Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 08/2014

Stability through Change: Toward a New Political Economy in Jordan

Faysal Itani

December 2013

Atlantic Council


A new Atlantic Council issue brief, "Stability through Change: Toward a New Political Economy in Jordan," contends that Jordan could be a promising experiment with economic and political reform in a relatively stable environment, and a model for reform in Arab transition countries.

Issue brief author Faysal Itani, a fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, argues that King Abdullah ought to move forward transforming Jordan’s institutions and reimagining its relationship with its citizens, despite the associated political risks. The report’s central conclusion is that economic change has undermined Jordan’s old social contract. To ensure its long-term survival in a new economy, the monarchy must build a state of laws and citizens that extends meaningful political and economic participation to its historic social base. Itani warns that if Jordan does not tackle this issue head-on, it runs the risk of serious civil unrest in the future.