Abstract and Keywords
Following years of research on whether a wealth of natural resources counts as a “curse” or “blessing” for development, it remains unclear what mechanisms push in one direction or the other. In some regions, including the Middle East, it appears both aspects are strongly present. In this case, the undecided influence of natural resource richness on economic performance is currently paralleled by the yet unsettled outcome of the so-called Arab Spring. Taking note of linkages between the two, this chapter examines developments across the Gulf Cooperation Council countries with particular attention paid to the Sultanate of Oman. Highlighting the impetus brought by technology, demography, and education under the influence of institutions and culture at the local level, it concludes on the importance of countering policy fragmentation and the costly contradictions of the rentier economy that stifle innovation, entrepreneurship, and long-term growth prospects.