Date of Award

Winter 2008

Project Type


Program or Major

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Jeanie Sowers


Considerable research in political science has been done concerning democracy and the effects of oil rent. Prevailing literature suggests that dependence on oil and rentier behavior by states can heighten the dependence of social groups on the state through political and economic effects. Yet in the case of Kuwait, we find that oil rent has helped build human capital, institutional capacity, and autonomy for social groups. This autonomy allows social groups to better bargain with the state and advance democratization. This will be contrasted to the case of Morocco, where social groups remain dependent on the state despite cycles of liberalization and influence over state policy. This study will reveal that oil rent can have positive effects on the agency of certain social groups in Kuwait.