Karen E. Young

Former Senior Resident Scholar

Karen E. Young is a former senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. She is an adjunct faculty member in political science at the George Washington University and Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She served as a research fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Middle East Centre, from 2014-15 and was affiliated as a visiting fellow in 2013, and again from 2015-17. She served on the faculty of the American University of Sharjah as an assistant professor of political science from 2009-14. Prior to joining AUS, Young worked at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the College of Arts and Science. Her current research focuses on the political economy of the Gulf.

Her first book, The Political Economy of Energy, Finance and Security in the United Arab Emirates: Between the Majilis and the Market, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014. She writes a column, Market Watch, for AGSIW. Her work has been published by Oxford Analytica, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Conservative Middle East Council, The National, Gulf News, Journal of Arabian Studies, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Current History, Gulf Affairs, Security Dialogue, World Politics Review, and Middle East Policy, among other outlets. She has appeared frequently as a commentator/analyst on Al Jazeera and CNBC Arabia, and her comments have appeared on NPR and CBC, as well as in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Al Arabiya, and regional financial media outlets.

Young holds a PhD in political science from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, an MA from Columbia University, an MA in international economic relations from the Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar, and a BA from Wellesley College. Her scholarship has been supported by the Fulbright Program, International Research and Exchange Board, American Council of Learned Societies, Woodrow Wilson Center, U.S. State Department Middle East Partnership Initiative, APSA MENA Fellows Program, Carnegie Corporation, and Emirates Foundation (via LSE).

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Spending to Grow in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is seeing some positive news in the return on investment in its outwardly placed capital in new technology.

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Privatization in Saudi Arabia: Vision 2030 Ready to Sell

There have been four important changes to the kingdom's economic policies that may pave the way for increased foreign investment, though not likely immediate job growth.

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A Home of One’s Own: Subsidized Housing as a Key Lever of Gulf Domestic Policy

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed announced a new social support program for citizens in the emirate to double the number of the government's annual subsidized housing loans.

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Unwinding the JCPOA Opens Doors for China and Amplifies Risk in the Gulf

For traditional U.S. partners and allies in the Gulf and beyond, the unwinding of U.S. participation in the JCPOA will create some multidimensional consequences.

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Tying the Region in Knots: How the JCPOA is Tethered to Gulf Economic and Security Challenges

U.S. President Donald J. Trump faces a deadline for the recertification of sanctions relief on May 12, when a waiver of a key sanctions law expires, and would need to be renewed lest the sanctions provided for in that law snap back into force.

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Trade Wars and Bond-Offs: Side Effects of Tariffs and Tactical Borrowing Hit the Gulf

There are simultaneous efforts by Qatar and Saudi Arabia to attract investors for new bond issues this week. The “bond-off,” or race to sale, is yet a new example of the use of economic means to achieve political ends.

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U.S.-Saudi Economic Ties: Why Saudi Arabia Matters

Though the Oil Link may be broken, the United States and Saudi Arabia remain linked by economic and investment ties, energy markets and a shared interest in global economic stability.

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Saudi Economic Reform Update: Saudization and Expat Exodus

Saudization, or the reservation of certain jobs and sectors for Saudi nationals, is part of the government’s effort to transform its private sector.

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Payment Delayed: The Economic Risk of Gulf Contracting Practices

If you are in the construction business and a Gulf government is your client, be sure to be paid in advance.

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Oman’s Investment and Reform Strategy: “Slow and Go”

It is a difficult time in the Gulf to leverage public resources to meet growing demand for jobs, for infrastructure development, and for efforts to build economies less reliant on oil revenue.