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Georgia State University

Political Science Prof’s Book Named One of the Best of 2014

Wages of Oil Congratulations to Dr. Michael Herb. His book, The Wages of Oil: Parliaments and Economic Development in Kuwait and the UAE (Cornell University Press), was named one of the best Middle East political science books of 2014 by Marc Lynch, contributor to the Monkey Cage blog published by the Washington Post.

From Cornell University Press:

The contrast between Kuwait and the UAE today illustrates the vastly different possible futures facing the smaller states of the Gulf. Dubai’s rulers dream of creating a truly global business center, a megalopolis of many millions attracting immigrants in great waves from near and far. Kuwait, meanwhile, has the most spirited and influential parliament in any of the oil-rich Gulf monarchies.

 In The Wages of Oil, Michael Herb provides a robust framework for thinking about the future of the Gulf monarchies. The Gulf has seen enormous changes in recent years, and more are to come. Herb explains the nature of the changes we are likely to see in the future. He starts by asking why Kuwait is far ahead of all other Gulf monarchies in terms of political liberalization, but behind all of them in its efforts to diversify its economy away from oil. He compares Kuwait with the United Arab Emirates, which lacks Kuwait’s parliament but has moved ambitiously to diversify.

 This data-rich book reflects the importance of both politics and economic development issues for decision-makers in the Gulf. Herb develops a political economy of the Gulf that ties together a variety of issues usually treated separately: Kuwait’s National Assembly, Dubai’s real estate boom, the paucity of citizen labor in the private sector, class divisions among citizens, the caste divide between citizens and noncitizens, and the politics of land.

Dr. Herb is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science. His research interests focus on issues related to the Arab monarchies of the Gulf. He has written on the political consequences of oil wealth, on the relationship between taxation and democracy, and on how monarchism shapes the process of democratization.

Other publications by Dr. Herb include: