Perceptions and Impacts of the Oil Crash in Qatar
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Qatari citizens, especially those employed in the public sector, are less likely than other people living in Qatar to be aware of the recent decline in oil prices. Among citizens who are aware, moreover, most seem to believe that they are insulated from economic hardship. If Qatar wishes to manage the expectations of citizens regarding the state’s role in providing for economic welfare, consistent public messaging is necessary to raise awareness of anticipated changes. Given current low levels of public knowledge of and concern over the oil bust, a fundamental change in Qatar’s welfare economy is bound to shock the majority of nationals. Until now, evidence suggests that fiscal tightening has mainly impacted high income expatriates employed in government and semi-government institutions. Yet, questions remain as to how far the state can go in removing highly skilled employees so vital to the functioning of public institutions, and of the country’s modern economy generally. In light of ongoing budget and personnel cuts, more pressure is being placed on Qatari citizens to fulfill the responsibilities previously shared with expatriates. A balance must be struck between ensuring Qataris’ social welfare and protecting the long-term sustainability of the country’s economy.
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