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Al-Thani, Noor Ghanim Ali (2023) Challenging the Resource Curse Narrative: The Case of Qatar’s Sovereign Wealth Fund and Education Strategy. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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For much of the last century, the resource curse theory has been used to explain the volatile and unproductive economic performance of resource-abundant states. By highlighting the negative institutional, political, and economic externalities associated with the management of lucrative natural resource wealth, the theory adopts a reductionist approach that ultimately assumes away the possibility of successful wealth management and economic development. By highlighting the dynamic and multi-faceted nature of institutional governance, this thesis argues that sound governance along with substantial improvement in the quality of institutions can challenge the conventional wisdom of the resource curse narrative. By focusing on the case study of Qatar, this thesis considers institutions to be a vital component in the transformative needs of resource-abundant states. The analysis focuses on the case study of the country’s sovereign wealth fund (Qatar Investment Authority - QIA) and its educational strategy as two cases that question the assumptions of the resource curse model. The thesis proposes that the operations and investment strategies of the QIA as well as Qatar’s drive to revamp its educational strategy in recent years suggest that the country has strived to chart a path that is distinct from the predictions of the resource curse theory. Although developing such strategies has its share of challenges, this study highlights the significant role and dynamic nature of key institutions in avoiding the curse associated with abundant oil and gas resources.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Sahar Rad and Bassam Fattouh
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2023 14:26

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