Governance under Decentralization: Oman in the Arab Region

Mosque, Al Hamriya, Muscat, Oman. Photo by Anfal Shamsudeen, Unsplash .









This two-year study of Omani governance under decentralization seeks to better understand the many challenges facing the decentralization process in transitioning states. The study will employ a multi-method approach to explore the challenges to and potential impacts of decentralization. The goal is not only to expand our understanding of decentralization in the Omani context, but also to establish sustainable scholarly and policy-relevant networks and dialogues around these issues. As part of this project, we thus engage scholars, policy experts and officials from Oman and elsewhere in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.  

The project includes research, strengthening of international scholarly networks, and engaging with Omani policymakers. In the research component, we employ focus group discussions to better understand the relationship between community practices, gender, and deliberation, thus providing insights into how decentralization may be realized differently across the country. We also engage with scholars, policy experts and officials from elsewhere in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States through workshops that put the Omani experience in comparative perspective and foster a network of scholars studying decentralization. Finally, we will disseminate results through events in Oman, Sweden and elsewhere, in an effort to strengthen policy efforts in Oman and beyond.

This project is being run by Co-Principal Investigator Marwa Shalaby (University of Wisconsin, Madison), Co-Principal Investigator Ellen Lust, participating researcher Chagai Weiss (University of Wisconsin, Madison) and participating senior researcher Kristen Kao.  



Lust, Ellen; Kao, Kristen; Weiss, Chagai; Shalaby, Marwa; Vollmann, Erik; Bergh, Sylvia I., Karmel, Ezra; Bohn, Miriam; Kherigi, Intissar and Kadirbeyoglu, Zeynep. (2020) The Dynamics of Decentralization in the MENA: Processes, Outcomes, and Obstacles. The Program on Governance and Local Development Working Paper No. 31, University of Gothenburg, Available At:

Worrall, James. (2020) Power and Process: Decentralisation in Oman. The Program on Governance and Local Development Working Paper No. 32, University of Gothenburg, Available At:





Bergh, Sylvia and Marwa Shalaby 2020. "Power to the People? The Right to Information Law in Morocco."  Carnegie SADA, 30 September. Read Article.