Varieties of pROTECTIONISM:
ETHNIC CONNECTIONS AND RESISTANCE
TO TRADE LIBERALIZATION IN THE ARAB WORLd
Despite decades of international pressure, the Arab world remains one of the most protected regions in the global economy. How do the region's ruling coalitions resist international efforts to liberalize their markets? This book argues that elites’ ethnic connections shape diverging strategies of resistance to trade liberalization in the region, and beyond. When elite opponents of trade liberalization belong to the same politically relevant ethnic group as the governing elite, their ruling coalition resists trade liberalization − while acquiescing to external pressures to reform their trade policies − by replacing protectionist policies with less visible, neopatrimonial forms of protectionism. When governing and protectionist elites are non-coethnics, however, they lack coethnic trust and sanctioning mechanisms that cross the public and private sector. Regime promises of neopatrimonial protectionism after the removal of protectionist policies are less credible in these environments. Coalitions with non-coethnic governing and protectionist elites confront deeper elite resistance to trade policy reform. These coalitions resist trade liberalization by maintaining protectionist policies. Elites’ ethnic connections structure the varieties of protectionism that sustain elite coalitions, forge trade policy and subvert liberalizing reforms.