Institutionalization in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states is proceeding within the financial sector in many ways as a result of economic growth, rather than as a precursor or foundation of economic growth. This paper gives an overview of the architecture of financial governance in the GCC states, situating financial governance in the context of domestic state-building, global capital flows and energy markets. The paper argues that demand for new financial services often originates in the global business and finance communities, while domestic financial institutions dominated by state and ruling family interests may prefer less diversity and range (and requisite regulation). When GCC states do regulate markets, they are able to move quickly, which often privileges state priorities over market depth and diversification. As Gulf states create new economic institutions to govern their markets, they are also creating a framework that enables broader political goals of financial and economic statecraft.
The author acknowledges financial support from the Arab University Collaboration grant from the Emirates Foundation (via LSE), as well as research assistance from Mai Mahmoud. Preliminary portions of this paper were published by the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, vol. 16.2
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