • Examine legacies of imperialism and their impact on current economic and political conditions

  • Deepen understanding of demographic challenges and opportunities

  • Articulate the costs and benefits of import-substitution industrialisation, neoliberalism, state-led capitalism

  • Discuss the impact of oil on the region and understand the resource curse debate

  • Examine income stagnation, poverty, and rising unemployment

  • Explore gender inequities in the region and the potential development benefits of closing the gender gap

  • Interpret the region’s economy in both state/civil society and state/class paradigms



Method of instruction

Attendance is not obligatory for lectures. The conveners do not need to be informed in case of missed classes. Information and knowledge provided in the lectures greatly contribute to the subsequent courses of the programme. In order to pass the course, students are strongly advised to attend all sessions.

Course Load

Total EC: 140
Attending Lectures: 26 hours
Reading, studying, writing: 114

Assessment method


  • Mid-term examination (with closed questions and short questions)

  • Final Examination (take home)


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average: Midterm (40%), final examination (60%)


There is only a resit for the final examination, which will count for 60% as well.

Exam review

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

1. Melani Cammett, Ishac Diwan, Alan Richards, and John Waterbury. A Political Economy of the Middle East, 4th Edition. Boulder: Westview Press, 2015
2. Adam Hanieh. Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2013.
3. Other course readings are available in electronic format through the library website or from other online sources. Other materials will be available through the course Blackboard page.

Students should come to class having read the material, and prepared to participate in classroom discussions and activities.




C. Henderson





Students are advised to familiarize themselves with Leiden University’s policies on plagiarism

Violations of academic integrity will be met with severe penalties.



Students should arrive to class early. If late, they should not enter the class until the break.


  • All written assignments should be 1.5 spaced, with a standard font size (e.g. 12 pt Times New Roman or 10 pt Arial). Students should not go over the maximum page limit and should not adjust page margins.

  • Students must use one reference style accurately and consistently throughout their assignments. Chicago Manual of Style with footnotes is strongly recommended.

  • Late assignments will be penalized 5% per day, including weekends.

  • No assignment will be accepted more than seven days after the due date unless prior arrangements have been made with the instructor. Extensions are granted at the sole discretion of the instructor. Students are advised to back up their work and complete their assignments in advance. Technical difficulties and random last minute mayhem will not be accepted as valid excuses for extension.

  • Plagiarism is a serious offense and could result in a failing grade for the assignment and/or the course as well as disciplinary action by the department or the University. At this stage, students are expected to know how to source appropriately. As well, they should neither present someone else’s work as their own nor submit papers that are significantly similar in more than one course. Students should familiarize themselves with the University’s policies on plagiarism. Should they have questions or concerns about what may constitute a violation of academic integrity, they should speak with the instructor.


  • Cell phones and other mobile devices must be turned off and stored away throughout the entire class period.

  • Laptops and tablets will be permitted in the class during lectures only for the purpose of taking notes.


  • The best way to communicate with me is during office hours or via email. I will respond to emails within 2 business days. Please note that this means inquiries about an assignment the day before the due date will not guarantee a response before the due date.

  • Any matters beyond short questions should be addressed during my office hours or by appointment.