Has the UAE Escaped the Oil Curse?
Raimundo Soto; Ilham Haouas
Documento de Trabajo IE-PUC, N° 412, 2012.
Abstract: The UAE is blessed with vast deposits of oil and gas. Contrary to other oil-rich economies, the UAE seems to have escaped from the so-called “oil curse”. We study how the UAE used resource rents to achieve economic development and provide higher welfare for the local population. We identify, nevertheless, symptoms of the resource curse in three areas: very low growth in labor productivity, government policies unable to counteract economic cycles induced by oil-price volatility, and massive overemployment and declining productivity in the public sector. Therefore, we conclude that while the UAE has not been immune to the oil curse, but it has managed to make the benefits outweigh the negative outcomes of oil exporting. We finally study the case of Dubai as an example of how to overcome the dependency on oil exports and diversify the economy by using a combination of market deregulation, support for foreign trade, and efficient provision of infrastructure and institutions for private sector participation.