The end of the oil rent model of development, on which the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf exclusively rely until the nineties, induces a complete rethinking of the whole economic and social structure of these countries. Both governments of Oman and Bahrain have laid great stress on several trends in order to bring about the transition between one economic model to another.
The most important one concerns the acceleration of the diversification of the country's source of revenues and the withdrawal of th e State in favour of the private sector. This research aims to highlight the comparative role played by the bourgeoisie and the economic elites toward both the nationalization policy of employment and the economic liberalization, depending on whether this bourgeoisie is involved in the political decisional power (as is the case in Oman) or not (as is in Bahrain). The hypothesis here is that the variation of political influence of these rentier states economic elites acts in a decisive way on the State economic policies orientations, and as a result, on their level of efficiency. Through the comparative study of a country where the decisional and the economic powers are clearly distinct like Bahrain and another where the boundary is much more blurred like Oman, this research focuses first on the role played by the bourgeoisie in the success or in the slowness of the nationalization policy of employment.
The second axis deals with the economic diversification and the privatisation process. Will the economic liberalization favour the entrance of new actors in the game or to the contrary, consolidate the positions already established? Especially, this research wishes to highlight the economic elites behaviour, depending on whether they are closer (or not) to the decisional power, towards the free-trade agreements negotiated by the Gulf countries with the European Union and the United States.
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