Political instability in petrostates

Anita Demkiv
2012
This dissertation explores the correlation between petrostates' oil revenue fluctuations and political stability or political instability. Petrostates (countries heavily reliant on oil revenues) often maintain domestic stability by using petrodollars to fund social programs and a strong state security apparatus. In the context of a post-Arab Spring world, characterized by increasing protests against oppression, petrostates with dramatically reduced revenues could portend destabilizing
more » ... abilizing revolutions, uncertainty in geopolitics and energy supply, and general upheaval in global politics. In light of these circumstances, the main research question is: Do petrostates become unstable politically as oil prices fluctuate, and if so, are these countries significantly at risk of becoming failing states? The methodological approach is mixed method, quantitative and qualitative. Purposive sampling is conducted on six countries—Algeria, Iran, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The primary data source is the New York Times(NYT) online archive, and the time span for analysis is 29 years—from 1981-2010. Based on the NYT online archive, four types of categories are identified to denote political instability: (1) Demonstrations and Riots, (2) Civil War and Guerilla Warfare, (3) Coups D'Etat and Attempted Coups D'Etat and (4) Terrorism. These four categories are collectively referred to as Political Instability Indicators. The research results suggest that in prolonged low oil periods petrostates experience increased levels of instability and are in danger of becoming fragile states.
doi:10.7282/t3mk6btq fatcat:tx5qgu2ydbhpnnuebwp4agdyou