The Social Safety Net in Kuwait

Principal Investigator: Professor Steffen Hertog
Duration: October 2018-January 2020

Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah Hospital / Client: Ministry of Public Works (Kuwait) on behalf of the Ministry of Health Design and Supervision: Gulf Consult in association with Langdon Wilson International.

The project will evaluate and assess the existing social safety net eco-system in Kuwait in terms of existing legal, fiscal and institutional setup, policies, programmes and their implementation arrangements and the degree of their effectiveness and impact of the current social contract.

Professor Hertog will conduct an international literature review, concluding the project with evidence-based policy recommendations.

The project will break new ground in the investigation of social security systems in oil-rich, high-rent countries, which are often described as ”welfare states” without closer investigation of the specific mechanisms of welfare and wealth sharing. It will look particularly at the interplay of formal social safety policies with de facto welfare policies like energy subsidies and excess government employment, thereby analysing the political economy of wealth distribution in Kuwait and how it constrains fiscal and economic policy reforms.


Steffen Hertog, 'The case for an Arabian Universal Basic Income', Project Syndicate, 9 December 2020.

Steffen Hertog, 'Universal Basic Income: a solution for labour challenges in GCC States?', Azal Advisors, 28 September 2020.

Reforming Wealth Distribution in Kuwait cover

Reforming Wealth Distribution in Kuwait: Estimating Costs and Impacts

Steffen Hertog, July 2020.

Download the paper


Principal Investigator

Steffen Hertog

Steffen Hertog

Steffen is an Associate Professor in Comparative Politics in the Department of Government at the LSE.



Ferdinand Eibl

Ferdinand Eibl

Ferdinand is a Lecturer in the Department of Political Economy at King's College.

Pedersen, Lars Bo

Lars Bo Pedersen

Lars Bo is studying at the University of Copenhagen.


Jlibene, Inass

Inass Jlibene

Inass is a Research Assistant on the project.