Date of Award

6-2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Public Affairs and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Udaya R. Wagle

Second Advisor

Dr. Matthew S. Mingus

Third Advisor

Dr. Christine M. Moser

Abstract

Economic growth has been volatile and slow in the Arab World during the last two decades. Arguing that good governance is a precondition to vibrant economic systems and growth, comparative researchers and development policy practitioners view such a slowdown in growth in the Arab World to be triggered by weak governance performance. This cross-national study examines the relationship between governance and economic growth in the Arab World, which includes 22 member-states of the League of Arab States, over the period 1996-2017. By using World Bank data, governance is operationalized through voice and accountability (VA), political stability and absence of violence (PS), government effectiveness (GE), regulatory quality (RQ), rule of law (RL), and control of corruption (CC). A set of appropriate control variables is also used to test the hypotheses revolving around the roles of governance in aggregate as well as its different components in determining economic growth.

A series of analytical techniques including descriptive analysis and panel data regressions suggests that there is no significant relationship between governance and economic growth in the Arab World. However, an in-depth decomposition analysis by the various economic, regional, and political classifications suggests that governance may be somewhat correlated with economic growth when it comes to certain groups of countries. While the direction of relationship varies and is difficult to explain in certain cases, some indicators of governance may be more important than others. For example, the roles of VA, PS, and GE are significant in low- income economies whereas those of VA and CC are significant in the Greater Maghreb region, those of VA are significant in republics, and those of GE are significant in monarchies.

This study’s findings are more nuanced than sweeping. While governance in and of itself does not predict the level of economic growth in a significant way, the contribution that good governance makes to boosting economic growth stands out at some sub-group levels. Specifically, the role of governance differs by the distribution of income, region, and regime type. Governments and policymakers in the Arab World have to strengthen the various dimensions of governance in order to restore and sustain economic growth.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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