Economic Diversification in The United Arab Emirates : Is the economy leaving its oil dependency?
As the public becomes more concerned with the natural environment, one of the major topics discussed is the oil. Since there is no true source of knowledge how long the oil can continue to be extracted, it is interesting to know how long the world can benefit from such as scarce resource. Instead of idly watching as oil production decreases with time, which pre-measures could be taken in order to minimize a negative impact on an economy? The UAE is a thriving oil rich countries which for the past 30 years have experienced a vast oil wealth. Even though the oil gave wealth to the UAE, they should avoid any future oil dependency since it could negatively affect its now flourishing economy. Therefore, for the UAE to continue growing in the future it is in the best interest for the government to focus on a diversifying strategy that promotes the non-oil economy. By referring to concepts and theories of previous research in this field such as the Solow growth model, Resource curse and Dutch disease the authors find that the UAE had managed to diversify or not. Three sectors in different periods between 1970 and 2007 were measured: The oil sector, the non-oil sector and the government sector. Diversification changes means a decreasing dependency of the oil sector to the non-oil sector while the latter instead depends more on the government sector. Using British Petroleum (2008) and United Nations (2008) as sources, data was collected in order to draw a time-series regression analysis and test empirically for these diversification trends. The results for all periods confirmed that the UAE have indeed diversified and it could thus be observed that it started its successful strategy already in the 1970s. With the right government policy investments and the stability in the union, the UAE prevented from becoming dependent on oil and thereby not crowding out its important non-oil economy.
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