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Trajectories of economic development, political economic structures, and policy challenges diverge to an extensive degree among Middle Eastern and North African states, but they share, with few exceptions, one common feature: the use of economic power for the exercise of political authoritarian rule, i.e. the submission of economic development to a political logic of regime survival. Dominant research paradigms of the recent past, - shifting focus from democratization to authoritarian resilience -, overlooked at times hastily the interplay between structural adjustment measures, economic liberalization, integration into global markets and authoritarian stability. Recent political uprisings in the so-called “moderate” Arab states whose economies underwent large-scale economic adjustment policies invite for a reappraisal of dominant paradigms of economic development and political stability in the MENA region.