Thomas Richter

Thomas Richter
German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) · GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies

Dr.

About

66
Publications
19,867
Reads
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478
Citations
Additional affiliations
October 2018 - present
University of Hamburg
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • The Comparative Study of Authoritarian Regimes
April 2018 - September 2018
Leuphana University Lüneburg
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • Democratization and Authoritarian Resistance
October 2017 - April 2018
University of Hamburg
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • Demokratisierung: Theorie, Empirie und Praxis
Education
September 2003 - August 2008
BIGSSS Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences
Field of study
  • Political Science
October 1995 - July 2003
University of Tuebingen
Field of study
  • Political Science, Economics, Islamic Studies

Publications

Publications (66)
Book
The downhill slide in the global price of crude oil, which started mid-2014, had major repercussions across the Middle East for net oil exporters, as well as importers closely connected to the oil-producing countries from the Gulf. Following the Arab uprisings of 2010 and 2011, the oil price decline represented a second major shock for the region i...
Article
This paper looks at key trajectories of policy adjustment across member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—a region shaped by state-controlled income from exporting hydrocarbons—since 2014, the year in which the price of crude oil dropped significantly. We argue that despite a wide range of policy responses, no deep, structural reform has...
Article
Full-text available
Gesetzliche Maßnahmen im Bereich der Auslandsfinanzierung von zivilgesellschaftlichen Organisationen werden inzwischen als zentraler Bestandteil von schrumpfenden zivilgesellschaftlichen Räumen angesehen. Allerdings existiert in der Literatur bisher kein Konsens über die Angemessenheit eines expliziten staatlichen Eingriffs in diesem Bereich. Der A...
Chapter
Full-text available
Um eine umfassende Einschätzung bezüglich des Radikalisierungsgeschehens in Deutschland abgeben zu können, ist ein Blick auf internationale Entwicklungen unerlässlich. Das MOTRA-Teilprojekt des German Institute for Global and Area Studie (GIGA) kommt diesem Erfordernis nach. Dabei beschä!tigt es sich schwerpunktmäßig mit Akteuren des islamistischen...
Chapter
This concluding chapter focuses on two aspects of the Middle Eastern political economy. It initially examines the major consequences of the post-2014 oil price decline and also deals with the oil price crash as triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. First, migrant workers in the Arab Gulf are the main social losers of policy adjustments. Second, citiz...
Chapter
The drop in oil prices in 2014 and the price crash triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 have had major repercussions for the Middle Eastern political economy. For these events, we discuss both the empirical relevance of policy adjustments and academic approaches to political economy apt for analysing relevant adjustment policies. First, we ex...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic is revealing its severe implications not just for health systems worldwide. One striking political consequence has been renewed power concentration in the executive. There are signs of a global increase in this executive personalisation having occurred over the last 12 months. Personalisation of executive political power is a...
Article
Full-text available
That hydrocarbon abundance may lead to more violence is an established truism in the literature on the resource curse. Looking at the Middle East, however, the literature relates bellicose state behaviour entirely to oil-producing revolutionary republics. Instead, dynastic monarchies are claimed to be the more peacefully behaving actors. Current de...
Article
Full-text available
The Middle Eastern regional order has been undergoing profound changes in the current decade. These can be traced back to a reconfiguration of international and regional structures. On the one hand, shifts in US foreign policies towards the Middle East corresponded with new regional dynamics. On the other, the monarchies of the Arab Gulf have becom...
Article
Full-text available
Despite massive production losses due to the attacks on Saudi Arabian facilities on 14 September 2019, the oil price has nevertheless remained stable. This illustrates two things: a return to the price level of over USD 100 a barrel is highly unlikely, while the oil-exporting Arab Gulf countries continue to be under massive pressure to adjust. In...
Chapter
This chapter examines the impact of hydrocarbons in the region. Oil income was used for state building as a result of nationalizations and the oil price boom of the 1970s. Oil goes through booms (1973–86, 2007–14) and busts (1986–2004) correlating with state building surges and periods when states were weakening. Thus, Hydrocarbons also shaped the...
Preprint
Full-text available
The rentier state has become an established concept in comparative politics and political economy alike. Originally an artefact of studying oil-rich countries in the Middle East, this approach started to diffuse within political science and economics along three dimensions in the late 1980s. First, scholars focusing on other world regions picked up...
Article
Full-text available
Civil society actors have been increasingly watched over by state officials around the world in recent years. At the same time, they are exposed to increasing restrictions and repression. The civil society revolution of the 1980s has hence given way of late to a civil society counter-revolution. • The debates on the restriction of civil society’s...
Article
Full-text available
Since summer 2014, the drop in world oil prices has left holes in the budgets of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members. Thus, in addition to privatising state-owned enterprises, these governments plan to introduce taxation for the first time ever. From the beginning of 2018, a value added tax of 5 per cent will be levied in all six Gulf monarc...
Article
Full-text available
Seit Sommer 2014 reißt der Verfall der Weltölpreise tiefe Löcher in die Haus-halte der Mitglieder des Golfkooperationsrates. Neben der Privatisierung von Staatsunternehmen planen dessen Regierungen deswegen zum ersten Mal seit ihrer Staatsgründung auch die Einführung von Steuern. Für Anfang 2018 ist die Erhebung einer fünfprozentigen Mehrwertsteuer...
Chapter
Full-text available
Fünf Jahre nach Ausbruch des Arabischen Frühlings ist die Bilanz ernüchternd: Die Hoffnungen auf eine politische Zeitenwende sind vorerst gescheitert, stattdessen prägen Repression, Bürgerkriege und Dschihadismus viele Länder des Nahen Ostens. Dennoch markieren die Proteste eine historische Zäsur, die Perspektiven für die Zukunft eröffnet. (PDF)...
Article
This paper reviews the existing comparative literature with regard to differences and similarities of policy diffusion between democratic and authoritarian regimes. There has been an extensive discussion of causes and effects of policy diffusion for democracies, but the literature on autocracies lacks similar focus and scope. Similarly, research on...
Article
Full-text available
The Arab Spring of 2011 is acknowledged as a turning point for the Arab world. While there were high expectations at the outset regarding the de-mocratisation of the region, at present pessimistic assessments predominate , given the numerous wars and the return of authoritarian rule. At least four misconceptions about the Arab Spring can be identif...
Article
Full-text available
Der Arabische Frühling im Jahr 2011 stellt eine Zeitenwende für die arabische Welt dar. Nachdem anfangs große Erwartungen in Bezug auf eine Demokrati-sierung der Region dominierten, überwiegen gegenwärtig angesichts zahlreicher Kriege und der Rückkehr autoritärer Herrschaft pessimistische Bewertungen. Mindestens vier Missverständnisse lassen sich i...
Research
Full-text available
The GSRE 1.0 dataset is based on recently released historical documents from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and improves the coverage and accuracy of state budget data for most authoritarian regimes and some democracies since the end of World War II. The GSRE dataset includes 39 unique indicators covering major aspects of state finance for...
Article
Full-text available
This article surveys the effects of state hydrocarbon rents—defined as government income from oil and natural gas—on authoritarian survival and the onset of democracy. We also examine the association of changing state hydrocarbon rents with state spending and taxation based on a new collection of historical data, the Global State Revenues and Expen...
Data
Full-text available
The GSRE 1.0 dataset is based on recently released historical documents from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and improves the coverage and accuracy of state budget data for most authoritarian regimes and some democracies since the end of World War II. The GSRE dataset includes 39 unique indicators covering major aspects of state finance for...
Article
Full-text available
The survival of eight monarchies during the “Arab Uprisings” has put centre stage the fundamental question about the durability of this subtype of authoritarian regime. Seen from a broader historical perspective, however, the idea that monarchies have an inherent advantage in retaining power is less evident: a number of authoritarian monarchies bro...
Chapter
Full-text available
As major events since the beginning of the Arab uprisings in 2011 have shown, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has started to regain a more active; some would even call it an aggressive role as a regional player in the Middle East. In relative contrast to the first decade of the twenty-first century, when many observers have lamented about a largely sta...
Article
Full-text available
According to quantitative studies, oil seems the only natural resource that is robustly linked to civil war onset. However, recent debates on the nexus of oil and internal conflict have neglected the fact that there are a number of peaceful rentier oil states in existence. Few efforts have been made to explain why some oil-exporting countries have...
Article
Full-text available
Over three years into the Arab Spring, the Middle East is characterized by a striking difference in durability between monarchies and republics. Beyond this difference, some significant gaps within the group of the eight Middle East monarchies have so far been overlooked. Drawing on the existing monarchy research, we first make the case that there...
Article
Full-text available
Sultan Qabus bin Sa'id, Staatsoberhaupt des Oman, hält sich bereits seit Juli 2014 zur medi-zinischen Behandlung in Deutschland auf. Weder über seinen aktuellen Gesundheitszu-stand noch über den Zeitpunkt seiner Rückkehr liegen offizielle Informationen vor. Analyse Die politische Entscheidungsfindung erfolgt im Sultanat Oman maßgeblich durch den He...
Conference Paper
Debates on the nexus of authoritarian survival and material resources have mainly focused on state revenues like natural resource rents or official development assistance. The analysis of state spending has been less prominent over the last couple of years. Addressing this lacuna and introducing the Global State Revenues and Expenditures (GSRE) dat...
Book
Full-text available
The 2009 global economic crisis has significantly impacted international tourism, causing a decline in international tourist arrivals and international tourism revenues. This study looks into the effects of the decrease in international tourism demand on the employment, income opportunities and the livelihood of poor and vulnerable groups, as well...
Article
This paper argues that within autocracies the beginning of IMF-friendly trade and capital account reforms is highly contingent on the ability of alternative policy regulations to provide respective regimes with domestically needed amounts of convertible foreign exchange. A longitudinal comparison of four countries (Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jorda...
Article
Full-text available
Authoritarian regimes use multiple forms of international cooperation to sustain their rule. In scholarly research, however, the study of these phenomena has been marginal and still lacks conceptual clarity. This paper takes stock of these shortcomings and embarks on a review of the existing literature from democratization, diffusion, policy transf...
Article
The survival of eight monarchies during the “Arab Uprisings” of 2011 has put center stage the fundamental question about the durability of this subtype of authoritarian regime. Seen from a broader historical perspective, however, the idea that monarchies have an inherent advantage in retaining power is less evident: a number of authoritarian monarc...
Article
Bisher ist nicht ausreichend untersucht, welche strukturellen Faktoren die Wahl von Außenhandelsrestriktionen bei autoritären Regimen bestimmen. Im Artikel werden sowohl die Einflussfaktoren der Wahl von Außenhandelsrestriktionen bei autoritären Regimen im Allgemeinen als auch die Gemeinsamkeiten und Unterschiede zwischen unterschiedlichen Regimety...
Article
Weder in der allgemeinen Autoritarismusforschung noch in der nahostspezifischen Monarchienliteratur existiert eine überzeugende Erklärung für das Überleben und den Zusammenbruch von autoritären Monarchien. Mit Hilfe von Fuzzy-Set QCA vergleichen wir alle 13 seit 1945 im Nahen Osten existierenden Monarchien. Dabei konzentrieren wir uns auf die vier...
Article
Full-text available
Anfang Dezember 2012 erklärte der Präsident der Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate (VAE) und Herrscher von Abu Dhabi, Scheich Khalifa bin Zayid Al Nahjan, 2013 zum Jahr der „Emiratisierung“ auf den Arbeitsmärkten. Die Arbeitsmärkte der sechs Mitgliedsstaaten des Golfkooperationsrates (GCC) sind aufgrund ihrer auf Erdölexporten basierenden Entwicklungs...
Conference Paper
While the study of the welfare state is a well-established field in comparative politics of democratic countries, the determinants of welfare spending in autocracies remain largely unexplored. Most likely, it is the lack of appropriate data on social spending which has hindered research on the authoritarian welfare state and social spending in part...
Article
Andre Bank und Thomas Richter, Authoritarian Monarchies in the Middle East. Conditions for Survival and Breakdown after 1945, pp. 384-417. Neither in authoritarianism studies nor in the Middle East-specific literature on monarchies does there exist a convincing explanation for the survival as well as the breakdown of authoritarian monarchies. Using...
Article
Thomas Richter, Foreign Trade Restrictions within Authoritarian Regimes: An Empirical Investigation of the Impact of Foreign Currency Reserves, Political Openess, Rents and Regime Type, pp. 528-563. There is a general lack of research addressing the structural determinants of the choice of trade regulations among authoritarian regimes. Therefore, t...
Book
Unter welchen Bedingungen autoritäre Regime ihre Außenwirtschaftsregulierungen verändern, wurde bislang nicht ausreichend untersucht. Thomas Richter zeichnet anhand von vier vergleichenden heuristischen Fallstudien aus der Region Nah- und Mittelost Phasen außenwirtschaftlicher Reformen zwischen 1970 und 2003 nach und benennt wichtige Gründe für den...
Article
According to quantitative studies, oil is the only resource that is robustly linked to civil war onset. However, recent debates on the nexus of oil and civil war have neglected that there are a number of peaceful oil‐rentier states, and few efforts have been spent to explain why some oil-exporting countries have experienced civil war and others hav...
Article
This paper argues that trade and capital account reforms within autocracies underlie the primacy of foreign currency procurement. A longitudinal comparison of four countries (Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan) in the Middle East and North Africa region shows a historical sequencing of reforms. In the 1960s and 1970s, the foreign exchange scarcity...
Chapter
Reflektiert man die Entwicklung des Rentierstaats-Ansatzes innerhalb der letzten 10 Jahre, dann könnte man den Eindruck gewinnen, dass es sich dabei ausschließlich um einen, wenn auch den wichtigsten, polit-ökonomischen Beitrag zu einem Lehrbuch für Autokraten (guidelines for autocrats) (H. Albrecht et al. 2004) handelt. Hat sich doch die empirisch...
Article
Full-text available
This article challenges claims that liberalising state-regulated markets in developing countries may induce lasting economic development. An analysis of the rise of tourism in Egypt during the past three decades suggests that the effects of liberalisation and structural adjustment are constrained by the neo-patrimonial character of the Egyptian pol...
Article
This article challenges claims that liberalising state regulated markets in developing countries may induce lasting economic development. The analysis of the rise of tourism in Egypt during the last three decades suggests that the effects of liberalisation and structural adjustment are constrained by the neo-patrimonial character of the Egyptian po...
Article
Full-text available
Most of the post-democratization literature claims that specific sets of domestic governance mechanisms and/or political institutions are sufficient to explain the survival of authoritarian regimes. This claim has been verified by the observation of large-n statistical research that the durability effect has been independent of consistent access to...
Article
Debates on the nexus of authoritarian survival and material resources have mainly focused on state revenues like natural resource rents or official development assistance. The analysis of state spending has been less prominent over the last couple of years. Addressing this lacuna and introducing the Global State Revenues and Expenditures (GSRE) dat...
Article
Increasing trade openness among developing countries has been explained by either of two mechanisms: First, it is argued that the corresponding rise of government accountability and popular representation has reduced the ability of ruling elites to use trade barriers as a strategy to build support among domestic constituencies. Therefore democratiz...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
With the dominance of hydrocarbons as the primary source of energy coming to an end, the Arab Gulf is facing one of its biggest economic, social and eventually political challenges. Policy responses as well as social and political dynamics since the oil price decline in the summer of 2014 provide first indications of what commonalities and differences can be expected during this new era of oil revenue scarcity. This project consists of a collection of papers looking at some of the overarching dynamics between 2010 until today, a period which, for the Arab Gulf, has been characterised by three pronounced shocks: First, the Arab Spring in 2010/2011; Second, the collapse of oil prices in 2014; And third, the pandemic spread of COVID-19 starting in 2020.
Project
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, political leaders reacted by containment measures that, next to combating the spread of the pandemic, also presented a window of opportunity to bolster executives’ personal grasp on power. Personalization of power has been particularly worrying in the Global South where constraints on the chief executives were often already weak prior to the pandemic. This project assesses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the personalization of executive power in 36 countries of the Global South. See for more details https://www.giga-hamburg.de/en/projects/covid-19-executive-personalization-saharan-africa-asia-latin-america-mena-region/
Project
The project aims at building a monitoring system to detect radicalization process and different forms of extremism as well as their properties. It is collaborative project in the research cluster for early detection, prevention, and abatement of extremism Project duration: 11/2019 – 10/2024 Funded by the Federal Agency for Education and Research and the Ministry of Interior Affairs Project partners: Federal Criminal Police Office Germany, University of Hamburg, Berlin Social Science Center (WZB), LMU Munich, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) - Institute for Technology Asssessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), Center for Criminology, Berghof Foundation https://motra.info