Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: June 2012

2 - Demography and Economics


During the last twenty-five years, all of the countries examined in this book have experienced significant declines in their demographic growth rates. This is mainly the result of a fall in fertility rates that started in North Africa and later spread to the rest of the Middle East. Despite the demographic slowdown, the rates of growth in most of the countries remain high by international standards and the absolute increases of the population in all of them are large. In 2000–05, the population of eighteen Arab states rose by more than six million a year or about 2.2 percent annually (see Table 2.1). One of the consequences of demographic change has been the creation of a large young population of reproductive age. Another is a rapidly growing labor force. None of this is expected to change in the next twenty years. Although the population of working age has grown, so has the size of the dependent population and as a result the pressure for public sector spending on social services such as education, health, and welfare has increased, often beyond the financial abilities of governments. In the non-oil states and those with small oil incomes, taxation was the main source of funding for government spending and was usually under pressure. This was particularly true during periods of recession and when stabilization programs were being introduced. In the oil-rich states, the problems were much less acute, but they have occurred during periods of low oil revenues.

Williamson, Jeffrey G. and Youssef, Tarik M.. “Demographic Transitions and Economic Performance in the Middle East and North Africa,” in Sirageldin, Ismail (ed.), Human Capital: Population Economic in the Middle East. London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2002. 22
Elbadawi, Ibrahim A.Reviving Growth in the Arab World.” Economic Development and Cultural Change 54 (2006). 293–326
Courbage, Youssef. “Economic and Political Issues in the Fertility Transition in the Arab World – Answers and Open Questions,” Population and Environment: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies. 20, no. 4, 1999. 352–80
Richards, Alan. “Economic Reform in the Middle East: The Challenge to Governance,” in Bensahel, Nora and Byman, Daniel L (eds.), The Future Security Environment in the Middle East. Santa Monica, Calif.: Rand, 2004. 65
Bloom, David E. and Williamson, Jeffrey G.. “Demographic Transitions and Economic Miracles in Emerging Asia,” World Bank Economic Review. 12, no. 3, 1998. 419–55
Bloom, David E. and Williamson, Jeffrey G.. “Demographic Transitions and Economic Miracles in Emerging Asia,” World Bank Economic Review Vol. 12, no. 3, 1998, pp. 419–55, 453
Richards, Alan. “Economic Pressures for Accountable Governance in the Middle East and North Africa” in Norton, Augustus Richard (ed.), Civil Society in the Middle East, Leiden, New York, Koln: E.J. Brill, 1995. 59
,World Bank. Unlocking the Employment Potential in the Middle East and North Africa, Washington, D.C.: World Bank. 2004. 225
Rivlin, Paul. The Dynamics of Economic Policy Making in Egypt. New York: Praeger, 1985. 21
Ayubi, Nazih N.Overstating the Arab State. London: I.B. Tauris, 1995. 305
Ruppert, Elizabeth. “The Algerian Retrenchment: A Financial and Economic Evaluation.” World Bank Review, 13, no. 1999
Richards, Alan and Waterbury, John. A Political Economy of the Middle East. Boulder: Westview, 1990. 211
Weiss, Dieter and Wurzel, Ulrich. The Economics and Politics of Transition to an Open Market Economy in Egypt. Paris: OECD, 1998
Stauber, Zvi and Shapir, Yiftah (eds.). Middle East Military Balance 2004–2005. Brighton, Portland: Sussex Academic Press for The Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, 2005
,The Economic Research Forum for the Arab Countries, Iran and Turkey. Economic Trends in the MENA Region, 2002. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2002, 1
,World Bank. World Development Indicators 2005, World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2005. 214–16
,Calculated from World Trade Organization. International Trade Statistics 2006, Geneva: WTO, 2006. 123, 128
Rivlin, Paul. Economic Policy and Performance in the Arab World. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2001. 13–28
Noland, Marcus and Pack, Howard. The Arab Economies in a Changing World. Washington, D.C.: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2007. 179–81
Abed, George T. and Davoodi, Hamid R.. Challenges of Growth and Globalization in the Middle East and North Africa. Washington, D.C.: IMF, 2003.
Cassing, James H., Fawzy, Samih, Gallagher, Denis, and Kheir-El-Din, Hanaa. “Enhancing Egypt's Exports” in Hoekman, Bernard M. and Zarrouk, Jamal (eds.), Catching up with the Competition: Trade Policy Challenges and Options for the Middle East and North Africa. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000. 208–9
,Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. SIPRI Yearbook 2006. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. 336, 342
Ikram, Khalid. The Egyptian Economy 1952–2000. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2006. 82
Rivlin, Paul. Economic Policy and Performance in the Arab World. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner, 2001.119–20, 128–9
Rivlin, Paul. “Arab Economies and Political Stability” in Rivlin, Paul and Even, Shmuel, Political Stability in Arab States: Economic Causes and Consequences. Tel Aviv: The Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, 2004
Boogaerde, Pierre. Financial Assistance from Arab Countries and Arab Regional Institutions, Occasional Paper no. 87, 1991. Washington, D.C.: International Monetary Fund, 1991
,World Bank. Global Development Finance 2001. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2001
Easterly, William. The Elusive Quest for Growth. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2001. 123–37
Rivlin, Paul and Even, Shmuel. Political Stability in Arab States: Economic Causes and Consequences. Tel Aviv: Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, 2004. 14.
Mattione, Richard. OPEC's Investments and the International Financial System. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institute, 1985. 12
,IMF. Balance of Payments Yearbook 2004. Washington, D.C.: IMF, 2004