Approaches to Reforming the Iraqi Economy amid Popular Protests

Hosted by the Middle East Centre

Research Centres Suite, 9th Floor, Pankhurst House, Clement's Inn, WC2A 2AZ


Ali Al-Mawlawi

Ali Al-Mawlawi

Al-Bayan Centre

Alia Moubayed

Alia Moubayed

Toby Dodge

Toby Dodge



Taif Alkhudary

Taif Alkhudary

LSE Middle East Centre

 iraqi protestors ahmed raed 6000x4000

This event is the launch of the report titled ‘Public Payroll Expansion in Iraq: Causes and Consequences’ published under the LSE Conflict Research Programme by Principal Investigator Ali Al-Mawlawi. The public payroll in Iraq has grown unchecked since 2003, commensurate with the country’s vastly expanding oil wealth. With few alternative sources of government income, the state budget’s growth poses worrying questions about whether this ongoing trend can be sustained without risking economic ruin. The report offers policy recommendations for a realistic path to address unemployment and job creation.

At the same time, the current protest movement in Iraq, centred around demands for jobs and against corruption and nepotism, also raises concerns about Iraq’s economic trajectory, including in relation to public sector employment growth. This report will be discussed in relation to developments on the ground in Iraq.

Ali Al-Mawlawi is head of research at Al-Bayan Centre for Planning and Studies, a public policy think tank based in Baghdad, where he specialists in institutional reform and foreign affairs. He has written extensively on public sector spending and combatting corruption in Iraq. He holds a Master of International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

Alia Moubayed is an economist and former director of geo-economics and strategy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Previously, she worked as Chief Economist for the MENA region at Barclays Bank in London. She has also worked at the World Bank as a senior economist responsible for research and policy dialogue covering several countries in Europe and Central Asia, and held policy responsibilities in various economic institutions of the Government of Lebanon.

Toby Dodge is Kuwait Professor and Director of the Kuwait Programme at the LSE Middle East Centre. He is also Professor in the Department of International Relations. Toby currently serves as Iraq Research Director for the DFID-funded Conflict Research Programme (CRP). From 2013–18, Toby was Director of the Middle East Centre. He has been visiting, researching and writing about Iraq for over twenty years and his main areas of research include the comparative politics and historical sociology of the Middle East, the politics of intervention, the evolution of the Iraqi state, state-society dynamics and political identities in Iraq.

Taif Alkhudary is a Research Assistant on the LSE Middle East Centre research project, 'Managing Religious Diversity in the Middle East: The Muhasasa Ta'ifia in Iraq, 2003–2018'. She has previously held roles at several Geneva-based NGOs, where she worked on women’s and girls’ rights and on bringing cases of enforced disappearances, torture, arbitrary detention and extrajudicial killings in the Gulf and Iraq before the United Nations.

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Image: ©Ahmed Raed/Instagram: @iahmedll



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