Samir Makdisi – Lebanon

Linked with Global Development Network GDN, and with Prodi’s message to the Lebanese people.
He says: ”the private sector in Lebanon was strong but warned that the country’s recovery depended on the government avoiding corruption in the distribution of aid money” (see the article by David Fickling, September 7, 2006 in the Guardian).

He says also: “In Lebanon, when you talk about unemployment, you are in fact talking about emigration.” (see

And he says: “The impact of the blockade needs to be understood within the context of the overall impact of the war, Essentially, it constituted the continued loss of income.” (see

Samir Makdisi - Lebanon.jpg

Samir Makdisi – Lebanon.

He works for the American University of Beirut AUB, Institute of Financial Economics.

He is professor of economics, chair of the economics department, and director of the Institute of Financial Economics at the American University of Beirut. He is also a former Deputy President of the University ( 1993-1998), and a former Minister of Economy and Trade, Republic of Lebanon (1992). He has been a guest lecturer at major universities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia; a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Georgetown University; and a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center of Scholars, Washington D.C.

He is editor of a recently published book, “The Role of the Private Sector in the Arab Economies” (AMF/AFESD in collaboration with the World Bank and the IMF, 2000), and the author of a forthcoming book titled “War and Economics, the Economic Development of Lebanon, 1950-2000” ( Cambridge University Press). Samir Makdisi received his Ph.D. in Economics from Columbia University and an MA and BA in Economics from AUB. (See on THIS PAGE of Global Development Network).

According to Samir Makdisi, professor of economics at the American University in Beirut, a rise in unemployment will lead to a new wave of emigration, unless rapid steps towards economic recovery are taken. (Read all on Sept. 14 on

Samir Makdisi, a professor of economics at the American University of Beirut, said that the economic impact of Israel’s military offensive was the primary cause of concern for recovery. (read all on Sept. 12 on

Lessons of Lebanon – The Economics of War and Development, by Samar Makdisi: Since 1945, over 200 intra-state conflicts have taken place in countries that achieved independence from colonial rule after World War II. The case of Lebanon offers a striking illustration of these interlocking influences on projects of national economics development. The persistently sectarian nature of the country’s political instutions, the relatively poor quality of governance and the major civil war that engulfed the country from 1975 to 1990, together define not only the context in which the achievements and failures of Lebanese development must be assessed, but also the continuing challenges that it must face in the era of globalization. This text offers an in-depth analysis of Lebanese economic development during the second half of the 20th century, with special emphasis on the civil war and its aftermath. Makdisi offers a definitive assessment of the principal phases of national development since Lebanese independence in the 1940s, and a study of those conditions requisite for sustainable development for Lebanon, as for many other developing countries. (Read on Library of Modern Middle East Studies).

Samir Makdisi, an economist at the American University of Beirut, says that Lebanon’s ability to cope after the war will depend in part on such foreigners paying to repair its damaged infrastructure. (Read all on the Economist).

The main thread of Makdisi’s argument appears to build on a consensus among most observers that point at Lebanon’s impressive pre-war growth figures and relative financial stability associated with conservative monetary policies, few or virtually no government restrictions and state interventions in the economy and a high degree of openness in terms of a free movement of goods and capital. Makdisi laments the fact that this “liberal environment” so characteristic of the pre-war era was accompanied with a series of socio-economic imbalances, including a seriously lopsided distribution of income whether measured per capita or per region. Yet despite these flaws, Lebanon’s pre-war economic performance excelled those of most Arab non-oil-producing countries following, in contrast, heavily inward-looking and public-sector-oriented economic policies. The virtues of Lebanese economic liberalism, Makdisi maintains, came to be overshadowed by, first, the massive destruction of material and human capital during the war and, more importantly, in the 1990s, by an expanding regulatory and interventionist role of the government unmatched by improved institutional capacities to meet the state’s expanding tasks pertaining reconstruction. In short, in Makdisi’s view, “the dynamism of Lebanon’s private sector” came to be suffocated by incompetent and corrupt governments that not only failed to correct socio-economic inequities but that burdened the entire national economy with ill-advised debt- and fiscal policies. (Read the whole article on Universiteit van Amsterdam).

University Degrees: PhD in Economics, Columbia University; MA in Economics, American University of Beirut; BA in Economics (with distinction), American University of Beirut.

Administrative Experience:

Research Interests: International Economics, Monetary Economics, Development and Middle East Economics. Current Research Project: “Democracy, Peace and Development in the Arab World”, with I. Elbadawi. This project deals with the state of democracy in the Arab World as measured by specific criteria and its relation to economic development and socio-economic stability.


Geographical/regional interests: Developing Countries in general and Middle East region in particular.

Recent and forthcoming articles, recent book: see all on this site of AUB.

A recent book: The Lessons of Lebanon: The Economics of War and Development, by I. B. Tauris, 2004 – As an in-depth analysis of the country’s economic development during the second half of the twentieth century, the study looks at the case of Lebanon against the backdrop of 200 intrastate conflicts involving countries that gained independence from colonial rule after 1945 … The study, in focusing on the economic determinants of Lebanon’s 15-year civil conflict, explores the strong political and military upheaval it caused as well as “the interplay of conflict and development” that ensued. The origins and consequences of the war are examined against the existing cross-country literature on the economics of civil conflicts. The book traces the main phases of development in Lebanon since the 1940s and also attempts to provide insight into what the future may hold. As Makdisi writes: “The civil war is over, but the question remains as to whether the post-conflict recovery policies that have been put in place deal appropriately with the causes as well as the consequences of the conflict.”

See also his books on amazon.

Email, and another Email.


Book review: Arab’s new frontier;

The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History, and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Lebanon, by Ussama Samir Makdisi, e-book mall; and also, with a revies, on BiblioVault;

Perspective from the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

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