Main Publications

  • Beyond the Business as Usual Approach: Combating Corruption in Yemen

    Corruption, or the abuse of power for private gain, is deeply entrenched in the Yemeni political economy. For decades Yemen has witnessed state capture, with political leaders at the highest level extracting rents from state institutions to benefit a select few. Administrative corruption, too, has been commonplace in Yemen: low-level bribery and favoritism have become a part of everyday life. There is arguably a cultural acceptance — even an expectation — of corruption in politics and business, as informal networks…

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  • Policy Brief: Corruption in Yemen’s War Economy

    Executive Summary Corruption, or the abuse of power for private gain, has been deeply entrenched in the Yemeni political economy for decades. Over the course of the ongoing conflict, however, as the war has fragmented and regionalized the country, state capture in Yemen has become far more complex. In the war economy, patronage networks are…

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  • Generating new employment opportunities in Yemen

    Decades of political instability and cyclical armed conflict have curtailed Yemen’s economic growth, job creation and labor productivity. Before the current conflict, much of the country’s working population was engaged in unskilled labor, working in rural agriculture or informally employed in small businesses. More recently, the ongoing conflict has destroyed normal commerce and left millions of Yemenis without a means of supporting themselves or their families. Even those not directly affected by the fighting now face brutal economic hardship. The…

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  • The Need to Build State Legitimacy in Yemen

    The ongoing conflict in Yemen has severely strained state legitimacy in the country. Legitimacy, a key component of state sovereignty, reflects a “social contract” between the state and the people it governs: an agreement on how power is exercised and how resources are distributed. A state’s legitimacy derives in part from its ability to deliver public services, ensure economic stability, and provide security. After three years of conflict, Yemen’s already fragile state institutions are unable to meet the most basic…

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  • Private Sector Engagement in Post-Conflict Yemen

    Yemen has spent much of the past 60 years embroiled in armed conflict and political crisis, with this cyclical instability and insecurity among the primary factors that have stymied both private sector development and the establishment of a strong state with well-functioning public institutions. The vast majority of the Yemeni private sector is made up of small or very small businesses, providing almost 70 percent of working Yemenis with their livelihood. The largest employment sector within the private sector is…

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  • Local Governance in Yemen Amid Conflict and Instability

    Local councils are among Yemen’s most important state institutions. Responsible for providing basic public services to millions of Yemenis, local councils represent official governance and the Yemeni state for vast swathes of the population. The intensification of the Yemen conflict since March 2015 has undermined the councils’ ability to operate effectively in most areas of the country. The councils depend heavily on central government financing and, to a lesser degree, local sources of revenue such as taxes on basic utilities…

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  • Challenges for Yemen’s Local Governance amid Conflict

    Local councils are among Yemen’s most important state institutions. Responsible for providing basic public services to millions of Yemenis, local councils represent official governance and the Yemeni state for much of the population. The intensification of the conflict between the internationally recognized government, its regional backers and the Houthi group since March 2015, however, has heavily impacted funding and security for local councils, undermining their ability to provide services effectively in most areas of the country. In many areas, this…

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  • An Institutional Framework for Post-Conflict Reconstruction

    The ongoing conflict in Yemen has imposed grievous costs on the country’s people, damaging lives, property and infrastructure and ravaging the country’s already fragile economy. And yet the conflict will eventually subside. While some reconstruction projects have begun, they have generally been undertaken haphazardly and not as part of a comprehensive and structured plan. Post-conflict reconstruction following the war must address the basic needs and rights of the Yemeni population and put the country on the path toward sustainable peace…

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  • An Institutional Framework for Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Yemen

    Previous reconstruction efforts in Yemen following conflict or natural disaster have suffered from lack of coordination with and unrealistic expectations from international donors, as well as the Yemeni government’s limited capacity for aid absorption and project implementation; as a result, there was little tangible long-term impact. In light of lessons learned from similar post-conflict contexts and Yemen’s own history of reconstruction efforts, this policy brief proposes an institutional structure for a future reconstruction process in Yemen: a permanent, independent, public…

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  • Increasing the Effectiveness of the Humanitarian Response in Yemen

    The second Development Champions Forum of the “Rethinking Yemen’s Economy” initiative recently brought together more than 20 of the leading socio-economic experts on Yemen to discuss the most critical challenges facing the country. Among the key topics included were the need to increase the coverage and efficiency of the campaign international humanitarian organizations and United Nations agencies are undertaking to address Yemen’s humanitarian crisis. Among the major issues the Development Champions identified during discussions were:

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